Letter to a prisoner, 2016
Jan 22 / Feb 4 ns. 2016 Holy Apostle of the Seventy Timothy.
Dear in Christ ___:
I visited yesterday and missed you greatly. I baptized ___ and ___. ááThat made me very happy, but your absence and the circumstances of it make me very sad. I am not fully aware of what happened, but the long of short of it seems to be that you will not be able to be at our services for a long time. I hope this is not so, and am praying to that end. I pray for you every day, and I am in this relationship with you for the long haul. á
My friend, you must work on impulse control! This is very important. Prison is full of irritations. You must have your A game when they happen. The only thing that works for me is prayer. I have learned, slowly, to pray fiercely when I am irritated. If I pray earlyá enough, I am able to control myself. If I forget to pray, most often my irritation reaches a point where I cannot "pray" the anger away.
Remember those old cartoons where somebody lit a long fuse to ásome dynamite? The fuse burned on and on, with the cartoon character trying to stomp it out. If he was successful, the dynamite did not blow up, but if the fuse burned to the end: KABOOM!
The point is: the dynamite does not blow up immediately; It blows up after the fuse burns to the end. This is how anger is. There is always a fuse burning. The longer the fuse the more time we have to stomp it out. Sometimes we have a "short fuse". The thing that makes us angry and our anger may be separated in time by mere moments.á Prayer will always always increase those moments. Learning to pray when we are upset is a skill, and it must be learned and practiced. Over time, we will have a longer "fuse", and we will usually be successful in quenching our anger, or at least not acting upon it in a way that ends badly.
In order for this skill to take hold in us, we must believe something without equivocation: anger is a sin. It is bad, even if it sometimes makes us feel good (for a moment). We also must believe something equally important without equivocation: that we can overcome our anger problem.
How should we pray? QUICKLY and SIMPLY! The name of Jesus should be on our lips (either literally, or in our mind). Any of these help: "Lord help me!", "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!", "Lord have mercy!"
As we pray, even it the time we pray spans only a few seconds, God increases our intelligence and vision. I often see what the results of my anger would be, and that knowledge often quenches it. We are usually sorry after we have been angry. áI suppose it should be "always", but sometimes we justify ourselves even well after we have been acutely angry. We have made a mess of things, with our words or actions.á The old saying "hindsight is 20/20" applies. The marvel of short, intense prayer when we are in the process of getting angry is that the Lord can give us this "hindsight" as "foresight".
Try this, and you will believe me, because you will see results. Do not believe the lie that your fuse is too short, and you cannot control your anger. This is a lie of the Devil. Your fuse will become longer ifá you pray; this is an absolute certainty!
Now, let's say you have prayed, and you are still angry, but have some control. Certainly we know what NOT TO DO: shout, cuss, act threatening, slap, push, punch. What should you do?
That depends on the situation. Walk away, say something kind, say you are sorry, ask forgiveness. Change the subject. All these things have their place. God will enlighten you, because you have prayed.
I will continue to pray for you. You must also pray. Let some good come out of your circumstances. Please write to me. May God help you. If you continue to be in seg, our only interaction may be by letter. Write me!
Iná Christ, sinful Priest Seraphim, who prays for you.
Priest Seraphim Holland 2010áááá
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