What habits, practices, words, or responses did Saints have for dealing with hot-tempered people and provocation?
St. Francis de Sales whipped out his sword and fought them off at least once.
That’s probably not the type of thing you’re looking for though.
Here are a couple different options:
To avoid dissensions we should be ever on our guard, more especially with those who drive us to argue with them, with those who vex and irritate us, and who say things likely to excite us to anger. When we find ourselves in company with quarrelsome, eccentric individuals, people who openly and unblushingly say the most shocking things, difficult to put up with, we should take refuge in silence, and the wisest plan is not to reply to people whose behavior is so preposterous. Those who insult us and treat us contumeliously are anxious for a spiteful and sarcastic reply: the silence we then affect disheartens them, and they cannot avoid showing their vexation; they do all they can to provoke us and to elicit a reply, but the best way to baffle them is to say nothing, refuse to argue with them, and to leave them to chew the cud of their hasty anger. This method of bringing down their pride disarms them, and shows them plainly that we slight and despise them.
St. Anthony Mary Claret:
Tell me, if you had a very dear brother who was so sick that he was delirious and in his fever insulted you and said every foul thing in the world to you, would you abandon him? I’m sure you wouldn’t. You’d feel all the more sorry for him and do everything you could for his recovery. Well, that’s the way I feel about sinners. The poor creatures are just delirious. That makes them all the more deserving of compassion. I can’t abandon them. I have to work for their salvation and pray to God for them, saying with Jesus Christ, "Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing or saying.’'
Padre Pio was known to have a hot temper himself.
Saints had their flaws, but what makes them Saints is their devotion to God and doing God’s will.
Remember, they weren’t declared saints until they went to heaven and canonized by the Church.
Most of the saints are remembered for some outstanding virtue or devotion which they practiced, but Jerome is frequently remembered for his bad temper! It is true that he had a very bad temper and could use a vitriolic pen, but his love for God and his son Jesus Christ was extraordinarily intense; anyone who taught error was an enemy of God and truth, and Saint Jerome went after him or her with his mighty and sometimes sarcastic pen.
Jerome was a strong, outspoken man. He had the virtues and the unpleasant fruits of being a fearless critic and all the usual moral problems of a man. He was, as someone has said, no admirer of moderation whether in virtue or against evil. He was swift to anger, but also swift to feel remorse, even more severe on his own shortcomings than on those of others. A pope is said to have remarked, on seeing a picture of Jerome striking his breast with a stone, “You do well to carry that stone, for without it the Church would never have canonized you”
Righteous anger is not a sin. Even Christ got angry. John 2:15
Here’s what Mother Angelica (future saint?) said about St. Jerome:
“St. Jerome had a terrible temper. He would hit himself with a rock every time he lost his temper. I’d be dead as a doornail, with no ribs, if I did that.”
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