Irascible Passions – Part 2 of 2

Father Geiermann concludes his discussion of the irascible passions by elaborating upon anger.

Anger is a feeling of displeasure united to a desire for revenge. When the sensitive appetite is impressed by an evil, it either succumbs to it through sadness, or it turns on the evil and retaliates by anger. Anger is a mixture of hatred of the evil inflicted, of sadness at its reception, and of desire and hope of conquering and punishing it.”

“Anger may be aroused by anything that humbles our self-esteem, wounds our self-love, or thwarts our self-will. It may manifest itself as (1) indignation, which remains under the control of reason and easily subsides; (2) as animosity, which is cherished in the memory for a long time; and (3) as fury, which does not subside until it has taken revenge.”

“To control anger it is above all necessary (1) to practise humility, because pride is always at the bottom of anger; (2) to resist the first impulse to anger; (3) to keep silence when provoked and resolve not to act on the spur of the moment; (4) to remember that often no injury or insult was intended; (5) to consider the example of Jesus; (6) to practise meekness; (7) to think of the injury you do to yourself and the scandal you may give by anger; (8) to combine the motives of reason and faith by keeping silence when angry, by offering the injury to God and suffering it in patience. Then, thank God for the occasion of self-conquest and the victory, and pray for the one who has injured you.” It is written: “Be not quickly angry; for anger resteth in the bosom of a fool” (Eccl 7:10).

Finally, anger is not only an irascible passion of the sensitive appetite; it can easily become a sin, even a capital sin, which can lead to further sins.

Quotations from Peter Geiermann, The Narrow Way (New York: Benziger, 1914).

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