In many families, there are the three unwritten rules. Don't think, don’t speak and don’t feel. Reiterating what St. John the Cross said, "Feelings are the language of God to the soul." We must be able to embrace all of our feelings. The feelings that we find hard to deal with (hard feelings), and the ones that we find easy to deal with (soft feelings). One of the most difficult hard feelings to deal with is anger. Someone wrote, " Anger is only one letter short of danger." The missing "d" can stand for denial, disguise or both. The denial, and repression of our gift of anger is a deadly combination deadly for ourselves and those we encounter on our journey. When we get trapped in this active denial all around us are in danger of being our scapegoats, our punching bags. In order to prevent this abuse, we must grow in our awareness of whether we are responding or reacting to our anger. The first is healthy, the second brings pain. Being Irish, it has been a long hard and difficult slog to journey from a reactor to a responder. I am a work in progress.
So, now, we meet, encounter the “A" of our journey into and through our spiritual garbage. This “A” stands for anger. Anger is healthy, and essential for a healthy wholeness. We are told today that our anger has been given to us to defend our boundaries and to make sure that our boundaries are kept in place. When anger is dealt with in a healthy and constructive manner it is, very freeing. When we refrain from feelings of anger and not express, but deny that anger, we definitely pay a penalty. We are told that in many cases that depression is inverted anger. Depression comes to us in many cases, because we have not grieved for the loss of someone, or something. Felt feelings lead to healing, and health. There is also a depression which is the result of a chemical imbalance and must be dealt with by the medical profession.
The word feel breaks down, and in so doing so reveals a healthy process to be used when dealing with feelings in general, and anger in particular. F- feel, E- experience, E- express and l- let go, We entrust the difficult feeling into the hands a compassionate Higher Power.( feel, deal, reveal, and heal, also works) What we do not feel, we are told, cannot be healed. Whatever is not healed or transformed is transferred. We must go through the process so as to be able to deal with our anger. We must get into the habit of welcoming God into our anger. Now confronting and healing the anger we have with God is a whole other kettle of fish. I make a point during my funeral homily to point out that anger with God is healthy. If you do not have a God you can fight with ,fire that god, which is a false one anyway, and get one you can fight with. This process will allow us to do the feeling work which is necessary, essential Christ for healing. This is essential for couples who have suffered the loss of a child, or children. This death will bring them closer, or else split them. The encounter with death radically changes them as individuals, and consequently, as a couple. This is my experience from 55 years in pastoral ministry. I like to ask people to write out their anger in a very blunt and factual way. Must not be polite. People are totally blown away by what gushes up and is written on the paper. When we have written out our anger than we add, "God you can have all of this. I do not want it anymore. Please, fill up the emptiness this has created with your love." You then sign your name to what you have written then burn it. Write, not type, burn not tear up. If we don’t go through this process then we act it out in a very passive-aggressive manner. This is, so destructive to us as individuals and our relationships. Unless we go through the process nothing changes. There will be no transformation only transference. Unless we let go our anger and give it to God, things will always get worse not better. Anger transformed by God blesses us with the human enhancing gift of compassion. Compassionate people have suffered a great deal. Suffering did not overwhelm them. It transformed and transfigured them in to the living presence of a "contemporary Christ." We are blessed with a "mount of Transfiguration experience." "Life is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be lived." That mystery we encounter is The Paschal Mystery leading to transformation, and transfiguration. How awe-full, wonder-full is the life we live, one moment at a time. Christ has died, is risen, and comes again, and again, ever new, in every moment we are gifted to live.