Skip to main content

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

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Building Coherence and Unity of Life

Christ cannot stop being who He is as he walks around the land, sleeps in the boat, has dinner with friends, preaches to the multitudes or performs miracles. Similarly a Christian cannot stop being Christian in all aspects of life, including secular activities. I copy from St. Josemaria Escriva in The Way, n. 353: “Nonsectarianism. Neutrality. Old myths that always try to seem new. Have you ever stopped to think how absurd it is to leave one's Catholicism aside on entering a university, a professional association, a cultural society, or Parliament, like a man leaving his hat at the door?” 


St. Josemaría is not inviting us to make a show of our Catholicism, or to act in a way that is not compatible with our reality as lay members of the Church. What he wants is that each of us, in our particular circumstances, consider carefully the external and clear demands of unity of life in our work and social life. It takes courage (which can be considerable, given the circumstances of the tim…

A Life of Prayer Centered on the Holy Mass

On November 15, 2017, Pope Francis addressed the crowd gathered for the weekly audience and explained that to illustrate the beauty of the Eucharistic celebration, he wanted to begin with a very simple aspect and said  Mass is prayer; rather, it is prayer par excellence, the loftiest, the most sublime, and at the same time the most 'concrete.' In fact it is the loving encounter with God through his Word and the Body and Blood of Jesus. It is an encounter with the Lord.To understand better what Pope Francis meant, we need to consider first what prayer is. First of all, prayer is a dialogue, a personal relationship with God. Man was created as a being in a personal relationship with God who finds his complete fulfillment only in the encounter with his Creator. The path of life leads toward the definitive encounter with the Lord.
Pope Francis went on to say that “praying, as every true dialogue, is also knowing how to be in silence — in dialogues there are moments of silence — in s…

Saint Stalkers Revisited

On October 1, the Church celebrates the feast day of one of my favorite saints, St. Therese of Lisieux. A little over a year ago, I wrote a reflection on our original blog space about St. Therese as one of my personal saint stalkers. In the spirit of celebrating her feast day tomorrow, I thought it might be a good time to revisit and update the post. The original post is reproduced in its entirety below. --Have you ever had a saint stalker? A member of the recognized communion of saints who just keeps popping up in your life? You probably have -- you just might not have noticed it. I think I’ve had a few saint stalkers in my day, but the one who is currently trying to get my attention and help save my soul is none other than St. Therese of Lisieux. She’s been hard at work with me for nearly 4 years now. Yes, you read that correctly: Four. Long. Years. (Edit: Since this was written in 2016, it's been 5 years now.)

When did I first realize that St. Therese was saint stalking me? It’…