Choose a topic from Part 2B:

158. Anger

1. Anger, strictly speaking, is a sense-appetite andsense-passion. Since its upheaval in the sensitive part of a manmay be quickly admitted (by the will) into the rational orintellective part, it is called a "passion of the soul."Anger thus exercises an influence upon reason. Now, anger caninfluence reason in the right direction as well as in the wrongone. Therefore, there is such a thing as just or lawful anger.Scripture says (Psalm 4:5): "Be angry, and sin not." Theanger of our Lord threatening hypocrites, or driving out the menwho profaned the temple, gives us an example of righteous or lawfulanger. Such lawful anger is never inordinate; it never sweeps a manoff his feet, or inspires outrageous words or deeds.

2. But anger, though it can be lawful, is moreoften a striking back, with unjustified desire for revenge, atsomeone or something that has hurt one's self-esteem. Suchanger is inordinate; it is an evil; it is a sin.

3. Yet anger is not a mortal sin unless a person, byconsent of will, allows it to become so fierce as to make himwilling to forego his serious duty to God or fellowmen. Therefore,a person submitting, through anger, to murderous impulses orintentions, is guilty of mortal sin.

4. In itself, anger, even as mortal sin, is not soinordinate or disgraceful a sin as lust or the incontinence oflustful desires. And in comparison with the vice of hatred, angeris, as St. Augustine says in his Rule, "as the mote to thebeam."

5. Aristotle classifies anger as choler, sullenness, andsternness. A choleric person is quick to anger; asullen person angrily nurses his injuries; astern or bad-tempered person clings to the angrydetermination to be revenged.

6. Anger is one of the capital sins. For it is thefruitful source of many evils much worse than itself, such asserious injuries and murders. Other fruits of anger are: quarrels,physical attacks, cursings, uncharitable speech.

7. St. Gregory lists the "daughters of anger"as: quarreling (including physical encounter); vengeful thoughtsand designs; clamor, or disordered and confused speech; contumely,or speech injurious to a neighbor; indignation, or bridling againstwhat angers one as something base and unworthy; blasphemy, oroffensive words directed against God.

8. A person who is wholly incapable of anger lacks something; heis in some way defective. As we have seen, there is such a thing asjust and lawful anger. Were a person unable to resent evil, hewould be deficient in the use of lawful anger.

"Those who love God are always happy, because their whole happiness is to fulfill, even in adversity, the will of God."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"This is the greatest wisdom -- to seek the kingdom of heaven through contempt of the world. "
Thomas á Kempis

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"God commands not impossibilities, but by commanding he suggests to you to do what you can, to ask for what is beyond your strength; and he helps you, that you may be able."
St Augustine

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