“Not to carry out anger;
not to store up wrath, awaiting a time of revenge.”
(Rule of Benedict 4.22-23)
Anger springs up without warning, even for monastics. StBenedict doesn’t try to forbid anger: that is impossible. Instead, he gives us a two-part instruction for handling it.
First, he says, do not carry out whatever deeds the emotions suggest: angry speech, violent action, sullen rejection. People often think they’ve handled the anger at this point; StBenedict knows more is needed. “Don’t merely defer those actions,” he says, “don’t store them up for later.”
Later, he urges patience, silence, forgiveness, compunction, endurance and prayer to help us set the anger aside. But first, we must be willing to let it go.