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Fear and Anger

“Last night I watched an episode of Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet on Disney Plus. It was about Dr. Oakley treating an muskox. The episode is called, “One Angry Muskox.” In order to treat this animal, they had to tranquilize it, but before they could tranquilize it, they had to separate it from the herd….They had to separate it from the herd to tranquilize it because if the (male) muskox were to fall down, the other muskox would take advantage of the opportunity to attack it, injuring or killing it. My first reflection on hearing this was, “How terrible these animals are!” However, on further reflection, I saw that these muskox are only mimicking human behavior—or worse yet, human beings are only mimicking the worst aspects of animal behavior. I think the reason this idea hit me so profoundly is that in the past three days I have had no less than five pastoral conversations with people deeply troubled by the rending of friendships and family relationships due to differing opinions about how best to respond to COVID-19.” (Fr. Michael Gillis)

“It seems in so many situations we have forgotten to be Christians. We have forgotten that good, well intentioned people may not always see eye to eye (such as the Jewish and Gentile Christians in the New Testament). We have forgotten that our Kingdom is not of this world, but is a Kingdom of righteousness and peace in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). We have forgotten that mercy triumphs over justice (James 2: 13)…Fear and anger, however, seem to trump common sense and faith in God. Fear and anger open in us a floodgate of animal passions making it seem appropriate to demonize (or de-humanize) those we disagree with. Fear and anger release our inner muskox ready to trample those who are less clear thinking than we are, less concerned for liberty or the common good than we are, less eager to create a just and safe society than we are—or at least that’s how it appears to us. And we don’t have time to listen, truly listen, to one another. Fear and anger create urgency so that we don’t have time to listen, we don’t have time to care, we don’t have time to be Christians.” (Fr. Michael Gillis)

“…fear can bring out the worst in us, turning a heart of warmth and compassion into a heart of coldness and defensiveness….fear is a poor source of motivation.  Submission to Christ is a better one.  And that submission demands that we love all the children of men, regardless of their sins, real or imagined.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul, Fr. Lawrence Farley)  

“There is so much today that passes for Christianity that can easily keep us from becoming beacons of light. If we become enslaved to anger and condemnation toward those we view as our adversaries in our society’s current debates, we will live as though Christ were not fully divine and fully human, for we will see our neighbors in light of the agendas of this world, not in light of Christ’s healing of the human person.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters) 

“…we are called to see Jesus Christ in all people. He told us, “…as you did it to the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” These seemingly small changes in the way we see and describe our world can help to form in us virtues such as patience, kindness, honesty, empathy, and forgiveness. These, in turn, help us to grow in love for the other, and to avoid the pitfalls of fear, anger and hatred. Instead of seeing only the appearance of the people God places in our path each day, we can look into their eyes and see the person created by God.” (Fr. Jim Kordaris)  


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