I had a conversation with a priest friend about my struggles with anger. I shared with Fr. R on the phone that I've struggled with my temper my whole life - having a short fuse, and even though I would have a constant prayer life, I would still struggle with controlling my temper. In fact, I've been known to lose my temper while praying - sad but true. I asked him his thoughts on how to get through this. Here is what he talked about.
The opposing virtue of the vice of wrath/anger is meekness. Now there is two kinds of virtue - infused virtue and acquired virtue. Infused virtue is given to us in baptism and the sacraments. Acquired virtue is the concrete practice of virtue. He told me that I have infused virtue because of my baptism and participation in the other sacraments, but I still need to practice the virtue of meekness to acquire that virtue. This is particular why, even though I would pray, this temptation to anger wasn't just taken away. I still needed to practice self-discipline.
This is where the importance of practicing mortification for your faith comes in - self denial, fasting, etc.; because meekness is under the cardinal virtue oftemperance. Temperance is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, under the gift of fear of the Lord.
God is always looking upon us and what we are doing. Instead of "fear of the Lord" in a sense of running away in fear; we should have the fear of losing Our Savior that makes us run toward Him.
My thoughts then the next day on Joel 2:12-18
If God Himself is slow to anger and rich in kindness, then why do I lose my temper so easily? I need to emulate/conform myself more closely to our Heavenly Father. If God doesn't reprimand in anger, then I should not. My heart should be "stirred to concern", it should be moved into action, in love and in pity. May I pray when angry "Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner."
Anyway, I hope that this could be useful to others who struggle with anger. I hope I explained well enough what Fr. R was talking about. I am looking at Lent as an opportunity to get trained in self-discipline in the virtue of meekness.
My thoughts on 2-24 on Luke 5:27-32/Lenten Magnificat/and Total Consecration prayers
"Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do." But Jesus isn't saying that the sick shouldn't try to get well. He isn't saying that sinners shouldn't try to stop sinning. "We must always strive for virtue." (Lenten Magnificat)
I must still strive for the acquired virtues, especially of meekness. I don't get a pass just because this is a life long sin. I am in training for battle. But, "It is good counsel that, when you have conceived the spirit of fervor, you should meditate how it will be when that light shall be withdrawn." When it gets tough to keep my temper in check, when I am tired or hungry - all my training goes out the window. How can I remember my training when those things happen? They will happen, no matter how much I try to minimize them.
Yesterday, I had this happen and lost my temper with the kids, and though I recovered faster than before I started training, I still lost it. Thankfully, I have this Lent to continue my training.