Slow My Anger

First Reading: Isaiah 41:13-20

I am the LORD, your God,
who grasp your right hand;
It is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I will help you.”
Fear not, O worm Jacob,
O maggot Israel;
I will help you, says the LORD;
your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
I will make of you a threshing sledge,
sharp, new, and double-edged,
To thresh the mountains and crush them,
to make the hills like chaff.
When you winnow them, the wind shall carry them off
and the storm shall scatter them.
But you shall rejoice in the LORD,
and glory in the Holy One of Israel.

The afflicted and the needy seek water in vain,
their tongues are parched with thirst.
I, the LORD, will answer them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
I will open up rivers on the bare heights,
and fountains in the broad valleys;
I will turn the desert into a marshland,
and the dry ground into springs of water.
I will plant in the desert the cedar,
acacia, myrtle, and olive;
I will set in the wasteland the cypress,
together with the plane tree and the pine,
That all may see and know,
observe and understand,
That the hand of the LORD has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 145:1 AND 9, 10-11, 12-13AB

R. The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.
I will extol you, O my God and King,
and I will bless your name forever and ever.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.
Let them make known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Your Kingdom is a Kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.

Gospel: Matthew 11:11-15

Jesus said to the crowds:
“Amen, I say to you,
among those born of women
there has been none greater than John the Baptist;
yet the least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
From the days of John the Baptist until now,
the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence,
and the violent are taking it by force.
All the prophets and the law prophesied up to the time of John.
And if you are willing to accept it,
he is Elijah, the one who is to come.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”


dec 10

A shrill, curdling wail pierced the stillness of our post-bedtime solitude. From the boy’s basement bedroom, a preschooler’s siren sounded for the umpteenth time that night.

“I’m going to lose it; he is killing me tonight!” I growled, swinging my legs over the side of the bed and stomping in the direction of the offending offspring. My husband said something as I disappeared down the carpeted stairs strewn with laundry and shoes, but I was too angry and too fast to catch what he’d said.

Flinging open the door, I located the perpetrator and took a deep breath, preparing to launch into a punishing explanation of why he must.go.to.sleep. and what dire consequences will befall him if he chooses not to. But I didn’t.

Instead, I sank down to a crouch beside his teeny IKEA toddler bed and began rubbing his back. I watched his small shoulders heave with grief and exhaustion and my small grinch heart expanded ever so slightly, and through that crack, a little shot of grace was able to slip.

Jesus, thank you for this little son. Praise you Jesus, for the gift of him. You are good, Lord, and you are our protection. You love us. Hold him in your arms and give him rest.

I whispered prayers over him and marveled as his breathing slowed and his eyes closed.

That was not from me, Lord. That had to have been You. 

I am the worm Jacob, the maggot, Israel. But the Lord is slow to anger and rich in kindness. When I pause, even for the briefest of moments, I can choose to cede that moment to Him and let that grace come pouring through, allowing Him to “grasp my right hand” and work miracles through me.

Would that I stepped aside more often, letting Him who is slow to anger love my people better than I ever could on my own.

[Tweet “I pray I step aside more often, and let Him who is slow to anger love my people.”]

Stop in the midst of the busy, building crescendo of Christmas preparation and sit down with someone you love—your spouse, your child, a sibling. Give them your full attention for 10 minutes, “wasting time” with them as Pope Francis has called us to do.

Jenny Uebbing is a freelance writer and a blogger and editor for Catholic News Agency. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband Dave and their growing family. You can find out more about her thoughts on Catholicism, sex, politics and parenting here

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