Friday, February 9, 2018


Someone told me that in high school the janitor once reprimanded him in the hallway over something stupid he was doing. That he would get chastised in such a way infuriated him, for whatever reason (certainly not because he was never chastised at home - on the contrary), and he nursed the adolescent fire of his anger over it.

A couple weeks later the janitor was driving along a rural road; ahead of him the wheels of a dump truck kicked up one of those small sized manhole covers - approximately seven inches in diameter and half as thick - and it went through the janitor's windshield and took his head off.

Not too long after this, again getting reprimanded in the hallway, this time by the principal, he fell to brooding resentment, burning with anger. Exactly a week later the principal died in his sleep.

He told me that after this, he never again got angry. Of course, he did not mean that he never again felt the emotion of anger, but that he never again chose to nurse a grudge or stew in resentment. And I believed him.

Whether he actually believed that his wrath cursed the two adult men and caused their deaths or not is beside the point, for what is certain and beyond coincidence, and what caused him to change (or more accurately, to grow up), is that he saw the ultimate end of his anger in their untimely deaths - and it made him afraid. It put fear and the dread of sin in his heart. He turned away from it.

Strangely, one of the things that causes people to get angry at other people is that they care too much about what other people think of them. This produces a mockery of social interaction wherein people place the worth of their dignity at the whims of fickle human nature in others, seeking confirmation in their apparent lights.

It reminds me how little resentment is based in truth, in reality. In fact, to resent is to insist upon a falsehood: that the you who is demanding this recompensation in whatever form, is the real you. When in fact, that you is a shadow of yourself. I am not intoning Jung. I simply mean the self that is unreal, that is not who you really are, like a shadow.

When you bless people, you grow. When you nurse a grudge, which is to say, when you entertain a curse, you do nothing but hurt yourself, as you shrink into the state of the Inadequate Midget. Which in turn, does nothing but cause more resentment.

Why do you shrink or diminish when you curse? Simply in that you have allowed yourself to become a person who curses, or who interiorly entertains cursing's kissing cousin, resentment.

Why do you grow when you bless? Because God blesses. Cursing is the Devil's business.

Immediately what comes to mind is the image of someone pietistically suppressing anger and pretending to have good feelings towards others. But really to choose to bless instead of curse is extremely practical. It is to remain in, or be released into, the joyful pain of reality; while insisting on resentment is the endless mental anguish of a fantasy world.

It is about getting your will straight, and sticking to it, and making your sticking to it the prayer, the potential cause, however small, of other people's blessings and not bad happening to them, and letting that ride roughshod over the piping voice of insecurity, or the outraged voice resenting disrespect, or the worrywart voice of being seen falsely.

If anger, brooding, resentment, bitterness, really starts choking you, say out loud, as prayer, and say it out loud, "Oh God, I don't want to be this person! Please bless..." It's about getting out of yourself, using the intent to pray for others as the key that gains you that refreshing exit. Leave the Spirit of the World which seeks to remove and tarnish your dignity making you think you need to please other people in order to have true worth.

Your prayer becomes: whatever it is I want others to recognize in me - namely my dignity and inherent worth - I put away, in your hands God, for that is yours; I won't bother with that, and anyways I am wretched without you, and moreover, I should earn their spite for my sins; and anyways they don't even know me that well, and instead I ask blessings for them and abundance in good things and health and well-being, length of days and increase to their gifts, holiness of life and conversion from sin.

And that should be our prayer for everyone all the time.

As for any who would bring up the cursing of the barren fig tree, or the litany of denunciations that Jesus leveled against the Pharisees as though that might be an "Au contraire, Mr. Stilwell" - well, actually, take it up with Jesus who asked the forgiveness of those who were torturing and killing him, because He came down to die for them that they would have life in abundance.

"But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire." --Matthew 5:22

 "Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." --Luke 6:28

"When Solomon grew old his wives swayed his heart to other gods; and his heart was not wholly with Yahweh his God as his father David's had been." --First Kings 11:4

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