I have just “discovered” Nil Sorsky, a 15th-century Russian spiritual master, whose writings can be found in Nil Sorsky: The Complete Writings (The Classics of Western Spirituality series; Paulist Press).
I had recently found myself in a state of on-going anger, and sometimes even rage. In the writings of Nil Sorsky, I found some good counsel. Writing on anger as one of the “eight principal vices of the soul”, the master says:
If the temptation of anger assails us, it means we are forced to recall the wrongs done to us and are moved to a rage in order to seek revenge for the evil done to us. At such times we must remember the words of the Lord: “If brother does not forgive his brother with all his heart, then your heavenly Father will not pardon you sins” (Mt 18:35; Mk 11:26). And likewise, everyone who wishes to receive pardon of his sins must first forgive from the heart his brother…Moreover, we must also understand that even if we think we are acting rightly, but we do not give up our anger, this is offensive to God.
I was angry at one person because of “the wrongs done to me”. I was reluctant to forgive him. But why? Well, I suppose that fault issues from the sin of pride.
Forgiveness was the answer to my rage. Of course…if I’d thought about it at all, I would have known that. I have even taught that to other angry people. But the cloud of anger had obscured my inner vision, and I had fallen into sin. Thanks to Nil Sorsky and my own spiritual director, I was able to make a correction and confess my sin.
Forgiveness…because if we want to be forgiven, we must forgive others. Who has not sinned? Who does not need forgiveness?!
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.