Overcoming the Beast of Anger - Part 3

February 17, 2010 Length: 25:58

Fr. George concludes his series by recalling Christ's admonition to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.





We can reflect on the words of St. Mark the Acetic: Do you want the tree of disorder—I mean the passion of bitterness, anger and wrath—to dry up within you and become barred, so that with the axe of the Spirit it may be ‘hewn down and cast into the fire’ together with every other vice (Matt. 3:10) ...If this is really what you want keep the humility of the Lord in your heart and never forget it…Call to mind who He is, and what He became for our sakes. Reflect first on the divine light of His Divinity revealed to the essences above [the angels] (Eph 1:21)...Then think to what humiliation He descended in His ineffable goodness, becoming in all respects like us who were dwelling in the dwelling of darkness and the shadow of death (Mat 4:16).” Petition Our Lord’s help in this way to help restructure.
This “time-out” can be accomplished by something as simple as going to the restroom. Restructuring should can also be incorporated into evening prayer, especially during the examination of conscience and prayer for forgiveness of sins. This active approach toward our becoming like Christ is our vocation as Christians. St. James tells us “So you see, then, it is his actions that a person is put right with God, not by his faith alone” (James 2:24). All the wishing or prayer we do, if it does not lead us to actively make ourselves like Christ is empty.
“Since you are God’s dear children you must try to be like him, Your life must be controlled by love ...” (Eph. 5: 1-2). Work, vivified by prayer and the sacraments, is the way to advance in our likeness in Christ. Only then will we be able to say with Christ: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Lk 23: 34).
St. Matthew (5: 43-48) records the words of Jesus: ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?  You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.  (Mt 5: 43-48)
We saw the prime example of this a couple of weeks ago in the parable of the Prodigal Son. I have talked about this before but well repeating….The father is always disposed to receive us … but first we must repent of our own sin, illness, falling short. … As the Prodigal Son came to his own mind, saw the distance between himself and his father and longed for his fathers home … he did so and left feeding the swine and said:  “I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you;  I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants.”’(Lk 15-19)
Spiritually after striking out to someone in anger we must acknowledge our own sin and do the same … but we must also do more recall Our Lords strong injunction to His followers, in other words to us:  “You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’  But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire.  So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,  leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.  (Mt 5: 21-24).
“ For, in the first place, when you assemble as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you; and I partly believe it,  for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.  When you meet together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat.  For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal, and one is hungry and another is drunk.  What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.  For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread,  and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”  In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”  For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.  Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.  Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.  (1Cor 11: 18-29)
During the Lenten Season is the special time for us to go into our desert in the City and take stock of whom we are not reconciled with .. because this lack of reconciliation is a judgment on ourselves …
Suppose you try to reconcile and the other does not accept your attempt ….Make sure you did not slip in a blaming accusation at the other person in actual word or tone of voice .. if you genuinely, sincerely, heart-fully, and kindly sought out reconciliation and it is rejected …then sorry to say it is on the other person.. but not for you or I to judge .. only God. What do we do then .. pray for them, from the deepest parts of our hearts …. Pray for their good and welfare; pray for all of us to turn to God and glorify Him …
Remember the words of St. Isaac the Syrian .. God is even in hell waiting those there to turn to Him .. we must stand with God on this …
This is true anger management.
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Palmer, G.E.H., Sherrard, P. & Ware, K. (1979). The Philokalia 1, London: Faber and Fager