March 22, 2015
People today, and especially young people, are very angry. They live for material and bodily pleasures, ostentation and for mutual envy. They distort their nature and then, when they cannot satisfy their desires, they become disappointed, bewildered and despondent. They defuse their anger and disappointment in many and various ways: they are self-destructive; they get intoxicated and benumbed; they either become authoritarian or destructive, or they become anarchists, terrorists or murderers.
St. John Climacus tells us that “anger” means to constantly preserve hatred within your self; to take revenge on the one that exasperated you. (8:5) The mothers of anger are vainglory, love of money, greed, and sometimes lust. The father which gives birth to anger is conceit, while the daughters of anger are remembrance of wrongs, hatred, enmity, self-justification and hatred (8:31).
Since all of the above predominate, it is not strange that anger reigns within us today. This is one of the reasons why so many remain discontent with the Church and cannot take pleasure in the joy and peace which is given by the Holy Spirit. “If the Holy Spirit is called “peace of soul”, as He is said to be, and as He is in reality, and if anger is disturbance of heart, as it actually is and as it is said to be, then nothing more prevents His presence in us as anger” (8:14).
The way which we should deal with other’s anger and our own is by obtaining meekness: “for our soul to remain motionless and tranquil, remaining unaffected whether in evil report or in good report, in dishonour or in praise” (8:3). The beginning of “non-angriness” is to remain in silence, even though our soul and heart are in turmoil (8:4). St. John also recommends that we remember the anger Christ received which climaxed in Him being crucified.
“The beginning of healing anger is for the afflicted one to recognize the cause for his pain and anguish. Once the cause is found, then we who are afflicted must take the appropriate ointment from God’s care and from our spiritual doctors” (8:30). But here one must be very careful. “If you want, or rather intend, to take a splinter out of another person’s eye, then do not hack at it with a stick instead of a lancet for you will only drive it deeper. And this is a stick—rude speech and rough gestures. And this is a lancet—tempered instruction and patient reprimanding. ‘Reprove,’ says the Apostle, ‘rebuke, exhort’, (2 Tim.4:2) but he did not say ‘beat’. And if this is even required, do it rarely, and but not directly by you (i.e. use the agency of another)” (8:23).