Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith

Norris, Kathleen

Riverhead, 1999

pp. 125-127

Trust God’s anger. It’s generally against really bad oppression of the poor (think Isaiah, Amos, Micah). And it really heats up when people oppress the poor and then go to church and get pious. Our own anger is dangerous, less trustworthy, more apt to be built upon fear, and to express itself meanly or self-righteously. Desert monks thought about anger a lot, and about the need to pray one’s way out of anger. But they also knew that quiet times, such as prayer times, can be occasions for anger to build, not dissipate. ”Better a gentle worldly man,” Evagrius writes, “than an irascible and wrathful monk.” The monks were especially alert to the danger of angrily correcting somebody. “When it is absolutely necessary to correct another, do so, they said. But do it quickly and simply, then let it go. Don’t get entangled in the expectation of results. Otherwise, anger can take hold and lead you to commit an even worse fault than the one you were trying to correct.”