Lenten Devotional - Faculty Reflection

February 21, 2018
In the First Principle and Foundation of his Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius instructs us that “we are to use the things of this world only to the extent that they help us to praise, reverence, and serve God, and we ought to rid ourselves of the things of this world to the extent that they get in the way of this end.” These things won’t be the same for all of us, and Lent offers us a time to take inventory of the roles certain objects, habits, or thoughts play in our relationship with God. In other words, Lent can be a time when we practice this Jesuit ideal of indifference most intentionally.
Read below Martha Serpas’ poem, “The Discipline of Non-Fulfillment for and after Margaret A. Farley,” which addresses the Easter season and the practice of the faith in similar ways as Ignatius did when discussing indifference.

The Discipline of Non-Fulfillment
for and after Margaret A. Farley

Eastertide, Margaret, and all
That we’ve given up comes back
To us at once, chicken and

Sausage gumbo, twelve-packs of Dixie,
Picayunes, and the man-god builder
Of trawl boards who frees bird dogs

And coons from steel jaws.
At once the humid air rolls back
And northern light pours through.

Girls in pastel dresses spin, petals
To relieve pink azaleas
Of carrying the day

On their own. A crowded
Sea of greens, innocent water
Wedged by shorn banks below.

Eastertide, Margaret, and tide
Means something different here,
But wouldn’t you say it’s the same

Sweeping abundance overtaking
Shoals and inlets, joining lake and bay,
Drowning everything in between?

Don’t answer. I’ll focus on some small
Thing, a blue heron lifting from brown stubble,
Light off bleached barnacles, helicopter blades

Beating the marsh into submission.
No action hero will rappel down
In camouflage or lab white

To sew together the last scraps
Of duckweed and spoil, like the
Discipline of non-fulfillment,

You offered from the pulpit
Years ago, as if you were explaining
The abbreviated life of dogs

To children, laying a still,
Furry body down in its damp
Space and closing up the hole.

by Martha Serpas
from The Dirty Side of the Storm (W. W. Norton)

Serpas will deliver a poetry reading on campus tomorrow, Wednesday, February 21, from 5:00-6:30pm, in Leahy Hall’s Kane Forum (2nd floor) as a guest of the University Reading Series in the Department of English & Theatre, the Jesuit Center, the Ellacuria Initiative, and the Department of Theology & Religious Studies. All are welcome to join us.
Teresa Grettano, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Dept. of English & Theatre
Director of First-Year Writing
Fill me with your goodness Lord, just as you fill all of creation with your marvelous animating Spirit.
To read more Lenten Devotionals, go here.
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