The Seven Capital Sins, #4 Anger

Father Michael gives practical advice on how to overcome the sin of anger in our lives.
by Fr. Michael Sliney, LC | Source: Catholic.net
This week I return to the series on the Capital Sins, focusing on anger this time.
 
First of all, what is anger?  Bishop Fulton Sheen describes it as following: “Anger and reason are capable of great compatibility, because anger is based upon reason which weighs both the injury done and the satisfaction to be demanded. Here we are not concerned with just anger, but with unjust anger, namely, that which has no rightful cause- anger which is excessive, revengeful and enduring…the anger which seeks to ‘get even’, to repay in kind, bump for bump, punch for punch, eye for eye, lie for lie…” (The Seven Capital Sins, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, pp. 1-3)  
 
A Winning Strategy for Inner Peace and Authenticity:

1.  Sacraments and Prayer
 
-   Lots of Eucharist and regular Confession (at least once a month): you cannot conquer these powerful passions without the help of God’s grace. 
-   Pray a decade of the rosary every day for a greater capacity of forgiveness. 
 
2.  Assume the ignorance and good will of those who harm us:   We often do not know the circumstances, the good faith or the motives behind someone’s actions, so we need to repeat with Christ:  “Father, forgive them; they do know not what they are doing. ” (Lk 23: 34)

3. “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you…”  “There are Christians who think they can dispense with this unceasing spiritual effort, because they do not see the urgency of standing before the truth of the Gospel. Lest their way of life be upset, they seek to take words like "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you" (Lk 6:27) and render them empty and innocuous. For these people, it is extremely difficult to accept such words and to translate them into consistent patterns of behavior. They are in fact words which, if taken seriously, demand a radical conversion. On the other hand, when we are offended or hurt, we are tempted to succumb to the psychological impulses of self-pity and revenge, ignoring Jesus’ call to love our enemy. Yet the daily experiences of human life show very clearly how much forgiveness and reconciliation are indispensable if there is to be genuine renewal, both personal and social. This applies not only to interpersonal relationships, but also to relationships between communities and nations.” (Pope John Paul II, Message for Lent, 2001)  

4.  We need to take the “plank” out of our own eye before removing the splinter from our brother’s eye:   “The harder we are on ourselves, the easier we will be on others…the man who has never disciplined himself knows not how to be merciful. It is always the selfish who are unkind to others, and those who are hardest on themselves are the kindest to others…” (The Seven Capital Sins, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, p. 9) 
 
5. Forgiveness as a condition for God’s forgiveness to us:    “Now - and this is daunting - this outpouring of mercy cannot penetrate our hearts as long as we have not forgiven those who have trespassed against us. Love, like the Body of Christ, is indivisible; we cannot love the God we cannot see if we do not love the brother or sister we do see.136 In refusing to forgive our brothers and sisters, our hearts are closed and their hardness makes them impervious to the Father's merciful love; but in confessing our sins, our hearts are opened to his grace. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2840)

6. Never act or react to someone when your passions are boiling:   It is prudent to wait until you are “detached” from the situation and you can address the person in a more balanced and considerate manner.

Email Fr. Michael at msliney@legionaries.org!


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