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Anger, Wrath, & W.W.J.D.

The Gospel message we hear in Matthew 18: 21-35 can make me feel uneasy at times. In this passage, we hear of a servant who begs his master for forgiveness for a huge debt and receives it; but when a fellow servant asks forgiveness of a much smaller debt, he refuses mercy and compassion and demands repayment immediately. When the master catches wind of this, he seizes the servant he forgave and has him tortured until he can repay his massive debt, thereby pretty much ruining his life.

Ouch. Reality check!

How often have I obsessed over small things and refused others forgiveness for something that's admittedly petty? Forgiveness does as much, if not more, for us as it does for the one who is forgiven. But it's not the easiest thing to do, especially when offenses are large and are tied to deep emotions.

The Book of Sirach tells us that anger and wrath are hateful things -- things that sinners cling to. And while 'rising above' is definitely not easy, the simple act it suggests - to rise above - should help use see that mercy and compassion are the better, more Godly reactions we could have. In other words, think back to those trendy bracelets that became popular in the 1990s - W.W.J.D. (What would Jesus do?)

When we choose mercy and compassion over anger and wrath, we should feel different. These emotional responses - while they might take some work to elicit - ultimately lead us to feeling lighter, freer, and more joyful. It's easy to fall prey to negativity, to anger, and even to cynicism in our world today. But as Christians, we must strive to follow His example. It's what sets us apart from everyone else!

In a book of reflections by Sister Mary of the Holy Trinity, the nun expressed a mantra of sorts that I have tried to remember, especially when I get frustrated with the world, people, my work, and pretty much anything else. It's this:
Gentleness. Patience. Joy.
Gentleness. Patience. Joy.
Gentleness. Patience. Joy.
By consciously thinking of these three simple words when I'm tempted to lose my cool, I immediately feel relief. Do I always remember them in trying times? No. Absolutely not. Which is why I can attest that when I do remember Sr. Mary's little mantra, it always seems to work. Maybe it can work for you too.

Written by: Mary Catherine Kennedy, Web & Social Media Coordinator


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