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Catholic Activity: Temper Trouble


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A story to tell about one of the Desert Fathers. This story teaches us that we must work on our tempers; they won't just go away.


A certain brother living in one of the desert communities was restless and irritable and frequently lost his temper. Despairing of ever correcting his anger where he was, he removed himself to a hermitage in a cave and there lived as a solitary, certain that without the interruptions and distractions of monastery life he would be unmoved by anger. One day he drew some water for himself, set the water jug on the ground, and it tipped over. He drew the jug full again, set it on the ground, and a second time it tipped over. He drew the jug full a third time and a third time it tipped over and then, in a fit of terrible anger, he hurled it to the ground. It broke into a thousand pieces. Suddenly he came to himself and saw how he had been tricked by the spirit of anger. And he said: "Behold, here I am alone, and nevertheless he hath conquered me. I shall return to the community, for in all places there is need for struggle, patience and above all for the help of God." And he arose and went back to his monastery.

So we must admit, if we are to make headway with our tempers or whatever our faults, that the devil, when he sees we have them, will try to stir them up. For a time we may leave the people or things that might move us to anger, but there is no cure for a bad temper but hard work on ourselves!

Activity Source: Saints and Our Children, The by Mary Reed Newland, P.J. Kenedy & Sons, New York; reprinted by TAN Publishers, 1958

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