Nov 10, 2009

The Sin of Wrath

Part two of my series on the Seven Deadly Sins is the Sin of Wrath

“Whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment" - Matthew 5:22

"A mild answer calms wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." - Proverbs 15:1

Wrath (Latin, ira), also known as anger or "rage", may be described as inordinate and uncontrolled feelings of hatred and anger. These feelings can manifest as vehement denial of the truth, both to others and in the form of self-denial, impatience with the procedure of law, and the desire to seek revenge outside of the workings of the justice system (such as engaging in vigilantism) and generally wishing to do evil or harm to others.

So in other words, Wrath is pretty much the way I felt about the cable company after they sent that do-nothing technician to my house on Friday. :-)

The transgressions born of vengeance are among the most serious, including murder, assault, and in extreme cases, genocide. Wrath is the only sin not necessarily associated with selfishness or self-interest (although one can of course be wrathful for selfish reasons, such as jealousy, closely related to the sin of envy).

Dante described vengeance as "love of justice perverted to revenge and spite". In its original form, the sin of wrath also encompassed anger pointed internally rather than externally. Thus suicide was deemed as the ultimate, albeit tragic, expression of wrath directed inwardly, a final rejection of God's gifts.

Medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas said Anger is "the name of a passion. A passion of the sensitive appetite is good in so far as it is regulated by reason, whereas it is evil if it set the order of reason aside."

Wrath is ruled by the sign of Mars. This is the Sin most likely to harm other people, particularly when mixed with another Sin. It is manifested in the individual who spurns love and opts instead for fury.

Your punishment in Hell will be: You'll be dismembered alive.

To combat a Wrathful nature, we have

the Heavenly Virtue of Patience

Patience is the ability to endure waiting, delay, or provocation without becoming annoyed or upset, or to persevere calmly when faced with difficulties.

Guardian of faith, it is the preserver of peace, the cherisher of love, and the teacher of humility. It governs the flesh, strengthens the spirit, sweetens the temper, stifles anger, extinguishes envy, and subdues pride. Patience also bridles the tongue, refrains the hand, tramples upon temptations, endures persecutions, consummates martyrdom.

Patience produces unity in the church, loyalty in the State, and harmony in families and societies. It teaches us to forgive those who have injured us, and to be the first in asking forgiveness of those whom we have injured.

Patience, my lord. Why, 'tis the soul of peace.
Of all the virtues 'tis near'st kin to heaven.
It makes men look like gods; the best of men
That e'er wore earth about him was a sufferer,
A soft, meek, patient, humble, tranquil spirit,
The first true gentleman that ever breath'd.

Thomas Dekker and Thomas Middleton The Honest Whore Part One, act V scene II

6 comments:

Tara said...

There are some interesting thoughts in this post. Thanks for writing it.

C R Ward said...

Thanks Tara, I've been having fun - two sins down, five to go! :-)

The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after said...

"love of justice perverted to revenge and spite" I just love this. Thanks for sharing and I know I've been most delinquent in saying I like you Space Opera serial but I do.
All the very best,
Simone

C R Ward said...

Thank you Simone! You're so sweet!

Erica said...

Interesting stuff here. Your posts are always entertaining :)

I've felt wrath toward the cable guy before too- what's with the 4-5 hour window?? Come on!

C R Ward said...

Erica, I'm thinking the 8th level of Hell is filled with cable repairmen. :-)