Friday 29 November 2019

The walls are still bare, but that’s okay

Recently, I purchased some very Ignatian art for the Therry Building. More on that next week, but I’ve been working with various staff members to try to hang it up in the most appropriate way, since they’re big pieces and there are 11 works in the series. We had agreed on the whats and wheres of where things were to go, but after we finalised those decisions, a week went by and they weren’t up. Then a second week went by. I was anxious that they were up before the end of the year and now time was closing in on us. I went back and checked with one staff member about why they weren’t being hung. The reason is one of the most Ignatian reasons I could have imagined; the member of the facilities and maintenance team that is responsible for hanging much of the art was off on duty fighting the bushfires that have been punishing so much of New South Wales.

Ignatian Spirituality is always about service and always about the greater good; that line between good and better. I cannot imagine a better reason for our walls to remain unadorned than one of our staff members serving the wider Australian community by being a volunteer firefighter. That’s what it means to be a member of this community – to seek service and to seek greater service.


That’s Dora (The Explorer), the lead dog who is hamming for the camera. She was a delight and a wonder to work with. And she was a very good leader. Fish, (immediately behind Dora), on the other hand, was a psycho head-case who kept biting the snow whenever he wasn’t allowed to be pulling the sled.

Keeping a diverse group together and keeping everyone moving in the same direction is a big challenge, and it’s a lot more natural for some people than others. But knowing the people you’re working and playing with and understanding how to keep them going is a study in the art of caring. When to growl, when to bark and when to just let ’em run; listen to what your friends, relatives and team mates need right now, and you’ll have a good long run.

Can you spend a few minutes today being grateful for the many ways people around you serve?

Fr Jack McLain SJ