Chapter VIII
Love is not Prone to Anger


The Crucifixion - by GRÜNEWALD, Matthias - from Musée d'Unterlinden, Colmar
(Click to enlarge)

Art for Grünewald, consisted-in Providing a Sermon in-Pictures; of Proclaiming the Sacred Truths, as taught-by the Church. This Central Panel of the Isenheim Altarpiece, shows that he Sacrificed all other considerations, to this one overriding Aim. Like a Preacher at Passiontide, Grünewald left nothing Undone, to bring Home to us the Horrors-of this Scene-of-Suffering: Christ's Dying Body, is Distorted-by the Torture-of the Cross; the Thorns-of the Scourges, Stick-in the Festering Wounds which Cover the Whole Figure. The Dark Red Blood, forms a glaring contrast-to the Sickly Green of the Flesh. By His Features, and the Impressive Gesture of His Hands, the Man-of-Sorrows speaks-to us, of the Meaning-of His Calvary.

His Suffering is Reflected-in the Traditional Group of Mary, in the garb-of a Widow, Fainting-in the Arms-of St-John-the-Evangelist, to whose Care the Lord has Commended her; and in the smaller-figure of St-Mary-Magdalene, with her Vessel-of-Ointments, Wringing her hands in-Sorrow. On the other-side-of the Cross, there stands the Powerful Figure of St-John-the-Baptist, with the Ancient Symbol-of the Lamb carrying the Cross, and Pouring-out its Blood, into the Chalice-of the Holy Communion. With a Stern and Commanding Gesture, he points-towards the Savior, and over him are written the words that he speaks (according to the Gospel-of-John 3:30): "He must Increase, but I must Decrease".

There is little doubt that the Artist wanted the Beholder-of the Altarpiece to-Meditate on these words, which he Emphasized so-strongly, by the Pointing Hand-of St-John-the-Baptist. Perhaps he even wanted us to see how Christ must Grow and we Diminish. For in this Picture, in which Reality seems to be Depicted-in all its Unmitigated Horror, there is one Unreal and Fantastic Trait: the Figures differ-greatly in-Size. We need only Compare the hands-of St-Mary-Magdalene under the Cross, with those of Christ, to become fully-aware-of the astonishing-difference in their Dimensions. It is Clear that in these matters, Grünewald rejected the Rules-of-Modern-Art, as it had developed since the Renaissance, and that he Deliberately returned-to the Principles of Medieval and Primitive Painters, who varied the Size-of their Figures, according-to their importance-in the Picture. Just as he had sacrificed the pleasing kind of beauty, for the sake-of the Spiritual Lesson of the Altarpiece, he also Disregarded the new-demand for Correct Proportions, since this helped him to-Express, the Mystic Truth of the Words-of Saint John.

 

Jesus Christ Died in-Battle, for us

Greater Love than this, no Man hath,
that a Man lay-down his Life, for his Friends.
(John 15:13 - Douay Rheims Bible)

Maiorem hac dilectionem nemo habet
ut animam suam quis ponat pro amicis suis.
(John 15:13 - Latin Vulgate Bible)

 

Some People make Perfection, Consist-in an Austere Life;
others in Prayer; others in Frequenting the Sacraments;
others in Almsgiving. But they Deceive themselves:
Perfect Sanctity consists-in Loving God with our Whole Heart.
Jesus Deserves our Love, because-of the Love He has Shown us,
in His Passion and Death.

 

Nota Bene: Bible Verses quoted-in this Book are from the English Douay-Rheims Translation, commissioned-by the Catholic Church.

 

Chapter VIII
Love is not Prone to Anger

by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Those who Love Jesus Christ, are not Prone-to Anger. What 'Controls' their Reaction-to the Contradictions in-Life, is the Virtue-of-Meekness, which was Treated-in Chapter II, under the Aspect-of Kindness. However, since Meekness is a Virtue that 'Demands' constant-Practice, it will be Considered-here, even more-Thoroughly.

Humility and Meekness, were the Favorite Virtues of Jesus Christ, which is why He told His Disciples: "Take up My Yoke upon you, and Learn-of Me, because I am Meek, and Humble of Heart: and you shall find Rest to your Souls" - Matthew 11:29. The entire Life-of Jesus Christ is an Example-of Meekness. But this is especially-True during His Passion; While-on the Cross, He 'Begged' His Eternal Father: "Father, Forgive them, for they Know-not, what they do" - Luke 23:34.

How Dear-to Jesus Christ, are those Persons who, in Suffering Injury and Insult, and even Persecution, are not Irritated-by those, who Oppress them. This is why God is always Ready to-Hear the Prayer-of the Meek: "Blessed are the Meek: for they shall Possess the Land" - Matthew 5:4.

The Saints do not Resent, those who Treat them with Contempt; in fact, they Love them even-more. And the Lord, in-turn, 'Gives' them Interior Peace. The Proud, on-the-other-hand, are always Vindictive, because they have a High Opinion-of their own Worth, and 'Think' that they deserve Honor, in-proportion-to their own Conceit.

Saint Paul wrote-to the Philippians: "And the Peace-of-God, which Surpasseth all Understanding, keep your Hearts and Minds in Christ Jesus" - Philippians 4:7. Those who Love Jesus Christ, easily Find this Peace, even in the midst-of Contempt, because they are Completely United (1) to the Will-of-God. Accepting all Circumstances, with equal Peace-of-Mind, they 'Enjoy' a Treasure, more Priceless-than the Whole World.

To 'Remain' United (1)-with Jesus Christ, we must 'Abide' in Peace, even in the Midst-of the Contradictions, we Encounter-in our Daily Lives. The Lord can not Live-in a Troubled Heart. Listen, then, to the Beautiful Lesson given-on this Subject, by the Master-of Meekness, Saint-Francis-de-Sales: "Never Open the Door to Anger, for any Reason, because once it gains Admittance, it is no-Longer in our Power, to-'Close' the Door". Here are Three (3) Ways to 'Avoid' Anger:

'Divert' your Mind to something-else, Immediately.

'Imitate' the Apostles, when they 'Experienced' the Storm at-Sea, and Turn-to God, Who will 'Restore' your Peace.

'Struggle' to-Regain your Composure, and then 'Resolve' to be Kind-toward the Person, who has Irritated you.

Anger 'Remains' a Long Time, in the Hearts-of those who have little Love for God. But, if it happens-to Enter the Heart-of one who really Loves Jesus Christ, it is Quickly 'Extinguished'. Those who Freely Love the Redeemer, never Surrender-to Quick-Temper, since they 'Want' only what God 'Wants'; they have everything they could possibly Desire, and so they always 'Remain' Sensibly Calm. The Divine Will is their Tranquilizer, in every Difficulty that Arises, enabling them to 'Practice' Meekness, toward everyone they meet. But we Know by-experience, that we cannot Grow-in Gentleness toward Others, unless we First (1st) 'Increase' the Tenderness-of our Love, for Jesus Christ.

 

Prayer and Practicality

Now, since we cannot always 'Experience' this Tenderness, we must Prepare ourselves, in our Prayer, to 'Bear' the Crosses, that we will 'Encounter'. The Saints did so, and thus they were Prepared-to 'Accept' Patiently, Injury and Contempt. When we are Insulted, unless we have Disciplined ourselves Beforehand, we will find it extremely-Difficult to-Avoid, Yielding-to-Anger. On the Spur-of the Moment, Anger will make it seem-Logical, to-Give a Cutting Answer, to the Person who Insults us. But, as Saint-John-Chrysostom reminds us: "One Fire, does not Put-out Another".

Still, as we all know, there are Times when it seems Absolutely necessary-to 'Answer' Insolence, with Severity. Occasions do 'Occur', when we may Resort-to Righteous Anger. But this, we must 'Remember': It may sometimes be-Expedient Speculatively Speaking to-Answer someone Severely; but in-Practice, it is very Difficult to-'Do'-so, without some Fault, on our Part.

We should take Great Care, to-Practice Meekness, especially when we are 'Corrected', either by those who hold-Authority over us, or by our Friends. Saint-Francis-de-Sales writes: "To Receive a Correction Cheerfully, Proves that we Love the Virtue, in-which we have Failed. And, consequently, this is an Indication-of Growth-in-Holiness". We should even 'Practice' Meekness toward ourselves, in this case. Anger at ourselves, is a Deceit-of the Devil, to make us think that it is somehow Virtuous, to Act in this way, after we have Committed a Fault.

Gentleness is even more-Important, when we must 'Correct' others. Corrections made in-Anger, often do more Harm than Good, especially when the Person 'Corrected', is also 'Excited'. In such a Case, the Correction should be Postponed. If we 'Correct' others, when we are Angry ourselves, our Correction will always be Mixed-with Harshness, and the Person being 'Corrected' will, consequently, 'Ignore' our Admonition.

We must 'Prove' how-Dearly we Love Jesus Christ, by Meekly and Gladly, 'Accepting' every Kind-of Injury and Contempt.

 

sor_ani.gif (75307 bytes)

" O my God, make me a Saint"
Saint Alphonsus Mary Liguori

 

Prayer

My Redeemer, Your Example Teaches those who Love You, that Contempt-from others is something to be Desired. I Promise you, from now on, to Submit-to every Insult - out of Love for You. Give me the Strength to-keep this Promise. Help me to Know and Carry-out what You Desire-from me.

My God and my All, I Desire no other Good, but You. Give me the Grace to-Wish only to Please You. Help me to-Avoid whatever might Offend You, and Seek whatever gives You Pleasure. Save me from Everything, that might Distract me from Your Love. I Consecrate my Free Will, entirely-to Your Good Will.

I Love You, O Incarnate Word; I Love You more-than myself. Have Pity on me, and Heal the Wounds of my Poor Soul, for I have been Unfaithful to Your Love. I Surrender myself into Your Arms, O my Jesus. I want to Suffer everything, in Your Love. I Seek only Your Love.

Holy Virgin and my Mother Mary, I Love you and I Rely-on you. Intercede for me, with your Divine Son.

Amen