Those who watch TV frequently might have their sensitivity to absurdity rewarded. I remember watching a newscast portraying in strong audiovisual staccato: “We are on the verge of a depression. Inflation is the number one problem of our nation. The only thing that will save us from the brink is to tighten our belts and embark on an austerity program.”
These dire predictions were interrupted for a few moments by a clever commercial offering bargain prices in the choice of cars our family must own if it is to live an ordinary life of fulfillment in today’s world. A quick switch back to the news and I was faced with the latest atrocities in Syria and a pictorial account of the 100% crop failure sustained in some areas of Midwest USA. The same disaster was predicted for this summer. Before my eyes and mind had time to assimilate what I had viewed, I was jarred back into another commercial depicting the only kind of food Fido must have in order to lead a decent dog’s life.
Funny? Well, maybe, but perhaps we need that kind of an experience once in a while. It made me ask if I have similar inconsistencies operating in my own life. It is always good, periodically, to reassess my own values and do something about them. For example I say prayer is my highest value. Do I really give it time? Do I pray regularly? And when actually at prayer, am I really praying? These and other searching questions about the things I say are top priorities in my life challenge me to see if I actually conform to what I claim are my values. Could it be the same with you?
—Sister Mary E. Penrose, OSB
|Sister Mary E. Penrose is a Sister of St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota. She edits readings for the liturgical Hours and writes reflections for the Community. And she is a tutor for the African Sisters attending The College of St. Scholastica. She was editor of a journal, Spirit & Life, for 18 years.|