We must not do or say anything wrong when angry, but wait until the anger goes away

November 23, 2021 • 3 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 366

The most efficacious, the sovereign remedy against this vice is to pluck from your heart inordinate love of self and of everything that pertains to you. Otherwise the slightest word or action directed against you or your interests will move you to anger.

The more you are inclined to this vice the more persevering you should be in the practice of patience.

Accustom yourself, as far as you can, calmly to face the contradictions and disappointments you are likely to encounter, and their effect upon you will thus be greatly diminished.

Make a firm resolution never to speak or act under the influence of anger, nor to heed any suggestions, however plausible, which your heart may urge at such moments.

Never act until your anger has subsided, or until you have once or twice repeated the Our Father or some other prayer.

Plutarch tells of a wise man who, on taking leave of a monarch, advised him never to speak or act in anger, but to wait until he had repeated to himself the letters of the alphabet. Learn a lesson from this, and avoid the evil consequences of acting from the impulse of anger.

Though there is no time more unfavorable for action, yet there is no time in which we feel ourselves more strongly impelled to act than when in anger.

This is an additional reason for opposing with all our strength the suggestions of this passion. For as a man intoxicated with wine is incapable of acting according to reason, and afterwards repents of what he has done in such a condition, so a man beside himself with passion, intoxicated with anger, is incapable of any action of which he will not repent in his calmer moments.

Anger, wine, and sensuality are evil counsellors. “Wine and women,” says Solomon, “make wise men fall off.” [Ecclus. xix. 2.] By wine he means not only the liquor which stupefies the intellect, but all violent passion which blinds the judgment.

Bear in mind also that you are held responsible for sins committed in such a state.

Another very salutary remedy is to turn your thoughts to other things when excited to anger, and to endeavor to banish from your mind the subject which irritates you; for if you take away the fuel of a fire the flame soon expires.

Endeavor also to love him with whom you are forced to be forbearing, for patience which is not accompanied with love, being only exterior, is often changed into hatred.

Hence, when the Apostle tells us that charity is patient, he immediately adds that it is kind; [1 Cor. xiii. 4.] for true charity loves those whom it patiently endures.

Finally, if you have excited the anger of your neighbor, quietly withdraw until his passion has subsided, or at least answer him with mildness, for “a mild answer breaketh wrath.” [Prov. xv. 1.]

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