Fr. Roy Cimagala
We have to be ready when this eventuality comes. It certainly is unavoidable. In fact, these days there are more occasions when we get provoked to anger. Aside from own miseries and defects, our trials, difficulties and challenges we have to face, we now have to contend with the increasing differences we have among ourselves, especially in the areas of politics, ideologies and the like. The environment is getting more toxic.
We need to learn anger management. As much as possible we have to avoid anger, because our tendency is to get angry at something not in a righteous way. Righteous anger is when we get angry not so much because we suffer as because we are defending the rights of God and of others whom we love. It’s not because of us, but because of God and of others.
When we have such righteous anger, our anger would be in proportion to its cause. It will never be just a spontaneous explosion. It comes as a result of a reflection of a particular situation in the context of faith and reason. It’s not purely an instinct, an emotion or passion. It will be both a human and Christian reaction, natural and supernatural.
Like Christ, more often than not we just have to learn how to bear the suffering caused by the weaknesses, mistakes and sins of the others. With God’s grace, we can achieve this if we view those occasions when we seem provoked to anger as occasions to grow in our love for God and for others.
Like Christ who bore all our sins on the cross, we have to learn the virtues of patience and magnanimity so we can remain meek and at peace in those moments of provocation. We have to know how to have a good grip of our emotions that can lead us to angry thoughts, words and deeds.
As much as possible, we should try to avoid feeling indignant, resentful and vengeful or getting sullen and hateful. If we know how to relate ourselves to God through our prayers and sacrifices, through the cultivation of virtues, through the recourse of the sacra-ments, and the practice of ascetical struggle, we would also know how to avoid falling into the different forms of anger.
We can manage to remain at peace and unperturbed. More than that, we can manage to pray for those who may provoke us to anger. Yes, we can manage to love them and to consider them as God’s ways for us to grow in our spiritual life.
Instead of following the law of Talion, i.e., eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, we can manage to love the way Christ loves us, i.e., willing to bear and suffer for the sins of others. In this way, we become more and more like Christ whenever we are provoked to get angry.
We need to learn the practical aspects of how to manage our tendency to get angry. This can mean learning how to control our reactions, how to refer things to God immediately and to ask for his help, how to say sorry, etc. Fr. Roy Cimagala is Chaplain, Center for Industrial Technology and Enter-prise (CITE), Talamban, Cebu City, Email: roy firstname.lastname@example.org.