Breaking the Barriers

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Breaking the Barriers

          By now any seeds you planted this spring have probably sprouted and the life of each has managed to push its young plant up out of the earth, reaching for those open spaces which will allow it to develop most fully. If you have ever planted radishes and noticed the veritable earthquake their pushing makes a few days after planting, you will know what I mean. This breaking of barriers is found in most of life’s situations. Think of the times the transcendent voice of the Lord managed to reach hearts despite all the coughing, nose blowing, and cries of children in the parish church on a Sunday morning!  We are aware, today more than ever, of the strong and sometimes not-so-strong voices of freedom-loving people trying to break through various modern forms of oppression.

          Constant exposure to conditions unfavorable to growth can, however, have adverse effects when unexpected or hidden barriers appear on the scene. Some plants never reach the surface of the earth; others become misshapen as they grope about trying to find their way around a rock or the root of a tree. With the fast- growing improvements of medical science we are sometimes dismayed to find that even the most sophisticated antibiotics are unable to cure a stubborn infection. Think also of the voices of freedom which are silenced by military means. And in the field of spirituality sometimes even the Lord cannot penetrate a hardened heart. As Paul Tillich once said, “All of us stand between the fascination of life and the anxiety of death, and sometimes between the anxiety of life and the fascination of death.”

          Are there any breakable barriers in our own lives? Let us vigorously break them down!

—Sister Mary E. Penrose, OSB




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.


Posted in Reflections, Uncategorized

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“Our greatest fulfillment lies in giving ourselves to others.”
–Henri Nouwen