I kept running across EWTN Live while watching TV last week. It featured Fr. Thomas Dubay as the guest talking about a new series he filmed called "Deep Conversion/Deep Prayer." During his conversation with Fr. Pacwa, they discussed, in response to audience questions, the difference between emotions and will in reference to sin.
In summary, a felt emotion is not a sin. A willed dwelling on it can become sin, as well as the acting-out of the emotion. So, I can feel impatient, and snap at someone. Sin. I can feel impatient, and think murderous thoughts about the person, reviewing the "shoulda woulda coulda's" of how I think the conversation should have gone. Sin. Or I can feel impatient and set it aside or offer it up or blow it off. No sin.
I realized a mistake I've been making lately. While I'm at least mature enough not to ask God to make the other person not so thoroughly irritating (!), I have not asked God for help to recognize the emotion and deal with it internally, instantly and in charity. Instead, I have been asking Him to make me not impatient. It's as though I feel unable to control the progression of emotion-to-will-to-action.
Better it would be if I would recognize that I will be impatient, and to see it, smile at it (internally, or I'd be smiling like a loon all day) and set it aside in gratitude for the Peace that passeth all understanding.
How do you short-circuit that path in yourself?
1 hour ago