An illiterate man had a strange pastime. He enjoyed going to Parliament! Once an MP asked him why he goes there so regularly and whether truthfully he understood anything during the discussion time. "Honestly, no," he replied, "but I know immediately who is right and who is wrong!" "How?!" asked the other. "Because the one who is at fault starts getting angry…"

Debbie Smooth, an American, married to a doctor, three children, found two effective remedies for anger!

"Since my husband works at the hospital and does private practice too, he has no time for himself… and for us. I can never enjoy him as much as I want to. One day I could not take it anymore. We were all in the car and there I was complaining and blasting him, that this cannot go any more like this, that he needs to learn to say no, that patients were more important for him than us… and on and on. In one moment if quietness, I overheard my children at the back of the car whispering between themselves. "Great, today. We are not in the line of fire. Mum is telling off dad!" I did not know what to do and so I switched on the radio in the car and this song was being played: "Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so." Everyone started singing and we calmed down. That moment I realised that one cannot be angry and sing at the same time. So I said to myself: Debbie, when you are angry… start singing!"

Remember always that anger, like fire, finally dies out but only after leaving a path of destruction.

"Another day I was home when one of my husband's patients came with a gift for him. Whilst waiting for my husband's return home from one of his visits, he related to me his story. When he was working on a house - he is a builder - the roof gave way and he fell from sixty feet high. His body was tattered, he still had stitches on his face, and he could hardly open his eyes and mouth. And yet he was not whining. He was just grateful that nothing more serious happened to him, grateful to my husband and all the new friends he had made in hospital… This patient gave me a much better gift than the one he brought my husband. This was an enlightening moment for me. I realised that I was wasting my life complaining about what I do not have and I am not appreciating what I have. I realised that a grateful heart is the best cure for anger…"

Scripture warns us, "Do not be quick to anger, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools!

I remember when I used to live at St Theresa's convent, Cospicua Malta, I had a great friend who was mentally handicapped. On one of my trips out of the island, I bought for him a bar of fine chocolate. I still remember vividly his eyes, shining with joy when he saw this little gift. And amazingly enough he kept remembering this gift months and months later and he would thank me profusely every time I met him even if the chocolate had long disappeared.

Gratitude spells out anger.

(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.