Thursday, May 27, 2010

St. Ephraem said, "Prayer suppresses anger." Good idea? Bad idea? You Tell Me

Dear Yin Weaver,

I asked this question on my Fan Page (OK, Like Page. Still feels like a downgrade).  Apparently anger is one tough emotion to handle, because my question got a lot of attention.  The reflections are all listed below, but I'd like to hear more.  So I thought I'd make it an official blog, and see who else wants to weigh in on the question.

I'll throw in the definition of the word "supress" here to get you thinking, as that seemed to be the "hot button" word in St. Ephraem's comment. put an end to the activities of (a person, body of persons, etc.): to suppress the Communist party. do away with by or as by authority; abolish; stop (a practice, custom, etc.). keep in or repress (a feeling, smile, groan, etc.). withhold from disclosure or publication (truth, evidence, a book, names, etc.). ... See More stop or arrest (a flow, hemorrhage, cough, etc.). vanquish or subdue (a revolt, rebellion, etc.); quell; crush.
Clearly, St. Ephraem lived before the invention of psychotherapy. But perhaps by "supress" he didn't mean a simple denial of anger, which is bound to backfire. I like to think he meant to stop or arrest your anger before it erupts like a lava flow, or a hemmorhage (see definition five). After all, anger at injustice well-expressed can change the world. Look at Ghandi.

Here's what all my fans (ok, my likers) had to say:

Susan Hargreaves Parker said:

Seems like a good thing to me, changes your outlook on life. Isn't that one reason we pray?

Karin Evans said:

I'd prefer to think that prayer offers us a possibility to release anger, gently.

Mary Lou Carta said:

Suppressing anger is not a good thing. The anger is still there. I think a better prayer would be to be able to understand the source of our anger and how to handle it in a Christian manner. Don't forget that there is such a thing as righteous anger. Consider Jesus and the money changers in the temple. I would say that he was past upset.

Rand Gholson said:

I feel if the prayer is directed towards suppressing anger, that is the likely outcome, then what do you do with the suppressed(compressed) anger? However if the prayer is directed towards manifesting freedom from anger and its relatives, wouldn't it be more likely that it is released and a more benevolent energy can be chosen to take it's place?
Clara de Luna (dontcha love that name?) said:

When prayer is an activity of expressing gratitude {either aloud with others, or in solitude} it most certainly does release us of some negative energy.

Susan Hargreaves Parker said:
I vote for No. 5, to stop or arrest, as in if the flow of angry feelings are likened to a hemorrhage or as destructive as a cough might be.

Lisa Davis said: 

Prayer is a conversation with God.....if that takes away your anger, then I say, PRAY ON!

And what about you?  What do you say?


1 comment:

  1. To me its okay to get angry , its not okay to stay angry. A person can take anger and turn it into motivation. Or a person can be angry and bitter - thats not good. So be angry but put anger to good use.