Instruments of Freedom

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Instruments of Freedom

…you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.  (John 8:32)

            We Americans cherish our freedom, but freedom without discipline is a mere chimera.  The term “liberation,” when it refers to eliminating social evils so that others can live in freedom and security, is a noble aspiration.  However, in order to do this, we must first do the necessary foot-work: we must be free ourselves before we can be instruments of freedom for others.  How often we experience a lack of freedom!  We are slaves of power, money, drugs, clothes, food, prestige, what others think, our own way of doing things.  Sometimes our slavery can extend to less obvious things: to our friends, devotions, work, or even to our striving for perfection.              St. Paul voices this universal problem when he exclaims, “What a wretched person I am!  Who can free me from this body under the power of death?” (Rom. 7:24). In the next breath, he supplies his own answer: “…the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has freed us from the law of sin and death” (Rom: 8:2). This freedom allows us to experience life as it is meant to be experienced, at its deepest level—in God. It is more than freedom of bodily movement, and it was all purchased through Jesus’ painful death. We must also expect to experience some pain in being such an instrument.

Jesus, thank You for giving me freedom; help me to use it to benefit others.

—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.


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“Listen carefully, my child, to your master's precepts, and incline the ear of your heart. Receive willingly and carry out effectively your loving father's advice, that by the labor of obedience you may return to Him from whom you had departed by the sloth of disobedience.”
–St. Benedict of Nursia, The Rule of Saint Benedict