Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Devotion for today: deadly sin number three=anger

Another daughter of pride awaits our examination today: anger

Scripture: Sirach 28: 3-9:
Should a man nourish anger against his fellows, and expect healing from the Lord? Should a man refuse mercy to his fellows, yet seek pardon for his own sins? If he who is but flesh cherishes wrath, who will forgive his sins? Remember your last days, set enmity aside; remember death and decay, and cease from sin! Think of the commandments, hate not your neighbor; of the the Most High's covenant, and overlook faults. Avoid strife and your sins will be fewer, for a quarrelsome man kindles disputes, commits the sin of disrupting friendship, and sows discord among those at peace.

Christ reminds us: Matthew 5:21-23:
"You have heard the commandment imposed on your forefathers, 'You shall not commit murder; every murderer shall be liable to judgment.' What I say to you is: everyone who grows angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; any man who uses abusive language toward his brother shall be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and if he holds him in contempt he risks the fires of Gehenna."

Dr. Andrew Thomas Kania, discussing the homily of St. Basil the Great on anger, tells us:
 St. Basil qualifies that we must always temper our righteous anger with compassion; "Redirect your temper onto the murderer of human beings, the father of lies, the worker of sin; but sympathize also with this brother, because if he continues in sin, with the devil he will be delivered up to eternal fire (St. Basil.) This being said, St. Basil's teaching on anger requires each one of us to search to the very depths of our spirits.... This investigation can be quite painful, for perhaps, after searching deeply for the cause of our anger, we may find that we hate others because of the inadequacies we perceive in ourselves, and not for anything they may have done to us....Above all, St. Basil's homily...provides the reader with the notion that we all must seek greater self-discipline in controlling our anger so as to avoid the risk of doing evil. If we do not seek such self-control, human nature being as it is, we will pass anger, like runners in a baton relay, from one person to the next - through our families, across members of a society, and from societies to nations. We must realize what in life is worthy of our anger, and what can be easily deflected by a mature and healthy spirit. "When you are stirred by the temptation to abuse... give your thoughts the opportunity to choose the good portion....for what could become more painful to your enemy than to see his enemy as above insults? Do not overturn your own purpose, and do not appear to be easily accessible to those who insult you....The person reproaching one unaffected by abuse is unable to find relief for his passion....What sort of things will each of you be called? He is abusive, but you are magnanimous; he is prone to anger and hard to bear, but you are long suffering and meek. He will change his mind about things he said, but you will never repent of your virtue. (St. Basil the Great). http://www.catholica.com/

Prayer: For the Grace of God
O  plentiful source of every good and perfect gift! Bestow abroad the consoling light of your seven-fold grace over our hearts! Yea, spirit of love and gentleness: most humbly we implore your assistance!
You know our faults, our failings, our necessities, the dullness of our understanding, the waywardness of our affections, the perverseness of our will. When, therefore, we neglect to practice what we know, visit us, we beseech you, with your grace; enlighten, God, our minds, rectify our desires, correct our wanderings, and pardon our omissions, so that, by your guidance, we may be preserved from making shipwreck of faith, and keep a good conscience, and so, at length, we may be landed in the safe haven of eternal peace. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. St. Anselm of Canterbury

My thoughts:  I don't know anyone who hasn't been the victim of an angry person, one who has adopted the prideful attitude that he has the right to avenge perceived contradictions and insults by verbal abusive or by retaliation. Our job is to be sure we never turn into this kind of person, who thinks too much of himself and not enough about God. Both Sirach and Jesus tell us that there is not much mercy for a person who shows no mercy himself. St. Basil has the answer for us: choose not to be offended. If you answer a wrong with anger, and seek revenge, you will receive the like from God. If you walk away and remain in control, God will reward you. Pray with St. Anselm that we may sail safely into the harbor of heaven, and not allow an angry person to shipwreck our faith.

Your prayer:  Anger can only be tamed in us if we pull out its root, which is pride. We deserve nothing and are entitled to nothing. All we are and all we have is God's. As much as we can't believe it, God loves everyone of us and wants all of us, even the person whose anger has harmed you, in heaven with Him. Pray tonight that God harnesses your own anger, and gives you the grace to forgive the person who has harmed you by his.

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