The Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost
Today we continue with our little series on the 7 deadly (or capital sins). Today we will consider the sin of anger.
All of us experience feelings of anger from time to time; sometimes often. In animals (including humans) this biological response serves the useful purpose of preservation and protection. Such emotions can be brought on by many different occasions and experiences of danger or hostility; or when we experience or perceive an injury or injustice to have occurred to ourselves or others.
Objectively, anger is not necessarily grievous or sinful. True righteous anger can be justifiable and even morally laudable and virtuous; as when our Lord drove the money changers out of the temple (cf. Mark 11:15). What we do with the emotion / feeling makes all the difference. Of this third deadly or capital sin, St. Thomas Aquinas clearly states that it is “The unreasonable desire for vengeance.”
“Among humans, anger is usually considered as capable of having an ethical rating inasmuch as it can lead to vengeful actions that are disproportionate to the injury suffered or simply unlawful, e.g., murdering a man for an insulting remark. From this point of view an excessive experience of wrath, the misguided discharge of vengeance, or the objectionable damage done in rage to persons or property could result in sins that would be seriously opposed to charity and justice.” (Catholic Encyclopedia)
So much of the goodness God wills us to have in this world is suppressed because too many of His children harbor resentments, grudges, and the desire to get revenge at those who have hurt them. When one allows these thoughts to control them and to plot how they might actually carry out this revenge, they are guilty of the sin of anger. And it will surely destroy the angry person. The sin of anger is spiritually and emotionally blinding and damages our relationship / communication with God and each other.
Forgiveness (and letting go) is the answer. Jesus preached and lived it, again and again. Forgiveness heals relationships and puts the Devil to flight. Forgiveness says, “Let’s interrupt the cycle of violence and hatred; block it, stop it.” Fight anger with forgiveness. That is what Jesus did on the cross. Make real, concrete steps to heal broken relationships. They will not heal by themselves; by ignoring them. Active forgiveness is absolutely necessary.
St. Francis of Paola (1416-1507) gave some very good advice for how we should live in God’s sight:
“Fix your minds, then, on the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Inflamed with love for us, He came down from heaven to redeem us. For our sake He endured every torment of body and soul and shrank from no bodily pain. He gave us an example of perfect patience and love. We, then, are to be patient in adversity.
“Put aside your hatred and animosity. Take pains to refrain from sharp words. If they escape your lips, do not be ashamed to let your lips produce the remedy, since they have caused the wounds. Pardon one another so that later on you will not remember the injury. The recollection of an injury is itself wrong. It adds to our anger, nurtures our sin and hates what is good. It is a rusty arrow and a poison for the soul. It puts all virtue to flight. It is like a worm in the mind: it confuses our speech and tears to shreds our petitions to God. It is foreign to charity: it remains planted in the soul like a nail. It is wickedness that never sleeps, sin that never fails. It is indeed a daily death.
“Be peace-loving. Peace is a precious treasure to be sought with great zeal. You are well aware that our sins arouse God’s anger. You must change your life, therefore, so that God in His mercy will pardon you. What we conceal from men is known to God. Be converted, then, with a sincere heart. Live your life that you may receive the blessing of the Lord. Then the peace of God our Father will be with you always.”
Very often anger will be extinguished when we realistically realize that when we have been offended (wounded pride) by another in 99% of cases it was not deliberate. It was a misunderstanding. Anger leads to arguing which the devil loves. Nothing was ever solved by an argument. It only leads to greater sins. Let our souls be ordered and then everything else in life will fall into place.
MASS OF THANKSGIVING: Today October 23rd there will be a Mass of Thanksgiving on the occasion of my thirty-fifth anniversary of Ordination to the Sacred Priesthood. All of our parishioners are most cordially invited to attend the Mass. There will be a reception for all parishioners, family, and friends in Monsignor Costa Hall after the Mass. Through the kindness of a parishioner, there will be a special surprise treat for the children. This will set a spiritual tone for the celebration later in the week of which I write below. Since this is a parish family celebration there will not be many priests from other parishes. Monsignor James M. McDonald, the Pastor of St. Aidan in Williston Park and former Rector of the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, will be our preacher. Deacon Raymond P. D’Alessio from St. Edward’s in Syosset will be the Deacon of the Mass. This is an occasion for us as a parish family to give thanks to God for all the many blessings that He has given us. It is not the occasion to honor an individual nor is it the occasion to give gifts.
PARISH GALA DINNER/DANCE AND CASINO NIGHT: Please save the date of Friday October 28th. That will be our annual Parish Gala Dinner/Dance and Casino Night. Once again we will have the casino night provided by the M&M Twins (my good friends, Marco and Michael Posillico). This proved to be so enjoyable last year and was a great success. May I ask and invite all parishioners to attend this wonderful evening at the newly refurbished Cottage of the Milleridge Inn. Mr. Butch Yamali, the new owner of the Milleridge Inn, recently invited me to go there to bless this new endeavor. I was accompanied by the Chair of the Gala Mrs. Paula Maturo and by committee member Mrs. Anne Maione. I entered every room of the Inn to bless it and sprinkle the Holy Water in all the shops, and the cottage and carriage house. It is remarkable how this historic inn is being restored to its original splendor. I think many will be amazed at how the Milleridge Inn and the Cottage have changed in its renovation. Just last Friday I once more visited all the buildings of the Inn and Village to bless them and all the employees. I was particularly enthralled by the construction of a wine and tapas bar at the Village with maps of all the wine regions of the world. Mr. Yamali is a good friend to us at St. Paul’s and I would encourage everyone to come that night and to see the refurbished Inn. It is our major fundraiser through the course of the year. You may have noticed that this year I have completed 35 years as a priest. I am very honored that on that evening we will also celebrate these years of priesthood. We do not honor the priest individually, for every priest’s prayer is that of St. John the Baptist, he must increase, but I must decrease. But rather we give thanks to God for the gift of the priesthood which is love at the heart of the Church. I am most grateful to Mrs. Paula Maturo and her committee for all they have done for the success of this wonderful evening.
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda
(Corrigenda: In my article of last week I made reference to the pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. This was a mistake because the pilgrimage had to be canceled due to the first bus company going bankrupt and the second bus company not able to provide the bus. Since these articles are written several weeks in advance, it can be understood how sometimes they may contain errors. My apologies for any confusion that was caused. Nonetheless we thank Mrs. Gina Cinelli for all her efforts on behalf of the pilgrimage. God judges the heart so He will undoubtedly reward all those who signed up for the pilgrimage but were unable to go. We must remember that truth that Everything Happens As God Wants It!)