29th July


Be angry, but do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger. Ephesians 4:6

Anger is the most fierce passion. It is a boiling and a stirring up of wrath against one who has caused injury – or is thought to have done so. It constantly irritates the soul and above all at the time of prayer it seizes the mind and flashes the picture of the offensive person before one’s eyes.

A restless brother in a desert community frequently became angry with his brothers. So he thought to himself: ‘I’ll go and live in a place of solitude; once I won’t have to speak to or listen to anyone I shall be at peace and the anger thing will disappear’. So he went to live alone in a cave. One day he filled a jug with water for himself, and placed it on the floor. It suddenly overturned. He filled it a second time and the same thing happened, as it did a third time. His anger flared up and he smashed the jug in rage.

Later, when he came to himself, he realised he had been subverted by the spirit of anger, and that he had no one to blame. ‘Here am I alone’, he said to himself, ‘and despite this the spirit of anger has conquered me. I shall return to the community, for in every place there is need for struggle, for patient perseverance, and above all, for the help of God’. So he returned to his community.
Desert Sayings

A love that cannot find an outlet turns inward, and not being able to reach out and touch the thing it loves, be it a place or a people in that place, turns to anger and becomes confused.
Brian Keenan An Evil Cradling

The Desert Fathers and Mothers did not focus on who is to blame for the passions that bind us. They knew that there are wounds within us that destroy our own and other lives. Our task, they thought, was to fight against the passions, and to seek healing with the help of God and each other in order to be able to love as we were made to love.

Help me conquer anger by gentleness,
Greed by generosity.
Apathy by fervour