Greetings dear Friends:
I appreciate you visiting with me today.
Most of my days are full of gratitude. I try to express gratitude as often as possible and for many things. Sometimes the gratitude is joyful. Sometimes, it inspires me to handle a difficult situation with more ease. Sometimes it even heals my wounded heart.
I am a rather sensitive person. I haven’t always been so sensitive, but I genuinely wish to be very sensitive to be a better healer for others. The sensitivity helps me to have an empathetic union with the one I am praying for.
There is the other side of the sensitive coin, and that is I also feel more pain when things don’t go my way.
Going my way is not the same as needing to be in control, just how I might have wished, or anticipated things would go.
Like most people, I can get angry. Mostly I force it down, pray about it, try to move on, forgive others, and confess my sinfulness in the situation. That is an excellent plan if I move into it fast enough. If I don’t, I speak my anger. Sometimes I speak it softly. Sometimes, I speak it loudly. I hate to say that.
Always I am seeking to use anger as fuel to make a change. When the change happens, I feel better. The change can change the circumstance, the person(s) involved, and most often, to change me.
Blessings to you,
by Abbot Oscar Joseph, OCCO
If you ever really want to embarrass yourself, tape record or videotape an argument with your spouse (agree on this first). After watching the recording, the question will loom. Why do we get angry?
The whole process of getting and staying angry can be very complex. However, simply put, we get afraid, then we get angry. Bet you never thought about it that way. We get afraid first then angry.
The bottom line is that we get afraid that we are not being accepted.
Perhaps someone disagrees with us, or we think things should go differently. Within a fraction of a second, we translate that into “I am not being accepted,” “I am not being liked.”
So, by getting angry, I hope to act with some power, shown through my anger, that will force you to do something. I want you to accept me. That sounds stupid, doesn’t it? I get mad, and you are supposed to like me more because I act like a fool. The point is, getting angry does not work.
My second point is that other people don’t make me angry I make myself angry.
Think about it. The whole thing is about being acceptable. Then it is my interpretation whether I am being accepted, “liked,” or not. It is my judgment of what other people are saying or doing that makes me feel emotions.
For example, if my wife comes home from work and is a bit grumpy, I could interpret that in two ways. (1) She had a bad day. (2) She doesn’t like me. Depending on my choice, I can choose to respond differently.
If she had a bad day, I could pour her a nice glass of fresh box wine, and we could sit and talk for a while. If she doesn’t like me, I could pour her a nice glass of expensive corked bottled wine, and I could go out to the dog house. Get the point? My judgments make me feel not what other people say or do.
I am a realist. I know that it is hard work to slow down my judgments to carefully judge and monitor my feelings. It does take practice, but if I can do it, so can you.
Of course, you can always ask right out. Did you have a bad day? Did I do something wrong? That is not easy, but it would be a very grownup thing to do. Perhaps that is why grownups generally don’t fight as much as children.
I remember when my children fought. They would always complain about what the other said or did. The same story, really, “things are not going my way, so I must not be liked.”
My response was usually, “go work it out.” They often did and were happily playing moments later.
So what would I say to an adult? I would say, “when you are angry, shut up.” Sane people won’t listen to an angry person. Angry people are not likable.
You want to be liked, so shut up and work it out with yourself. THEN speak about it, quietly and thoughtfully, like a likable person. You will be surprised by the positive results.
From The Joy of Spiritual Freedom p. 13
“The Word of God reveals that God has a general will for all Christians and within that, a specific will for each individual”.
For example, the general will would be that all be reconciled to Himself through Baptism, amendment of life, worship, and knowledge, and following the teachings of the Church which Jesus founded.
God’s specific will for us is exactly that. What does He want us to do beyond the general will. Discovering the specific will can be a difficult process that involves others to help us discover. A true believer will make an effort and sacrifice to discover and be obedient to God’s specific will.
From Memoirs of a Christian Healer p. 11
“The evil one hated me. But I was too naïve to realize the consequences.”
Be assured that if you are doing God’s will, Satan will hate you. Satan’s primary tool is your ego and weaknesses. So watch out. Don’t let fear stop you but let it stimulate wisdom. Good protection is daily prayer and doing your good work with a group. Do not be by yourself.
From Listen with the Ear of Your Heart p. 3
“Those same walls that protected you also hindered you from transparently approaching God. Even if you grew up in the church, it was easy to hide behind the mask of acceptable behaviors and fancy church words. If you did it well, you might have a chance of being accepted. Consequently, you have become untrustworthy.”
I was speaking with one of our monks the other day on this very topic. If we put up walls to each other by whatever method, we are also doing the same with God. Yet, the more transparent that we become with God, the more we will find that God is gracious and trustworthy.
Abbot Oscar Joseph has been a Christian Counselor and Spiritual Director to hundreds over the past thirty-five years. He has also conducted healing services throughout the East Coast of the United States. He is currently a Bishop and serves as the Abbot General of the Cistercian Order of the Holy Cross.