“What a wretched person I am….Who can free me…?” (Romans 7:24)
My mental musings took me on a strange route today. They wandered into the dark valley of violence. We are constantly being assaulted with the sights and sounds of violence: child and spousal abuse, violence on our streets, violence in the media and in the areas of conflict in our world. There was 9/11, there are the atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in this country, even incidents of children killing children. These acts of violence are so dreadful they defy comprehension. Talk shows capitalize on them and neatly classify them into categories of sexual, physical, psychological, verbal, and/or emotional abuse.
Suddenly my musings took a sharp turn and I faced some of the ways I behave violently. Violence is not all “out there”! For example, there is the chaos created in my life when I have a “bad day”; when I retort angrily to someone; when I cut others off in a disagreement or when I burden them with exaggerated expectations. However, others are not the only recipients of my violence; sometimes it is directed at myself. I place unreasonable expectations on myself and follow them up with subtle “put downs” if I fail to measure up to my own demands.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto yours!
—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.|