St. Mother Teresa said, "People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway." Well, God bless this saintly mother, but she has never driven in Houston! Anger seems to be justifiable when we drive in Houston. Rage builds up in our chest and fills us with a rage which is wholly an other and indestructible. But what really is the purpose of our anger? Do you and I really feel good when we honk our horns or act out in road rage? Turning our anger into opportunities for grace can be very difficult for us, but not impossible for the Holy Spirit! Now, 1 do hold that there is a difference between being upset and being angry. The Lord's prayer makes it abundantly clear that people will "trespass against us," and our Lord, Jesus Christ, says, "I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment" (Mt 5:22a).
Now, being upset or feeling hurt by the actions of others will happen. Suppressing these hurt feelings because it is "the Christian thing to do" is morally wrong a11d only leads us to more anger. Suppressing pains and hurts, whether from strangers on the road or from our loved ones at home, does not allow the Holy Spirit to transform our hurt. Rather, suppression only gives us the illusion that we are in control. Rather, you and I are called to "forgive them anyway" because the power of the Spirit has transformed us. Many of you have commented how much you admire my previous analogy of the "Houston wave." What if instead of tarnishing ourselves by giving others the "Houston wave", you and I make the sign of the cross and "forgive them anyway" every time we find ourselves in rage and anger? May the intercession of St. Mother Teresa and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit help you and me to open our eyes to the power of forgiveness.
-br. James Martin Nobles, 0.P