Friday, October 19, 2012

Iron Philosophy: Virtuous Anger

Imagine yourself in a squat rack. You have the plates loaded up, the lifting belt tight around your waist, you shake your head a few times and think of the rage boiling up inside you. It isn't rage at a person or anything in particular, it's a rage from within, an anger flowing from your warrior heart. You then make the sign of the Cross, that insignia feared by Satan himself, and step up to place the bar on your shoulders. You then lift it off the rack and get ready for war. Then after lowering your body to the squatted position your realize, I'm not going back up! What do you do? Do you give up and drop the weight? Do you whine like a little child? Or do you recall that anger, deep within your soul, and remind yourself that this is no day to fail?

What is it about anger that might actually be useful? Being that anger is one of the seven deadly sins it's very interesting to note that it can also become a virtue. We are a people blessed with emotions from a Creator, Who Himself is full of emotion. To block or inhibit those emotions can actually be considered sinful. If someone was to murder your mother and you did not have the emotion of anger within you, either you are missing something psychological, or you are in a sinful state. This isn't to say that anger is an emotion which should be fed, instead what is meant is that as long as anger is properly ordered it can drive the soul towards the Divine. The Iron offers what little else in the created world can, a tangible place where channeled and focused anger can drive results.

            Once again, I do not wish to give credence to the anger of which the world suffers. The anger written in many thrash metal songs is more of a selfish anger, for example, a girl left me, my life makes no sense, I feel lost, etc. This anger is driven from the underworld and leads away from Christ. Virtuous anger, that delectable emotion Jesus used to drive out blasphemers, is instead a selfless emotion. For example, anger at where our country is headed, anger at our own sins and weaknesses, anger that Satan and his minions feel that they can tempt us when our heart and soul belongs to Christ. Peter Kreeft’s Back to Virtue states it in this way “God himself has anger…according to his own word. And to be like God is not sinful. Therefore anger is not by itself sinful."

          It was a holy anger which drove today's saints, Isaac Jogues and John de Brebeuf, to risk their lives converting and evangelizing. The anger that Satan still has a hold on this world will drive a man to do marvelous and wondrous deeds. Uniting that intensity with the focus of Christ crucified leads to a fresh and praiseworthy holiness. Men in particular have a tendency to have a temper, if that temper is directed accordingly with the Gospels, the Holy Spirit will have a tool worth using. The Iron can act as an academia of sorts to teach men, young and old, to rightly order that anger to produce results, instead of demolition. So, next time you are in the squat rack remember where that rage is coming from and direct it towards growth.