Averting Anger – Part 2 of 2

If St. Vincent de Paul was at any time moved to anger, he abstained from speaking and from acting, and, above all, he never resolved upon anything, until he felt that his passion had subsided. He often said that actions performed under excitement may appear good, but can never be perfect, as they are not fully directed by reason, which is then perturbed and obscured, and that in spite of all the ebullitions of anger and all imaginable pretexts of zeal, we should speak only soft and courteous words, that we may gain our neighbors to God. Therefore, while the emotion lasted, he made every effort to hinder any trace of it from appearing on his countenance, and if, on rare occasions, there escaped him any word or gesture which might indicate impatience or severity, he immediately asked pardon.

When the venerable Monseigneur de Palafox felt his emotions of anger or excessive zeal springing up in his mind while he was giving a reproof, he would instantly raise his heart to God, and say: “O Lord, hold fast in this tempest the rudder of my reason, that I may not transgress Thy holy will in any thing.”

A great philosopher gave Augustus Caesar this advice: “When you feel any emotion of anger, do not say or do anything, until you have run over in your mind at least the twenty-four letters of the alphabet”

Text from A Year With the Saints (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1891).

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