Harsh words are exchanged. Frustrations mount. A door is slammed! Paste this passage from Romans on your bathroom mirror. It accurately describes what happens when I lose my temper and injure a relationship … long-standing or brand new. As I begin to cool down, I say to myself: “What was I thinking?” “If only I could take back those words.” But of course the damage is done.

Paul accurately describes that interior battle between how I want to act and how I actually respond, especially in moments of high emotion. It is that inner struggle between emotion and reason that I need to own and manage. I need to develop a strategy for cooling my jets, for calming my emotions. I need to step back, take a deep breath, and still my beating heart. I need a “time out!”

Perhaps this is a good day to reflect on the situation Paul describes. How do I respond when my emotions go crazy? Take some time today to make a plan, to rehearse some words to use when I “lose it.” Open your mind and your heart to God in peace. Listen and speak!

—The Jesuit prayer team from the Jesuit Community at St. Camillus in Wauwatosa, WI.