Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Jeri Holladay

3/25/2009 (7 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

What drives anger? All the deadly sins work together, and anger, pride and envy form a particularly unholy alliance.

Hot or cold, passive or aggressive, anger usually desires to punish or hurt others in some way. But anger can also turn inward, particularly when the angry person feels he/she is a powerless victim of his situation. Depression and even suicide is sometimes connected to repressed anger.

Hot or cold, passive or aggressive, anger usually desires to punish or hurt others in some way. But anger can also turn inward, particularly when the angry person feels he/she is a powerless victim of his situation. Depression and even suicide is sometimes connected to repressed anger.

Highlights

By Jeri Holladay

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/25/2009 (7 years ago)

Published in Lent / Easter


WICHITA, Kansas (Catholic Online) - They are driving along when she sees a text message from a previous girlfriend. An argument ensues, during which he bashes her head into the window of their Lamborghini and punches her repeatedly in the face.

A gunman walks into a church and starts shooting. Road rage rides the highways and aggression patrols the hallways of neighborhood schools. Many who would never openly express their hostility secretly enjoy seeing others do so on TV or in movies. With the crumbling economy and rising unemployment, we seem to have given ourselves permission to be furious.

The Church is careful to distinguish emotions, which arise unbidden and dissipate just as quickly, from the choice to nurture or act on these feelings. Mental rehearsals of angry exchanges keep the embers glowing, while the violence, cursing, belittling, and verbal abuse that periodically erupts reveals that the vice of anger simmers inside.

Like all of the deadly sins, anger (or wrath) is a potential rooted in the fallen nature of every person. Anger is deeply self-centered, impatient with the weaknesses of others and often driven by an aggrieved sense of entitlement rising up in response to real or imagined injury. It causes the breakdown of marriages, families, and friendships.

Hot or cold, passive or aggressive, anger usually desires to punish or hurt others in some way. But anger can also turn inward, particularly when the angry person feels he/she is a powerless victim of his/her situation. Depression and even suicide is sometimes connected to repressed anger.

What drives anger? All the deadly sins work together, and anger, pride and envy form a particularly unholy alliance. At its core, however, anger may also be fueled by fear and insecurity.

Angry people often fear losing their place in the world, the loss or lack of love, or the abridgment of their real or imagined rights. They dread suffering or are anxious about their survival in a dog eat dog world. The old adage "The best defense is a good offense" is a wise observation of human nature. In fact, many angry people justify their hostility by saying they are only defending themselves.

Jesus gives us no quarter on anger. He rejects our excuses. Not only does He uphold the commandment against murder, he shines a light on that root of anger in our hearts. He says, "Anyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment" (Mt 5:21-22). There is no wiggle room here, and the early Fathers confirm this in their unwavering counsel against allowing any hint or root of anger to linger in the soul.

Without our anger, we may feel weak and vulnerable, like doormats and ready victims for anyone's boots. If we don't fight for ourselves and our rights, who will? Who can we trust? Good question. There is an answer. God has already fought for us. He has successfully defended us against the world, the flesh and the Devil. Jesus shed His blood and gave His life in this battle.

The Paschal Mystery is the path to liberation from the crippling vice of anger. Taking up His cross, rather than fighting it, Jesus allowed Himself to be crucified. While hanging on the Cross, the sinless one suffered the greatest injustice imaginable, not because He deserved it, but because we did. Instead of calling upon legions of angels to execute vengeance, He asked the Father to forgive His tormentors, "for they know not what they do" (Lk 23:34). His love for us cost His very life.

This is the love St. John calls us to trust with our whole lives. "Perfect love drives out fear" he says, "so one who fears is not yet perfect in love. We love because He first loved us. If anyone says he loves God, but hates his brother, he is a liar, for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen." (1 Jn 4:18-20)

Loving God and loving our brothers cannot be separated. The anger that divides us into warring factions must give way to love.

Does this mean we are to be passive in the face of genuine injustice, especially when done to others? No. Anger can be to the soul what pain is to the body; it alerts us to the fact that something is amiss, either in our personal lives or in our society. But the passion of anger must be transformed into the energy of love, a love which flows from an understanding of the truth and is not deceived into thinking that good can be achieved by evil means.

Jesus did not die passively on the Cross; it was a mighty act of self-gift. His death actively opened the way of peace between God and man, and among people. We, too, are called to be peacemakers in our own small way, even in hostile situations, by acting with forbearance, compassion, empathy, love and forgiveness. Only this unselfish and courageous laying down of our lives and our "rights" can uproot the anger ever ready to flare up within us.

----
Jeri Holladay writes from Wichita, Kansas, where she has been Director of Adult Education at the Spiritual Life Center of the Diocese of Wichita, Associate Professor of Theology, Chairman of the Theology Department and founding Director of the Bishop Eugene Gerber Institute of Catholic Studies at Newman University. She teaches moral theology and church history and is a contributing writer for Catholic Online.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2016
Universal:
Sports: That sports may be an opportunity for friendly encounters between peoples and may contribute to peace in the world.
Evangelization: Living the Gospel: That Christians may live the Gospel, giving witness to faith, honesty, and love of neighbor.



Comments


More Lent / Easter

Did you know the Catholic Church has a birthday? Watch

Image of Pentecost is widely considered the birthday of the Catholic Church.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Happy birthday to the Catholic Church! Happy birthday to you, who are the body of the Church! LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - We're all familiar with our own birthdays, and we celebrate them because they mark the day of the year in which we entered into this life. ... continue reading


8 thought-provoking Easter quotes to inspire Watch

Image of Easter is more than eggs and bunnies.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

We all love to celebrate Easter with brightly colored hard boiled eggs, candy, cute pictures of bunnies and chicks and we all love to gather together to party! Regardless of how you celebrate Easter, don't forget the real reason for the holiday. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


The surprising origins of the Easter Bunny -- it's not what you think! Watch

Image of Rejoice! The beloved Easter Bunny has very Christian origins.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Easter Bunny is a symbol of Easter that is popular in western culture, especially with children. According to folklore, the Easter Bunny hides Easter eggs for children to find on Easter morning. However, the association between a rabbit and the resurrection of ... continue reading


'The Easter message of the risen Christ': Listen to Pope Francis' Easter Mass Watch

Image of Pope Francis celebrated the Easter Mass and focused on Christ and refugees (Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

On Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016, Pope Francis stood before pilgrims gathered at St. Peter's Square for the traditional Urbi et Orbi blessing. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Vatican Radio, the pontiff stood before the packed square to speak of Jesus ... continue reading


Missing The Point of Easter Watch

Image of Alex Basile [not pictured] is the Religion Department chair at Kellenberg Memorial High School in Uniondale, NY. He has written nine books for Saint Pauls/Alba House. www.alexbasile.net

By Alex Basile

Author Alex Basile reflects of the true meaning of the Resurrection of Christ and how many Christians overlook the real joy of Easter. In the haziness of the first Easter morning, Mary Magdalene made her way to tomb of her friend and teacher. Fighting back tears and ... continue reading


He Has Truly Risen, We Are Free From Fear Watch

Image of The Tomb is empty!

By Fr. James Farfaglia

With the resurrection of Jesus, the physical is exalted.  When we truly believe in Jesus, we are resurrected in this life because we are freed from the fear and worry that are characteristic of a godless life; we are freed from the unhappiness of a life filled ... continue reading


HOLY SATURDAY: The Whole Earth Keeps Silence Watch

Image of The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Something strange is happening - there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all ... continue reading


Holy Saturday: 'Make Sure He's Dead' Watch

Image of God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear

By Fr. Randy Sly

Just as the Chief Priests and Pharisees gathered with Pilate to plan on keeping the tomb sealed and guarded with Christ inside, many today want to place a stone in the entrance of the Church, to keep him inside again. On Holy Saturday we remember that no matter how ... continue reading


Good Friday Reflection on the Logic of the Cross Watch

Image of Benedict says,

By Michael Terheyden

Pope Francis said something during his first general audience that inspired me to reflect on the suffering Jesus endured during his Passion for the sake of our redemption. He said, "Living Holy Week means increasingly entering into God's logic, the logic of the Cross. ... continue reading


Good Friday: The Church Born From the Wounded Side of Christ Pauses at the Cross Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Christ has flooded the universe with divine and sanctifying waves. For the thirsty, he sends a spring of living water from the wound, which the spear opened in His Side. From the wound in Christ's side has come forth the Church, and He has made her His Bride. ... continue reading


All Lent / Easter News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 1:26-31
26 Consider, brothers, how you were called; not many of you are wise by ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 33:12-13, 18-19, 20-21
12 How blessed the nation whose God is Yahweh, the people he has chosen ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 25:14-30
14 'It is like a man about to go abroad who summoned his servants and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 27th, 2016 Image

St. Monica
August 27: Saint Monica, also known as Monica of Hippo, is ... Read More