Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Story from Fr. Marek...

I went to the 4:30 Holy Mass yesterday...and Fr. Marek, our new Associate Pastor, told a story about anger and forgiveness. He has been giving a series of sermons on the seven capital sins, and today's homily was about (unrighteous) Anger.
I loved his likening the story to what happens whenever we use our anger against our neighbor, whenever we refuse to forgive offenses...or the damage we do when we do anything to hurt another.


There was a young boy who had a very bad attitude, always losing his temper at the least provocation. His father, frustrated with his son’s anger, decided to do something about it.
He brought his young son out to the workroom and told him to take a hammer and some nails and every time he lost his temper, he had to hammer a nail into the backyard fence.
Well, the first day, the boy found that, by the evening, he had hammered no less than 37 nails into the fence.
However, as time went on, he hammered less and less nails into that fence; as the days increased, he found, to his own surprise, that the day came when he hammered no nails at all!
“Well-done,” his father told him. “Now what I want you to do is to take out each nail, whenever you find yourself controlling your anger even more! Do not leave a nail in, if your anger is curbed, you must take it out! One at a time…”
And the boy did what his father requested, finding it easier every day to control his anger. Soon, after a few weeks, he was able to go back to his father and show him that there were no longer any nails in the fence.
“Well-done, again!” his father exclaimed. “There is now one more problem, and I am afraid that there is no way to fix this one. Do you see that, even though you have been able to remove all of the nails, and that none remain? That is fine, son, but you must also see that, where ever there was once a nail, there is now a hole in the fence. This is what you do whenever you say an unkind word, think an unforgiving thought, treat your neighbor in a less than loving way. When you control your anger, you succeed in keeping the fence whole; when you become angry or lose your temper, you create a hole in the fence, and even if the nail is removed, there is still a wound in your neighbor’s heart. Take care that you never hammer another nail.”
From that day forward, the boy never forgot this lesson…and he practiced the virtues of Patience and Mercy for the rest of his days.

This is a very important lesson, and one that I hope to always remember. These virtues cannot be stressed enough, as far as I am concerned...I have known too many people who held grudges over the least hurt, never letting go of a single offense, much to their own detriment. The persons who had hurt them, I'm afraid, mostly went on to live their lives, sometimes never knowing what they had done, but the damage done to the one who held onto anger was sometimes immense.
Our lives are much too short to be that way. There is no offense serious enough that would warrant spending an entire life being angry with can anyone even pretend to have another good day? There is always that thorn in their side, thrusting deeper with every breath, every movement. It also brings to my mind the Wounds our dear Lord and Savior suffered when they pounded those Thorns into His head!
Too much for me to take...and I hope I never forget Fr. Marek's sermon for as long as I live.

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