Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Work (on top of the very inconvenient loss of my wallet and contents) has been very stressful of late, and I am feeling quite off; to-morrow, at suggestion of others, I'm seeing my doctor and having a "mental health day".  

Ira furor brevis est: anger is a brief madness.  I have a short temper, but that is a passion I ought be overcoming by growing in virtue, bridling it and subjecting it to right reason, rather than slothfully taking the downward path.

"Man's anger worketh not the justice of God" (James i, 20), and such ire is a sure symptom of pride, the root of all evil, and enemy to Christian humility - which, after all, is but the recognition of our true, lowly place in the scheme of things; whereas to be puffed up with overestimated worth is a very madness. 

Please of your charity pray that I obtain the patience I need, since I should wish rather to be united with Christ upon His Cross than - mea maxima culpa - more securely nail Him to it.

Prayer against anger 
from the Cœleste Palmetum of Wilhelmus Nakatenus (1617-1682)

Should man reserveth anger for his fellow man and yet seek remedy from God? Should he that hath no mercy on one like himself entreat God for his own sins? Who shall obtain pardon for his sins? (Eccli 28:3-5) By these words Thou hast spoken to me though Thy servant Sirach, O Lord God. And after this dare I foster anger and hate against anyone? Spare me, O Lord, spare me of my malice and stubbornness in which I have persevered even unto now. From my soul I now overlook and forgive whatever anyone has done against me. I humbly beg Thee, O Lord, do not rebuke me in Thy fury, nor chastise me in Thine anger. (Ps 37:2) O how would that I be like the deaf who does not hear and the mute who does not speak (Ps 37:14) whenever my enemies rise up in force against me, and those who seek my soul use violence. (Cf. Ps 37:12c) Do not forsake me, O Lord my God, do not depart from me (Ps 37:22), for Thou art my patience. (Ps 70:5a)

Another collection of prayers I make use of is an old High Church Anglican compilation by Oldknow & Crake, as revised by Briscoe:  The Priest's Book of Private Devotion...

Against Anger

O Lord, who art slow to wrath, ready to pardon, and of great kindness, remove from me all causeless and immoderate anger, all pride and prejudice, and too much concern for the things of this world, all intemperate speeches and undue excitement.  Give me, O God, a mild, peaceable, and humble spirit, that, remembering my own infirmities, I may bear with those of others:... that I may think lowly of myself, and not be angry when others also think lowly of me: that I may be patient towards all men, gentle and easy to be entreated: that thou, for Christ's sake, mayst be so towards me.  Amen.


Son of Trypho said...

May I refer you to Lactantius:

On the Anger of God:21

There remains one question, and that the last. For some one will perhaps say, that God is so far from being angry, that in His precepts He even forbids man to be angry. I might say that the anger of man ought to be curbed, because he is often angry unjustly; and he has immediate emotion, because he is only for a time. Therefore, lest those things should be done which the low, and those of moderate station, and great kings do in their anger, his rage ought to have been moderated and suppressed, lest, being out of his mind, he should commit some inexpiable crime. But God is not angry for a short time, because He is eternal and of perfect virtue, and He is never angry unless deservedly. But, however, the matter is not so; for if He should altogether prohibit anger, He Himself would have been in some measure the censurer of His own workmanship, since He from the beginning had inserted anger in the liver of man, since it is believed that the cause of this emotion is contained in the moisture of the gall. Therefore He does not altogether prohibit anger, because that affection is necessarily given, but He forbids us to persevere in anger. For the anger of mortals ought to be mortal; for if it is lasting, enmity is strengthened to lasting destruction. Then, again, when He enjoined us to be angry, and yet not to sin, it is plain that He did not tear up anger by the roots, but restrained it, that in every correction we might preserve moderation and justice. Therefore He who commands us to be angry is manifestly Himself angry; He who enjoins us to be quickly appeased is manifestly Himself easy to be appeased: for He has enjoined those things which are just and useful for the interests of society.

But because I had said that the anger of God is not for a time only, as is the case with man, who becomes inflamed with an immediate excitement, and on account of his frailty is unable easily to govern himself, we ought to understand that because God is eternal, His anger also remains to eternity; but, on the other hand, that because He is endued with the greatest excellence, He controls His anger, and is not ruled by it, but that He regulates it according to His will. And it is plain that this is not opposed to that which has just been said. For if His anger had been altogether immortal, there would be no place after a fault for satisfaction or kind feeling, though He Himself commands men to be reconciled before the setting of the sun. But the divine anger remains for ever against those who ever sin. Therefore God is appeased not by incense or a victim, not by costly offerings, which things are all corruptible, but by a reformation of the morals: and he who ceases to sin renders the anger of God mortal. For this reason He does not immediately punish every one who is guilty, that man may have the opportunity of coming to a right mind, and correcting himself.

I will pray for you, please pray for me.

Joshua said...

God bless you for your great courtesy and charity in so kindly praying - I pause to offer an Ave for you - and moreover for posting this apt and beautiful passage from a Father of whom sadly I know very little.

Yes, Be angry and sin not: Irascimini et nolite peccare...

Anonymous said...


This will sound awfully trite of me, but I have a short temper too: when anger (rage?) trips you up, think of Exposition and Benediction. I cannot explain why, but that calms me.

...or, just exclaim "God help me!"

I Wish I Had A Cool Latin Tagline said...

Hey Joshua

I'll get Brother Peter to pray for you in Wyoming Carmel.


Pete's Mum

Joshua said...

Many thanks for your support!