Week 29 | Disciples Together on the Way w/ Bishop Boyea | July 24 to July 30 | The Virtues | Overcoming the Deadly Sin of Anger

Dear Sisters and Brothers in the Lord,

Have you ever heard somebody deploy the maxim that "There is nothing new under the sun"? Or opine that "To everything there is a season"? Or suggest that in this life we should "Eat, drink, and be merry"? All these well-worn aphorisms are drawn from the Book of Ecclesiastes. A lesser known but equally arresting and relevant phrase, though, is found in Chapter 7 of that great Old Testament book of wisdom: "Do not be quick to anger, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools."

These days it seems many people are quick to lose their tempers and respond impatiently with others. Indeed, many seem to feel it a right to rage at opponents regarding whatever issues they have latched on to or offenders of whatever bothers them. With recent studies claiming that many people are under more stress than in prior decades, as well as increased levels of anxiety due to multiple factors, it comes as no surprise that many of us are firecrackers waiting to go off. If we are honest, we know that we all have certain things that may trigger impatience and cause us to lose our peace. So why is anger so deadly? And how do we quell our anger with the virtue of patience? Stay tuned.

The Church has much to say about the virtue of patience. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, patience is listed as one of the twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit. “The fruits of the Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. The tradition of the Church lists twelve of them: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity." (C.C.C. 1832)

We’ve all heard that, “patience is a virtue!” In the Catechism, the Fruits of the Holy Spirit are listed under the section on virtues. The reason for this is because “a virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. The virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions.” (C.C.C. 1803)

We are called to grow in virtue, and thus in patience. This takes work. It takes repetition and discipline. If we are finding ourselves more impatient than normal, we will want to call on the Holy Spirit for help and then to practice being patient in those moments. We can tell whether we are living in union with the Holy Spirit when we can see the fruits of the Spirit active in our lives. When we see the opposite, we know we have work to do.

Hence, our challenge this week is to reflect on times when we regularly lose our patience. Each day as part of our daily prayer and throughout the day, let us be attuned to what causes us to become impatient.

Once we are able to recognize what causes us to be impatient, we can pray about ways to increase patience.  This may include help to avoid those situations when we know that our patience is driven to the limits.  In addition, the scriptures are a great place to start as we pray for patience.

Here are some scripture passages that may help!

"Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly." Proverbs 14:29

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2

May almighty God bless you…In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.  

Yours in Christ,
+ Earl Boyea
Bishop of Lansing