Photo by Jessie Sargent

[On its ascent through the heavens] the soul went upward and saw the fourth power...These are the powers of anger....[The soul stopped and spoke to the powers of anger]....and the soule said, "I have been released...from the chain of forgetfulness."


~The Gospel of Mary 9:16b, 25, 28c


This part of the Gospel of Mary comes from a teaching Jesus told Mary and describes the soul of someone still living as it makes a spiritual journey through the heavens. Mary then told it to the disciples, as a way of encouraging them after Jesus left. This part of the story is about a combative conversation the soul had with the powers of anger on its way through the heavens.


Isn’t it interesting how anger can sometimes help us and sometimes just mess us up? I suspect this is what the soul and the powers of anger were talking about.


I can hear the powers noticing gleefully how the soul sometimes gets addicted to being mad, and the soul readily, if embarrassedly, agreeing. Then, I can imagine, the soul pointing out that sometimes getting angry helps to express feelings of loss, pain, and sadness, the soul’s statement making the powers are nervous. Maybe both the soul and the powers are tempted to just forget about how anger is both helpful and damaging. But instead, they keep talking about it. 


Finally, the soul decides it has to stay with the dilemma, claiming the goodness of anger and watching out for its dangerous qualities. Even though the powers would rather the soul not think about it too much, the soul surges past that suggestion towards a place of rest.


I hope that in this time of loss and fear our souls can keep thinking for us about the pluses and minuses of anger .  


~Hal Taussig

 

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