Last night in our weekly rehearsal for Sunday’s Mass – always an occasion of beauty, of rigor, of earnest effort, of failure, and of humor (so, therefore, a fit analogue and venue of the spiritual life) – my choirmaster recounted the story of a client who had arranged for a memorial Mass at our parish. She had repeatedly deferred the appointment of their meeting to arrange for the music, then shown up for the fourth such appointment 45 minutes late. She started out angry at him, and in that anger continued throughout the interview, and then the engagement. The service itself was delayed almost two hours, with parish ministers – the choirmaster, the organist, choristers, priests, acolytes, and so forth – left waiting about twiddling their thumbs as the cortege wended its tardy way to the church. Not to mention those mourners who had shown up on time.
The patient minsters of the mortuary had too suffered in like manner.
His charitable and sapient comment on the angry deportment of his interlocutor at their first meeting, which I found intriguing, and so here repeat for consideration:
As I met with her, and with her untoward anger, I kept reminding myself: people are angry when they fear – or know well – that they are in the wrong. Their outward anger is a defense against that inward accusation. So, in the spirit of Christian charity, I tried my best to feel sorry for her, and wish her well, even as she berated me without reason.
I have puzzled online about liberal anger since the old days at VFR. I’ve searched for links to those items, but … well, you know how that is, I suppose (I’ve been at this a long time; I have no idea how Zippy used to keep track of and link to his old essays (nor, when I asked, did he)). My choirmaster’s insight struck me, hard, as new, and worthy, in our effort to understand our more and more deranged liberal interlocutors.
They are angry – at us – because they know, or at least worry, that they are wrong. That is why they feel as though they are under attack from such as we, even though we are only minding our own business and talking amongst ourselves.
They are not angry first at us. We are but proxies, outward whipping boys upon whom they can vent and so relieve the agony of their own internal contradictions. They are angry first at reality; and, so, at themselves. That is why they are so prone to depression, as compared to such as we.