Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Can anger be our friend?

"Passions are morally good when they contribute to a good action, evil in the opposite case."
                                         Catechism of the Catholic Church  # 1768

All human beings get angry, it is part and parcel of being human. Anger, in itself, is not a sin, it is simply an emotion. Unfortunately, because of our fallen nature it often leads us into sin. We have all heard the expressions: blowing our tops, flying off the handle, or hot under the collar. Anger becomes sinful when we dwell on it and get carried away by it; we fail to bridle our tongue and scream ugly things, yell at our children and act in an unloving manner. Road rage, revenge, and murder....these are all things that begin with anger.

Does anger always have to lead to sin? Of course not. Anger can propel us into positive action, also. It can stir us into taking steps to correct an evil and with God's grace can even be turned into a great zeal for justice. Look at Saint Paul. There are situations where we must, as Christians, use our voices; especially when something or someone is causing physical or spiritual harm to others. This is where anger can turn into a powerful force for good in our lives; when it lifts us from apathy and moves us toward justice. By the grace of God, anger can be a useful tool for positive change. Tempered [lol] with love, it can stir us into speaking up firmly in the face of injustice.

" We ought to speak, shout out against injustices, with confidence and without fear. We proclaim the principles of the Church, the reign of love, without forgetting that it is also a reign of justice."
                                                        Blessed Miguel Pro, S.J.


  1. Excellent post, Mary! Anger can be something worthy of dealing with for me. I wouldn't call myself an "angry" person, but I can have a short fuse! I'm spontaneous and that doesn't mix well with anger! Many times I've wished I could take words back! But, we can't!
    Thank you for these words to think about tonight!

  2. Well said! Anger can indeed be our friend, although I too often let it be my enemy, especially in knee-jerk disrespectful responses. Emotions, tv, internet, alcohol, etc... all are neutral, and morality is in their use or abuse. It's great to see Catholicism so well represented here. You truly walk the 'narrow path' going neither left into liberalism nor right into a conservatism that goes beyond Catholicism. Thank you for this refreshing blog.

  3. Thanks, pip. Actually, I need a lot of work :)

  4. I used to always think of anger as BAD, I did not know how to deal with it. Now I remember the times Jesus got angry, the money changers in the temple, the people who did not want him to heal on the sabbath. Righteous anger. I remember a priest once saying that anger is not a sin. It is just a feeling. What we do with it is what matters. Thanks for this great post!

  5. I used to confess anger all the time before a priest finally explained to me when anger becomes sinful. You're right, it's what we do with it that matters :)

  6. I love the Miguel Pro quote-that's a strong statement-"shout out against injustices".