Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘anger’


Job 19Suffering and Rejoicing Well

Friday, March 31, 2017

A Favorite from March 25, 2009.

The Book of Job is the first in the wisdom portion of scripture and it is one of my favorites.  I like the honesty and persistence with which this innocent man speaks.  He has been wronged by Satan, yet retains faith and hope in God.  He asks the questions we all ask; he makes the observations we all make: why do the wicked seem to skate through life without suffering, and why do the innocent suffer?  Each of us has endured hardship as Job does at one time or another; and for this reason his words are so valuable.  Job sinks into the lowest of depths with his despair; yet he soars with great hope and divine love.  This is the gift of his story . . . that he both suffers and rejoices well.

How long will you vex my soul?  At times the suffering is too great, too heavy.

I cry for help; there is no redress.  In our own lives, and in the lives of others, there are moments that ask too much of human strength and endurance.

My brethren have withdrawn from me, and my friends are wholly estranged.  At times we are utterly alone, with no sheltering place, no healing balm.

All my intimate friends hold me in horror; those whom I love have turned against me!  In the human experience, there is no greater punishment than isolation.

Why do you hound me as though you were divine, and insatiably prey on me?  At times we are so low that we descend into pits we did not know existed . . . and this is when we know that something new is arriving.

But as for me, I know that my Vindicator lives, and that he will at last stand forth upon the dust; whom I myself shall see: my own eyes, not another’s shall behold him.  Job understands that it is impossible for us to comprehend the depth, the width, the height or the timelessness of God.  Job – although not content with the mystery of his innocent suffering – accepts that from where he stands he cannot see or know the limitlessness of God or the complexity of his plan.  Job reminds us that each of us suffers.  Each of us stands accused at times when we are innocent.  Since this is so . . . the rest of his story is also true . . . we will be vindicated.

From today’s MAGNIFICAT Meditation about the Blessed Mother and her willingness to suffer as an innocent for the good of God’s economy: She neither regretted the past nor wished for the future – she accepted wholeheartedly the magnificent present.  She had found one beautiful pearl, and all she had she gave in order to buy it.  (Mother Marie des Douleurs)

So let us follow the example of Job and the example of Mary.  They understood that they, by entering into the mystery of suffering, were sharing in a sacred gift offered by the God who loves us so much . . . that he offers us his own divinity

Let us enter into today without looking back in anger or looking forward in despair.

Let us gather all that we have and all that we are to make this one purchase, the gift of transformative union where, through suffering, we enter into the world of God’s joy.

Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 25.3 (2009). Print.  A wonderful resource to suffer well is Marlena Graves’ book, A Beautiful Disaster: Finding Hope in the Midst of Brokenness. For more information, click on the book image. 

Or visit the site A Field Guide for Suffering by clicking on the images above.

Read Full Post »


Luke 7:36-50: A Prayer for Throwing Stones

Sunday, July 31, 2016Defenseless under the night

When we read this familiar story with new eyes, we see Jesus once again teach the Pharisees about how to handle the anger they feel when they want to throw stones. His capacity to forgive amazed those who saw him at work and made the Pharisees uneasy.

The others sitting at the table began to say to themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?”

Jesus continues in his compassionate Way, calling others to follow.

But Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

And so today we pray for ourselves and others in the moment when we want to throw stones in anger or fear.

Merciful and forgiving God, we need the strength of your faith to sustain us through our anxiety and alarm. Abide with us in the journey of Jesus’ Way.

Compassionate and guiding God, we need the joy of your hope to nourish us through our pain and suffering. Abide with us in the pilgrimage of our lives.

Healing and transforming God, we need the consolation of your love to carry us beyond all distrust and doubt. Abide with us in the mystery of your Spirit. 

We ask this in your name. Amen.

Eleanor Roosevelt in her youth

Eleanor Roosevelt in her youth

As we consider the fear that has a way of settling into our lives with or without our noticing, we might find this interview with historian and political scientist Matthew Dallek interesting. He is interviewed by guest host Derek McGinty on the July 26 edition of the Diane Rehm show. Dallek’s book Defenseless under the Night: The Roosevelt Years and the Origins of Homeland Security explores the evolution of the response to fear that we see in the U.S. public today. Listening to this interview may give us a new perspective on our desire to throw stones. Visit: https://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2016-07-26/matthew-dallek-defenseless-under-the-night

To learn more about Eleanor Roosevelt, visit: http://www.firstladies.org/biographies/firstladies.aspx?biography=33 or http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/biography/eleanor-biography/

Read Full Post »


John 8:1-11: Throwing Stones – Part III

Friday, July 29, 2016take on hate

What tax or tithe do we surrender when we give in to the temptation to throw stones? 

Hate crimes. What are they? How do they affect us? Why does society worry about hate that flourishes among us to stalks the innocent?

Swarms of people came to Jesus. He sat down and taught them.

Societies might ignore the hate that simmers beneath the surface or they may ignore the anger that erupts into the open. They may even covertly or overtly encourage division for whatever reason governs their thinking.

The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone.

Crimes that spring from hatred of “the other” also spring from the teaching that we must divide and categorize ourselves, and that some of us deserve more and less than others for reasons laid out by a controlling few.

They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him. “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” 

With hatred, a majority often dictates to a minority. Often the crime of hatred is nurtured by harbored thoughts of inadequacy and/or resentment. With hatred, we must take our division to Christ to ask for healing.

Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. 

At times we are the condemned woman, at times we are the hypocritical accusers, at times we are innocent victims of the unjust. In all cases we must respond as Jesus responds: Does no one condemn you? Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.

Throwing stones is a dangerous temptation. Throwing stones puts us in ambiguous positions. Throwing stones nurtures division and does not encourage understanding or inclusion. Today we reflect on the problem of hate crimes as we determine to pray and work for an end to this violence.

For information on hate crimes visit the United States National Crime Prevention Council site at: http://www.ncpc.org/topics/hate-crime  or to understand what action we might take to take on the hatred among us, click on the image or visit: https://www.accesscommunity.org/news/community-stories/2015/02/18/hate-crimes-are-rise-what-can-we-do-takeonhate

 

Read Full Post »


Ephesians 4:25-32: A Clean Break

Wednesday, April 20, 2016break-bad-habit

Friends advise us: Just make a clean break. Go cold turkey. Say no. Walk away. These words are easily heard and just as easily ignored for it is so difficult to break away from habits that feel so comfortable and people who are so predictable . . . despite the fact that these people and circumstances bring us pain. We listen – as did the Ephesians – to Paul’s advice. From THE MESSAGE:

No more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.

We tell ourselves to remain calm, to go with the flow. Paul has other words for us.

Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life

We convince ourselves that we harm no one if we remain in a dishonest relationship. Paul tells us differently.

Did you used to make ends meet by stealing? Well, no more! Get an honest job so that you can help others who can’t work.

We say to one another that our anger is justified. Paul reminds us that there is another way.

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.

We believe that we are disconnected, abandoned, neglected or forgotten. Paul tells us otherwise.

holy spirit dove in flightDon’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.

In the end, Paul tells us, a clean break is better than a rotting connection.

Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.

 When we compare this translation with others, we find new meaning in old words.

Tomorrow, God’s shepherding love. 

Read Full Post »

Matthew 5:20-25: Murder


Matthew 5:20-25: Murder

Thursday, February 18, 2016ANGER

Murder is more than a snuffing out of life, it is the destruction of a hope for potential. Today Jesus tells us that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Jesus cautions us to take care with our words: Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.

Our actions, words and thoughts have the power to bring death or life, so what is the advice that Jesus sends us along with his caution? This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God. We cannot make peace with God if we do not make peace with our fellow human beings. We cannot become a full and positive member of the kingdom as long as we abuse our mother planet. We cannot hope to find the peace we claim to seek . . . when we hurl words that murder.

Today we reflect on the power of our words and we place hope in the power of our Lenten practice to transform us as we pray: Rather than thinking: “I am misunderstood,” let us think instead, “God is so understanding”.

Tomorrow, knocking on the door. 

 

 

Read Full Post »


James 3:13-4:10: Envy

Friday, November 13, 2015envy

“Within this call to conversion, James develops the theme of envy as exemplifying the measure of the world . . . Why is envy so singled out? Because its underlying assumption is that your gain is my loss. This is the opposite of the Spirit of the community, where all gain by anyone’s growth and all rejoice in anyone’s good fortune. Envy causes me to sorrow when another has something I lack. And when life is measured simply in terms of what I possess – ‘I am what I have’ – then for another to have and me to lack is intolerable. Envy drives the acquisitive instinct . . . the step is a short one to conflict, war, and murder, not only between individuals but also between nations . . . It is remarkable that this passage, which alone in the New Testament analyzes the causes of human conflict, should play so little role in moral discussions of war and peace”. (RG 551-552)

God says: James is correct when he tells you that envy is often at the root of your violence and anger. He is also correct when he points out that life in the Spirit means that you feel joy when one of you rejoices and sadness when one of you is in pain. Your friendship with me brings much than consolation; it brings you the ability to see the world as I see it, full of potential for goodness. I resist those who are full of pride in themselves and I nurture those who look for life in me. When you agree to live in The Way you will no longer be envious of others and you will celebrate when any one of you does well because you will understand that all good things come from me. When you are envious of others I am saddened, for your envy tells me that you do not understand my generosity. When you make war against one another I grieve,  for I can see that you do not understand my love. James is bringing my message to you . . . take time with it today.

Enter the word envy into the blog search bar and explore.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.RG 551-552. Print.

Read Full Post »


James 1:19-21: God’s Garden of Love

Saturday, October 3, 2015garden of love

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends . . . 

What news does James have for us today and how do we proclaim that news to others? How do we see God’s wisdom?

Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear.

Wisdom is found in listening more than we speak, in loving more than we despise.

God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger.

God’s wisdom is not found in antagonism.

So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage.

God’s truth cannot flow from false virtue or from thoughts that want to hide the light.

In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.

God does not live in pride but in the humble belief that we are all flowers in God’s garden of love.

When we compare these verses with other scripture versions we have the opportunity to imagine what sort of flower we might be. Do we prefer shade or sun? Do we grow best in damp soil or dry?  What color bedecks our blossoms? And what good nectar do we produce for the good of the kingdom?

Tomorrow, the importance of doing the word.

Read Full Post »


2 Corinthians 9: God’s Indescribable GiftGenerosity_Header

Monday, July 13, 2015

Consider this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

These are St. Paul’s words in today’s reading and we come upon them as we continue to reflect on the mysteries of our relationship with God, and the paradoxical nature of sowing and reaping. Paul writes about service to the holy ones in reference to the collection he has taken up in his far-flung churches, a gathering of funds that will go to the church in Jerusalem to sustain its work and ministers. Today Paul calls us to consider the joy we reap when we serve others, reminding us that the reward is great when our generosity is great.

You are being enriched in every way for all generosity, which through us produces thanksgiving to God.

A number of years ago I shared a portion of a poem by Philip Appleman with the Noontime Circle entitled Birthday Card for my Mother. It had been sent to me as part of a birthday greeting from my own daughter at a time my resources were low. Appleman’s words amplify Paul’s when we realize that it is in the very act of giving that we ward off bitterness and anger. It is through the act of giving that we find sustenance, new energy and grace.

You have survived it all,

come through wreckage and triumph hard

at the center but spreading

gentleness around you – nowhere

by your bright hearth has the dust

of bitterness lain unswept;

today, thinking back, thinking ahead

to other birthdays, I lean upon your courage

and sign this card as always,

with love . . .

As we give to others we find that it is we ourselves who are immensely enriched, and that we can in turn pass this blessing on to others. As we give to others we find that bitterness and anger melt away, and that joy and peace arrive in their stead. Let us consider this gift of harvesting as we say with Paul: Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Consider surprising a friend or family member who needs encouragement and send Appleman’s on to them. We need not wait for a birthday to celebrate God’s indescribable gift of generosity.

Adapted from a reflection written on December 9, 2007.

philpapplemanFind a Philip Appleman bio at: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/philip-appleman

For a full version of the poem click on the image to the left.

Philip Appleman, NEW AND SELECTED POEMS (1956-1996), University of Arkansas Press, 1996. 107-108. Print.

Read Full Post »


Psalm 21: Assertiontell the storm

March 16, 2015

Life’s problems are too complicated for us to unravel, our enemies are too numerous to number and as an answer to our frequent question asking God what are to do, we might read, reflect on and pray Psalm 21. This song teaches us how we might assert ourselves in the following loving ways – – – we petition God with our woes and worries, we give thanks where we are able, we do what we can, we watch and wait on the Lord . . . and we sing words of praise to our God . . . Arise, Lord in your power!  We will sing and chant the praise of your might. 

In praying this psalm, we express our assurance that God will deliver us, and we remind ourselves that we are not in control of outcomes, nor do we know how any particular outcome will domino through our individual and communal lives.  What we do know when we pray this psalm is this: God will not abandon the faithful, and eventually – and under God’s direction – our enemies will come to understand how their actions have harmed others.  Fr. Paul Coutinho writes of this when he describes how anger can take hold of us in his book, HOW BIG IS YOUR GOD?

Anger is a ridiculous emotion.  Think about it.  The people I am angriest with are usually having a good time.  They seem to be blessed more and more by life.  I believe that God will punish them eventually, but their lives only get better.  I try to convince myself that that God is taking them high up in life only so that they may have a great fall.  And yet nothing like this ever happens.  The only one who suffers from my anger is me.  Additionally, I become more ridiculous in my anger.  I think about this person I am angry at when I wake up, and I feel his or her presence at the breakfast table.  I leave my breakfast unfinished and rush off to my workplace, and this person’s presence, my angry idea of him or her, follows me there.  I may inflict this angry feeling onto my co-workers or even my friends or clients.  If I decide to go to the movies that evening, I find that person I am angry with sitting right next to me, and half the movie is over and I have not been able to follow the story.  And then, of course, I bring this person to bed with me, and I toss and turn the whole night, feeling his or her presence in my own bed.  See how ridiculous anger is?  And maybe, just maybe, the thing I am most upset about in another is something I have not reconciled within myself.  (Coutinho 136-137)

Fr. Coutinho suggests that there is an alternative to anger.  We might pause, reflect and respond.  And our response can be one of love for the other.  Coutinho recommends that we love a person to goodness, or – as my mother always said – we kill them with kindness This kind of assertive behavior leaves the doors of communication open, offers an alternative to anger, and might also help preserve friendships or even develop new ones.  (Coutinho 138) This thinking reminds me of the advice my father always gave us – we do what we are supposed to do, and then we step back and let God worry about the other guy. 

coutinho Big is GodIn today’s Noontime, the psalmist puts human anger into God’s hands and decides to watch the outcome, imagining God exacting a just punishment.  Today we decide to go beyond this thinking to pray this psalm with a new assertion. An assertion that directs us to place the intricacies of our problems where they rightly belong . . . in God’s able hands.

Adapted from a reflection written on February 15, 2010.

As a Lenten activity, watch Paul Coutinho, S.J. for a positive, humorous, uplifting view about God and anger at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozevDJf9q9U

Fr. Paul Coutinho, HOW BIG IS YOUR GOD? Loyola Press, 2010.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: