With tensions, scandals, and division everywhere we look these days, there is plenty that can trigger our anger. Even in living our day to day lives, little things can build up and make us angry with those around us. And while it may be good and just to react to evil with anger, we should not let it overtake our peace.
Recently on Go Ask Your Father™, Monsignor Stuart Swetland focused his Catechetical Corner segment on the topic of anger. He explained the importance of keeping our anger in check by first sharing a quote from St. Thomas of Villanova, saying:
“‘Dismiss all anger, and look into yourself a little. Remember that he of whom you are speaking is your brother. And as he is in the way of salvation, God can make him a saint, in spite of his present weaknesses.’
This is a challenging quotation from St. Thomas of Villanova to eliminate anger from our lives. And if you remember in the Catechism, paragraph 2302, it talks about safeguarding peace. Here’s what the Catechism says about anger:
Anger is a desire for revenge. “To desire vengeance in order to do evil to someone who should be punished is illicit,” but it is praiseworthy to impose restitution “to correct vices and maintain justice.” If anger reaches the point of a deliberate desire to kill or seriously wound a neighbor, it is gravely against charity; it is a mortal sin. The Lord says, “Everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment.”
We are reminded that the measure with which we measure will be measured back to us. And Our Lord, in His teaching on the Sermon on the Mount, was very specific about resisting this kind of vice.
So today I am very challenged to remind myself, and remind you, that anger is one of the seven deadly sins. One that should be avoided. Because I sense in the general ethos of our country – in the rhetoric, the way people are talking to each other on social media, television, and radio – there seems to be an underlying anger at each other that is unhealthy and unholy. And I think it is something we need to address.
We need to give a better example. For we should be, as Christians, the most peaceable of persons. We should always ‘swim in joy and always be in peace,’ as one of my favorite spiritual writers, Fr. Jacques Philippe says.
Any reason that robs us of our peace is a bad reason. Because peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.”
Listen to the full Catechetical Corner below: