Friday, March 11, 2016



We are told that patience is a virtue, and that we ought to cultivate it in ourselves.  Yet, it is quite easy to get angry when people keep pushing us and never seem to give us a moment of peace.  I have been thinking of this a lot recently, and how, though I try to be patient, in the spur of a moment, I often snap back at someone and mournfully regret it afterwards.

This morning a read a chapter in the Venerable Louis of Granada’s book, The Sinner’s Guide, about this very subject.  It has helped me to look at the whole struggle from a different light, and given me courage to try once again to persevere in the battle for patience.  Here below is the chapter:

Chapter 35 – Remedies against Anger and Hatred

Anger is an inordinate desire for revenge.  St. Paul spoke strongly against it saying, “Put away all bitterness, anger, indignation, clamor, and blasphemy.  Be kind, merciful, and forgiving to each other as God forgives you in Christ.”  (Eph. 4:31-32) Our Savior Himself said, “But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment…” (Matt 5:22) You disgrace yourself when you indulge in ungovernable rage like a wild animal.

If you find it hard to subdue anger caused by your neighbor, consider how much more God has borne from you and how He has endured you.  Your sins helped crucify Him when He shed the last drop of His Blood, yet He bears with sweet patience your daily offenses against Him.

If anger makes you believe your enemy does not deserve forgiveness, ask yourself if you deserve God’s pardon.  Don’t expect God to grant you mercy when you hate your neighbor.  If your neighbor does not deserve pardon from you, you do not deserve pardon from God.  Remember, you only merit pardon because of Jesus’ sacrifice for you.  Therefore, for love of Him, forgive all who offend you.

Know that as long as hatred fills your heart, you cannot offer anything acceptable to God.  Jesus taught this when He said, “Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matt 5:23-24) Hence, the sin of enmity between you and your neighbor creates enmity between you and God and destroys the merit of all your good works.  St. Gregory says, “You gain no merit from good works if you don’t endure injuries with patience.” (Moral. 21:16)

Your neighbor is either a just person or a sinner.  What a great misfortune to offend God by treating a just neighbor badly.  What a shame to plunge your soul into sin if they are a sinner.  Finally, if your neighbor seeks vengeance for the injury you inflict, your problems will never end.

St. Paul taught about noble revenge when he said not to let evil overcome you, rather overcome it with good. (Rom. 12:21) When you seek revenge, anger often defeats and ultimately disappoints you.  However, when you overcome your passion, you gain a glorious victory.  Ultimately, you win the noblest triumphs by controlling your passion with reason.

Anger makes you say and do inappropriate things.  This makes it imperative that you oppose, with all your strength, the suggestions of passion.  If you can’t, you will be like an intoxicated person who acts unreasonably and afterwards feels remorse.  Anger, wine, and sensuality make for evil counselors.  Keep in mind that God holds you responsible for sins committed in such a state.

Thus, make a firm resolution never to speak or act under the influence of anger, nor to heed any suggestions, however plausible, which your heart may urge at such moments.  Never act until your anger subsides or until you once or twice repeat the Our Father or some other prayer.

Thinking of other things also provides a good remedy.  Try to banish from your mind the subject that irritates you because when you take away the fuel of a fire, the flame soon expires.  Try to love the one who troubles you, for patience unaccompanied with love often changes into hatred.  Hence, St. Paul taught that charity is patient and kind (1 Cor. 13:4) for true charity loves those whom it patiently endures.  Finally, if you anger your neighbor, quietly withdraw until their passion subsides, or at least answer them with mildness, for, “A mild answer calms wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Prov. 15:1)


I would like to end this article by quoting a song that my mother used to sing to us whenever we were impatient.  It eventually got stuck in my head, and to this day, it sort of makes me laugh.  Yet, having it impressed upon my mind so much has helped a lot to make me become more of a patient person:

Be patient, be patient, so be in such a hurry!
When you get impatient, you only start to worry!
Remember, remember, that God is patient too!
And think of all the times that others had to wait on you!

Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like unto Thine!

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