What are we searching for?

Have you seen the Indiana Jones movies with Harrison Ford? The first one was titled Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and others included Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones, an intrepid archaeologist, is in a race to find a religious relic called The Ark of the Covenant with the bad guys (the Nazis) who want it to conquer the world. Historically the Ark is known to hold the two tablets with the Ten Commandments, the rod or staff from Aaron, carried by Moses to separate the Red Sea in their escape from Egypt and Mana, a food given from God which sustained the Israelites when they journeyed through the desert. The Ark was purported to have God’s power and both were after this power for different reasons. Jewish history states that the Ark was lost sometime around 562 BC when the temple in Jerusalem was raided by the Babylonians.

The quest and search for the Lost Ark or the covenant of God is interesting. In fact, human nature suggests that we are all searching for something. This got me thinking more deeply over the weekend that time is passing so quickly and if you do not pause and reflect, all that seems to happen is just a blur of events that probably don’t matter. As a Marist educator and being committed to the characteristics of living in the way of Mary, I felt more of an obligation to pause last Thursday at the feast day of the Assumption of Mary into heaven. Mary’s virtues as a model of Mother to Jesus is such a powerful expression that I like to connect with. It was this connection I saw in my own mother and my mother in law. A deep love of their children and grandchildren, a selfless approach to life, lived in simplicity and always present at times which mattered the most – the deep value of family, the importance of work, the dignity of being able to work and contribute to family and society. This is the very foundation of being Marist and to live the gospels with Jesus Christ at the centre of our faith.

You might think this is just all a bit too heavy, but in practical ways I see this unfold each day. Last Thursday, I had dinner with students at the Marist Camp. I was in awe at the amazing care and passion the staff have for these beautiful children, who for each one of them, it was the very first time they had ever been away from home. Their commitment to making that camp an amazing experience was unbelievable considering the constant demand and care needed.

On the weekend, I saw a number of teams play sport. One team has not yet won a game this season, but what I saw was courage, commitment and heart. Yes, heart focussed on not the end score of the game but what each can learn from each game personally.

Unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said for me as I ventured to the Adelaide Oval to see my football team, the Adelaide Crows getting a lesson from Collingwood. I walked away in deep disappointment that whatever I had hoped for, quickly vaporised at the end of the season. Yes we are all searching for something, a flag for our football team, greater fitness, a cure for a disease or perhaps winning the X-Lotto. What I have found life-giving has been the search for happiness, fundamentally everyone is searching for happiness and for Christians that is knowing Jesus Christ and gospel values that make our relationships with one another and with God rich and full.

Dr Paul Rijken is principal of Cardijn College, a Catholic secondary co-educational school (7-12) in the southern region of Adelaide with a total of 1120 students and 140 staff. Marcellin is a campus of Cardijn College. It provides students in Years 10 to 12 with SACE, training and apprenticeships. It has an enrolment of over 155 students and 30 staff. Paul has been the principal at Cardijn College since 2005. He has a Ph.D. from Curtin University in Science and Mathematics Education. He is a Fellow of the Australian College of Educational Leaders.

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