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The Dark Shadows of Rage

Fr Dwight Longenecker - published on 02/27/13

What is the real cause of the irrational rage? The answer may sound trite and even sentimental: the real cause of the irrational rage is a lack of love. At that same primal level of existence, every person needs total, complete, unconditional acceptance and affirmation. When that is lacking (for whatever reason), there is a void at the depth of the human person.

That void is a gnawing hunger so deeply rooted that it is too primitive to be ensconced by rational understanding, explication, or explanation. That gnawing hunger for total and complete affirmation and acceptance surfaces first as fear, and then as irrational rage. When that primal rage is compounded by failures in love, parental rejection, personal disappointment, and the general difficulties of life, a bubbling undercurrent of rage haunts the person’s life.

In this case (but also more generally in this day and age), the rage was focused on the Catholic Church, but the Catholic Church is just one target. Rage might be focused on any number of outward objects: the rich or the poor; immigrants or established citizens; those of another race, or those of one’s own. It might be focused on those who abuse the environment or on those who wish to preserve nature. It might be focused on just about anything, anyone or any cause. The focus of the rage is immaterial; the rage is there, and it must be focused on something.

The solution to combatting rage may seem trite and superficial, but It is not. The answer is just as deep as rage itself: prayer. Through prayer – especially meditative and contemplative prayer – the deepest recesses of the heart are opened to the only thing that will cure this irrational rage: the Divine Mercy. The  Divine Mercy is simply the overwhelming and eternal love of God. Through prayer, this sacred power sweeps into the far reaches of the human heart to solve the problems and salve the wound.

The practice of Christian prayer is practical, and its effects transformative. It is the witness of millions that prayer brings peace to the soul. Prayer calms the troubled heart and brings reconciliation, healing, and light to the human person caught up in the maelstrom of rage. Prayer also brings a specially graced lightness of being; it puts things in order and allows a person to be at peace, knowing that the terrifying beast of rage is at last calmed and tamed.

Fr. Dwight Longenecker is parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Greenville, South Carolina. He is the author of Praying the Rosary for Inner Healing and many other books. Visit his blog, subscribe to his newsletter, and browse his books at
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