Stop being Angry

Friends in Christ, [i]  
In the Epistle from St. James today, he says, ‘Be slow to anger, for anger does not accomplish the righteousness of God. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue, his religion is in vain.’  

Anger is one of the 7 Deadly sins.  St. John Vianney says, anger comes from the devil. A person caught in this passion is like a puppet,  and the devil holds the strings and makes him dance as he pleases.[ii]   

St. Basil says that no matter how good a person may seem,  if he yields to anger, he is a monster. Anger leads us into resentment, blasphemy,  detraction, gossip, and a host of other sins,  and so it is called a ‘Capital Sin’  because it leads to many others.  

In the passion of anger, a person’s mind does not reason well,  good judgment is lost,  and the person becomes more like an animal or a madman.   
According to St Bonventure, an angry man is incapable  of distinguishing between right and wrong.   

We should be angry at sin and evil when we see it, but we may never be angry at the person. As St. Augustine says, we are not allowed to hate others because of their sins.   

But a person may say, ‘Did you see what he did to me? I am justified in my anger.’  Who told you that you are justified?  When one’s blood is boiling, the mind is clouded, we often are not justified in our anger. For a minor slight, we become as angry as if the person committed murder!  

St. Alphonsus says, if you resent an injury done to you by a neighbor, God will inflict vengeance on you for all the injuries you have done to him.’   The Holy Scriptures say:  ‘You cannot expect the Lord to pardon you  while you are holding a grudge. If you cannot get rid of your anger, you have no hope of forgiveness. [iii]   

An angry man may be feared; he may be able to get his way; but an angry man will never be respected.   

Some people are really struggling against this fault; many in confession show that they are trying to improve, maybe this is our struggle.  St. Francis de Sales had quite a temper when he was young.  But he worked hard at changing his ways,  and eventually no one ever suspected that this was his weakness.  

Some say that they are very patient; but in fact,  they are patient only with their friends.  To those who injure them they respond with fury.  Scripture says, ‘a soft answer calms wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Prov. 15:1)  

In the end, the Holy Spirit is not able to do any good in us  if we are agitated or angry.  So we should not lose our peace with others or with ourselves.  


[i] Many ideas taken from Sermons by St. Alphonsus Liguori, p. 254.

[ii] The Little Catechism, Anger

[iii] Sirach 28:1-5

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