I would like to make a personal confession: I am an angry person. I have a very short fuse and I get angry more times in a day than I can honestly say. Sometimes, I get angry about the smallest things. Sometimes, I make mountains of molehills. Yet I have been trying to work on my anger and to get it under control. However, it always seems to sneak up on me when I least expect it.
Over the last couple of days, I have been writing on another forum about a group of sisters. There were lots of replies and some people were really ticked. I got ticked that they were ticked and didn’t agree with them. I apologized and then I got angry because I had apologized. It’s a never ending cycle especially when the way that we interact with one another over the internet is through text. Since we don’t see each other’s faces, it can be extremely difficult to “read” a person’s intentions.
In light of this, I think that anger can be an extremely corrosive emotion. Each of us deals with anger differently. Some of us get violent, while others just store it inside until it explodes. My anger is the exploding kind. When I’m angry, my mind usually blacks out so that I don’t remember what I said or what I did. Of course, it’s dangerous to be in that state. God know how much damage I have done when I’ve been angry.
Spiritual writers encourage us to acquire meekness in order to deal with anger and yet meekness is a very difficult to acquire. Until I started taking my faith, I always viewed meek people as pushovers because they didn’t fight for themselves. I’ve come to realize, however, that meek people are not pushovers. They simply do not believe that getting angry or fighting back will get them any further.
I remember once telling somebody off at school. Of course, I immediately regretted having blown up. But what surprised me even more was that the person in question did nothing. He just stood there and said, “Okay. If that’s how you feel about the situation, then I completely understand.” I was floored by the reaction because it was so different from my own. Rather than reacting, the person reacted with meekness. No fighting words, nothing. I realized then and there that the only way that I could acquire meekness was to learn from those who were week.
Our Lord Himself said that we should learn from Him because He is meek and humble of heart. When Our Lord was being scourged and spat upon, He didn’t react with anger. He was meekness itself. He didn’t utter a word of reproach against those that were doing these things to Him. Rather, He asked His father to forgive them because they did not know what they were doing.
St. Stephen, whom the Church commemorated after Christmas, also begged forgiveness for his persecutor when he was being stoned. Once again, he was meekness itself. He did not get angry. Rather, he prayed and asked that Our Lord not impute the sin to the people that were killing Him.
St. Francis Xavier was once preaching a sermon in India, when a man came up to him and spat on his face. Francis Xavier’s listeners anticipated that he would say something about the man. Yet Francis Xavier did not even wipe the spit from his cheek. He merely went on preaching his sermon. What meekness it must have taken for him not to react to such an affront to his person and merely let the man go. Yet this example converted hundreds of his hearers on that day to Catholicism.
Of course, meekness is a difficult virtue to acquire. Sometimes, it may seem that we have no meekness at all. Yet there are those days when we are provoked and we simply don’t do anything. We just sit there and take it. Sometimes, that is all that we can do when we are provoked.
Our Lady of the Angels, pray for us!