The 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 about little things in everyday life—their food, or some silly word someone spoke, or some such pointless thing.
Anger is foolish, fickle, and senseless. From folly comes bitterness, and from bitterness anger, and from anger frenzy. This frenzy, the product of so many evils, ends in a great and incurable sin. For when all these spirits live in one vessel in which the Holy Spirit also lives, the vessel can’t contain them. It overflows. The tender Spirit, not accustomed to living with the wicked spirit or with such hardness, withdraws from such a person, and looks for meekness and peacefulness to live with.
When he withdraws, that person is emptied of the righteous Spirit, and after that, filled with evil spirits, is in anarchy in everything he does, yanked this way and that by the evil spirits, with nothing but darkness in his mind about everything good. That’s what happens to all the angry.
–Hermas, Commandment 4
IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
Do I give in to anger too easily?
Does my anger sometimes make me do things I regret?
As a first step, have I asked forgiveness from some of the people my anger has hurt?
Lord, you who love all humanity, fill me with the love that comes from your Spirit, and let me overcome anger, so that I may live a life worthy of your calling.
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