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From the archives:


There was the disquiet of August and now there is September and over the U.S. -- over many places -- hovers the "spirit of anger."

Don't let this spirit harbor in your soul.

It will try to. It is spreading everywhere.

Many are angry. There is shouting on television, on the internet, at the workplace, in Congress, on the radio, in newspapers, in religious circles, and at dinner tables -- where debates rip at the fabric of families.

Everyone is outraged and one can see the need for concern but Christians are not to subject themselves to the anger of the times because often it is also the spirit of the world and the spirit of hate.

No Christian hates. There is righteous indignation. There is not righteous hatred.

Why is America so angry? asks one headline. There are many reasons for it and it is not useful to wade into political debates but we can note that there is a feeling by many that the nation has gotten away from them and will not return to what it was and it is useful to know that anger comes sometimes from guilt: for years, for decades, Americans have been too busy to care about abortion or pornography or scandalous education or genetic manipulation or "gay" persuasions or corporate and financial misdeeds or chemical taint -- too busy in their own little worlds to protest at abortion mills or movie studios or banks -- and now, before their eyes, the country is changing.

There is guilt behind the spirit of anger and also fear and a lack of love, for Scripture tells us that perfect love casts out all fear, and there is fear all around us.

Everyone is tearing everyone down. Crude and profane language dominates our dialogue.

Flee from it. Rebuke anger, ridicule, mockery, and insult every place you encounter it; let it not draw you into its orbit; let it not enter your spirit. It is dangerous.

Note that the very word "danger" has "anger" in it.

"Do not associate with a man given to anger," warns Proverbs 22:24.

"He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly," says Proverbs 14:29.

"He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city," states Proverbs 16:32.

Anger begets evil. It attracts it. It binds us. It blinds us. It accomplishes nothing. It defeats a cause -- often a righteous one. It drains. It causes disease.  Anger is intense like lust or jealousy or addiction under the general spirit of passion which rots the flesh.

Fear begets evil because fear is faith in the devil when we know with Christ and love we can overcome anything.

It isn't manly or womanly to live in rage. Yet there is the great cloud of it that hovers far and low like a miasma or cumulus taking water up into its dark underbelly and there is the promise of lightning and thunder unless this darkness is cast out -- literally prayed out of our spirits.

If you can't find tranquility, it may be that a spirit of anger is blocking peace. Let go of anger and feel the release.

The Age of Rage. There was the hippies movement. There was the Me Generation. Now we have turned a different corner and must be careful that legitimate concerns as there indeed are legitimate concerns have no root in lack of faith or simple politics or economics or commentators who make much money from it.

Jesus threw moneychangers out of the temple (a display of indignation) but His ministry was summed up the night before He was killed when He stopped a disciple from further injuring an enemy soldier and in fact healed the ear of the soldier and then rose above it all -- resurrected.

To full power.

In God's favor.

Ask yourself what the fruit of anger has been in your life.

Ask yourself where it goes.

Do you have peace?

Fear goes back to a lacking in the Garden while anger goes back to Cain.

"Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; and their wrath, for it is cruel. I will disperse them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel," says Genesis 49:7.

"For anger slays the foolish man," says Job 5:2.

"The godless in heart lay up anger," adds Job 36:13.

It is criticality. It is mocking. It is believing the worst without investigating. Anger is constantly besmirching those with whom we disagree. Does it do our spirits good when we send around demeaning jokes or criticize a cardinal or the Pope or hope for a politician's death or immerse ourselves in the darkest speculation and even racism?

"Scorners set a city aflame, but wise men turn away anger," says Proverbs 29:8.

"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice," instructs Ephesians 4:31.

St. Francis warned against harsh language. Note how the Vatican avoids it. So did the saints.

Anger is the privilege of God alone.

Will it boil over into uprisings, into the dissolution of national unity, into a "civil war," into assassination?

Do we follow the Pope or talk-show hosts of whatever political inclination?

Hatred abounds on all sides.

"The anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God," says James 1:20.

A danger -- to our very souls.

For as Galatians 5 warns: "Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."

We can ignore that but to do so is to ignore the New Testament; it is also -- if we believe the Bible -- to gamble with eternity.

[resources: Supernatural Joy and The God of Miracles]

[see also: Gregorian chant and Cultivate detachment and humility, says Pope]

[Resources: Michael H. Brown, retreat Minnesota and Retreat and Mass in New Jersey]

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