I know this feeling well: it starts as a burning sensation in my stomach and within moments I can feel it spreading through my whole body, threatening to consume me. No, it’s not heartburn, or some other physical ailment. I’m talking about anger. Blinding anger that impairs my judgement. I know how I want to react, but before doing something rash, I reach for my phone and text a group of my closest girlfriends. I explain how I'm feeling and what’s set me off, and within a few minutes, they have talked me back into my right mind.
I lose my temper easily. It’s a sin that I know I struggle with, one that I have brought up in the confessional many times, and will probably continue to do so. That’s because our struggle against sin is something we will deal with for as long as we walk this Earth. While that can feel disheartening at times, today’s First Reading provides encouragement as we strive to live out our faith:
“Build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in the love of God and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1:20-21)
How exactly do we do this? A lot of it happens in our own personal walk with the Lord; daily prayer, reading Scripture, and frequenting the Sacraments. But some of it is communal as well. The Christian life is hard; we are not expected to, nor should we try to, live it alone. We are called to extend God’s mercy to one another, to “save others by snatching them out of the fire.” (Jude 1:23) Sometimes we will do the snatching, and other times we will be the ones who need to be snatched out of our sins.
The situation I described at the beginning of this devotional is just one of many times that my friends, my husband, or a relative have saved me from letting my short temper get the better of me. What a blessing that I don’t have to work on this all by myself! What a blessing that Jesus uses the arms of our brothers and sisters in Christ to catch us when we are falling down.
Who in your life helps you navigate your struggles? Thank them today and try to be that person for someone else.
Anna Coyne is a Saint Paul native, wife, mother, and convert to the Catholic faith. When not chasing after her two young children you can probably find her playing the piano, knitting, tripping over wooden train sets, or writing. Find out more about her here.