I have a temper. Not to pretty and I’ve noticed that one of the common themes among the Saints is tranquility of temperament. You know the peace that surpasses understanding. My confessor has mentioned St. Jerome a couple of times, apparently he was a hot head too, “and he made it to heaven,” he tells me. So what’s a gal to do?
As I’ve grown in the faith I’ve come to at least have the desire to keep my temper. I’ve come to recognize the triggers that incline me to lose my temper. I have the desire to grow in the virtues and control my inclination to the sin of anger, one of the seven cardinal sins and I’m told even a violation of the 5th commandment against murder. Oh man. So you mean that (hypothetically speaking) if I get ticked off and swear like a construction worker (if I knew any such language) I would be placing my soul in mortal danger, offending God, potentially violating another human being and generally fouling the landscape of humanity. OH THIS IS NOT GOOD!! The problem here is leaping from the realm of hypothetical to the arena of the practical in terms of the exercise of the virtues. It’s all fun and games until someone desperately deserves (at least from my perspective) to have the snot pounded out of them (verbally speaking).
I am well aware of the difficulties with this last sentence. I’m well aware of the fact that to even consider that someone’s got it coming is to elevate myself to a position reserved for God alone. I’m well aware that another’s bad behavior does not give me license to add to the mix. I’m well aware of the beatitudes, and the aforementioned saintly tranquility of temperament. It’s the practical application in context of an inclination toward sin that’s so very difficult. So what IS a gal to do?
I’ve daydreamed that perhaps a life of gardening and crafts might do the trick, but God has not yet allowed me to retire to such a life of leisure, and this morning I got a flash of clarity as to why that might be. Uh, God loves me. He really does want me to exercise my tiny little virtue muscles until they become strong. He wants to give me ample opportunity to grow in humility and in his grace until I can avoid the temptation to sin in anger. He in his providence will continue to orchestrate my world to allow me to grow in him, to help me recognize the near occasions to sin in anger and to follow Adoro's advise to call in an air strike to help me in my weakness. He gave me just such an opportunity yet again today.
I did not get into a tussle with the client who wants to stiff us for several thousand dollars. No I calmly outlined his options and presented him with a change order for each one.
I’m looking forward to seeing how this strategy works out, and in the mean time I’m off to confession tomorrow to apologize to God for the times since my last confession that I’ve fallen short of the mark, to seek an outpouring of his Grace to help me, to carry me along my way, and to make straight my path to heaven.
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven, and the pains of hell; but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.