The Sin of Anger
and the Pedigree of our Malice
Wrath is one of the Seven Deadly Sins
sins that, consequent to them, engender other sins.
Fundamentally, the sin of Anger is a rebellion against God.
It occurs when our will
is frustrated and does not attain to its end. It is the disordered
will inasmuch as it understands the self, and not God, as the end
of a proposed or desired state of affairs. The fulfillment of the will
of God is the greatest good possible for the human soul, which is to
say that God is properly the end of all willing in man. Wrath is the
violent rejection of God's will in preference to the unrestrained will
of the self apart from God. Indeed, the expression of wrath or anger
is the most explicit denial of the sovereignty of God over all things
at all times. It is the preference of one's own will to the will of
God, which, as we have said, is the greatest good possible. The human
will that is one with the will of God is the attainment of holiness.
It is union with God, and as such, the perfection of the soul.
It is the speculum Dei, the perfect reflection of God in Whose
image man is not just fundamentally, but in the Order of Being, ontologically
In all things we must discern the will of God — and do it. If it coincides
with our own desires, that is an indication of the soul's progress to
union with God. If it does not, and we repudiate our own will in preference
(and obedience) to the will of God, that is even greater progress to
union with God.
Once we come to understand that nothing — absolutely nothing — that
touches upon us, happens to us, afflicts us or consoles us, occurs except
that God either wills it or permits it for our good, however remote
our apprehension of it, however implausible, or even impossible the
consequences may appear to us. It is not within the provenance of man
to see, let alone comprehend, that infinite reticulation of the fabric
of the universe, at the intersections of which we would find the will
of God intelligibly impressed.
In the physical sciences
today we often hear of things measured in terms of nanometers (1/1-billionth
of a meter). 2-billion-600-million (2,600,000,000) transistors are,
as of this writing, on Intel's 10-Core Xeon Westmere-EX microprocessor
using a 32-nanometer manufacturing process. This is the mind of man,
the design of mere man. The relationship of one single transistor to
the 2 billion-600-million others, wherever their placement in the array,
is such that the whole depends on the one and the one on the whole.
We nod our heads in agreement and are amazed at the staggering numbers
involved and the sophisticated technology together with the intelligent
design that coordinated all 2 billion-600-million transistors to a purposeful
end. And yet we are skeptical that God orders all things,
however remote our understanding of them, however utterly inaccessible,
even impossible to our comprehension — to a good and coherent end because
we cannot perceive it in the moment ... or even in a lifetime?
Were you to count up to 2 billion-600-million, by the second around
the clock, it would take you over 82 years — which, according to actuarial
tables, exceeds the anticipated lifetime of any man or woman — and all
this on a man-made microprocessor less than the size of your thumbnail.
The material universe is a nearly infinite reticulation woven by God
and multiplied exponentially by time through what was, is, and will
be. It is ordered as God wills — not as we will.
Anger, then, is a rebellion against the will of God which
is always consummately good. It has no lasting place in the heart of
a Catholic. Irascibility (the predisposition or susceptibility to anger)
as one of the Capital or Deadly Sins, is indeed the progenitor of other
sins and other evils. It presumes to know the good with greater perspicacity
than God and as such is latently a claim to superiority over God.
The Aftermath of Anger
Anger is the father
of mayhem and murder. It was so from the beginning: through anger Cain
rose up and slew Abel. It is expressed in impatience, pride (as the
absence of humility) and selfishness. It is the violent frustration
with a world that is not amenable to the selfish will, and in this sense
it would be the "creator" of the world around it, a world in perfect
conformity to its own will. In this sense it is the inclination to usurp
the creative order of God. Instead of bending the will to God, it attempts
to bend the world to itself — and God with it.
Anger expresses itself
in destruction — of relationships, communities, even nations. It descends
to depth of demonic rage. Hell, I am convinced, is infinitely more than
the loss of all hope. It is the unremitting experience of eternal anger
culminating in violent, unrelenting rage; rage against God, and all
who are, and all that is. The contorted, frightening, and ugly face
of anger is the baleful image of the demonic, a harbinger of things
to come for those who do not submit themselves to God, like the father
of lies and murder who in the primordial beginning first set his will
Let it not be said of us,
"You are of your father the devil .... he was a murderer from the
beginning, and ... a liar, and the father thereof."
(St. John 8.44)
Anger — stamp it out within yourself, and give it no quarter.
Like Saint Stephen, the first Martyr for Christ and His Church, let
your countenance be as the
"face of an angel"
(Acts 6.15) even
amid your tormentors — and not the menacing face of the demons.
Choose then, whom you will be like ... and where, as a consequence,
you are likely to go.
Boston Catholic Journal
Reply by a Poor Clare Nun:
I think you could do a Part II, addressing the notion of righteous
anger. Injustice, cruelty, etc. can provoke anger, very passionate anger
in fact, and this type of anger can be channeled for good. There are
some situations in life that, without a degree of anger, nothing would
change or be rectified and one would be impotent to do anything.
The type of anger you are referring to is that unbridled anger
which is always a sister to self-righteousness.
And as it says in our Holy Rule, anger impedes the work of the Holy
Spirit. How true that is: an angry person is never listening to anyone
14 Jul 2012
It is forthcoming, dear Sister; especially concerning the righteous
anger of God, a much neglected and, in prevailing liberal neo-theological
schools (which is to say, virtual all present Catholic institutions
of learning), an "incorrect" and deeply misunderstood attribute of God
that is something of an archaic solecism, an embarrassment. That this
remarkably convenient theology does not concur with Sacred Scripture,
the Patristic Fathers, and Sacred Tradition, is apparently of little
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