Church Fathers, Day 283: St. John Cassian wants us to find the right use for our anger

Find the right use for your angerThe passion of anger blinds us and sends us tumbling into sin, says St. John Cassian. But there is one right use for it. We should be very angry at our own failings, and that anger should lead us to overcome them.From almost every cause the emotion of wrath boils over, and blinds the eyes of the soul, and, bringing the deadly beam of a worse disease over the keen­ness of our sight, prevents us from seeing the sun of righteousness. It makes no difference … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 282: St. John Cassian says don’t excuse your anger from Scripture

Don’t excuse your anger from ScriptureSome people, says St. John Cassian, try to excuse their anger by saying that righteous anger is perfectly fine. Doesn’t the Bible talk a lot about God’s “wrath”? But God is not subject to human passions. You can’t justify your own sin by an appeal to the metaphorical language of Scripture.We have heard some people trying to excuse this most pernicious disease of the soul (anger), trying to extenuate it by a rather shocking way of interpreting Script … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 281: Hermas tells us don’t let anger force the Spirit out

Don’t let anger force the Spirit outThe visionary Hermas is told that anger forces the Holy Spirit to take flight from our souls. Once we let anger in, we’re on the road to “incurable sin.”Listen, and hear how wicked the action of anger is, and how it over­throws the servants of God and turns them away from righteousness. For as soon as it sees the thoughtless and doubting standing steadfast, it throws itself into their hearts, and the man or woman starts to get angry for no reason abou … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 280: St. Ephrem the Syrian says don’t insult God’s image

Don’t insult God’s imageIf you are angry at your neighbor, says St. Ephrem the Syrian, you are angry at God, because your neighbor is the image of God. But if you honor your neighbor, you honor God.If you are angry against your neighbor, you are angry against God; and if you bear anger in your heart, your pride is lifted up against the Lord. If you rebuke in envy, all your reproof is wicked.But if love dwells in you, you have no enemy on earth. And if you are a true child of peace, … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 279: St. Ambrose tells us calm your mind—or at least your tongue

Calm your mind—or at least your tongueWe should try to keep from getting angry, says St. Ambrose. But if anger sneaks up on us, we should try to calm ourselves. And if we can’t do that, we should at least keep ourselves from saying something we’ll regret.Guard against anger. But if it cannot be averted, let it be kept within bounds. For indignation is a terrible incentive to sin. It disorders the mind to such an extent as to leave no room for reason.The first thing, therefore, to ai … [Read more...]

Church Fathers, Day 278: St. John Cassian advises us to make the right use of our passions

Make the right use of your passionsGod gave you your emotions for good reasons, says St. John Cassian. The key is to keep them under control, rather than letting them lead you into sin.For these carnal impulses, of which we spoke above, were implanted in our bodies with a useful purpose by the providence of the Creator: for perpetuat­ing the race, and raising up children for posterity—and not for committing adul­teries and debaucheries, which the authority of the law also con … [Read more...]