Principal's Blog - 9 March 2017

06 Mar 2017

Dear Members of the Marcellin College Family,

I have always been a bit of an Indiana Jones fan.  I’m not exactly sure why.  It could be the cinematic genius of Spielberg, the escapist, swashbuckling nature of the screenplays or the simple fact that good always seems to triumph in the end.  It could also be because the story lines often seem to have a religious context at their heart.  I’m sure we can all recall our favourite scene or line from these iconic movies.  Mine comes from the third of the four films – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

The scene I most appreciate is the moment when Indiana is close to discovering the Holy Grail.  The final obstacle is a wide and deep chasm which he must cross to reach his goal.  The chasm is too wide for Indiana to cross but his guidebook tells him that if he wishes to conquer this obstacle he needs to make a leap of faith.  Indiana closes the book and his eyes, takes a deep breath and steps out into the abyss only to find that he is standing on firm ground. Indiana lets out a large sigh of relief as I recall the first time I saw it.

I was reminded of this scene on last week’s Year 7 Camp.  I was blessed to spend a day with a very excited and enthusiastic group of Year 7 boys as they participated in the broad, exciting and challenging camp program at Lake Dewar YMCA camp, ably supported by Marcellin and YMCA staff along with our wonderful old collegians.

One of the most popular and challenging of the activities presented to the students is the flying fox. This is no ordinary playground zip line.  This is the real deal, over 100 metres in length and skimming the edge of a deep gorge, a formidable sight as one prepares to step off the platform into thin air.

I was fortunate to be there as a group of boys prepared to meet this challenge.  Whilst for some this challenge was met with excitement, for others mild trepidation, others it was simply fear and anxiety.  As with all activities on this camp, there is a broad philosophy which the staff adopt in assisting the boys to experience this encounter.  Staff openly challenge each boy to go as far as he can in achieving a goal and celebrate their achievement; whatever that may be for them individually.  In the case of the flying fox for some boys just stepping into the harness is an achievement.  For others walking out onto the platform is a feat of courage.  Others again step off the platform but hold the rope tightly while others let go and allow the zip line to carry them safely down.

I happened to encounter one young man who appeared quite nervous at the prospect of leaping from a perfectly good platform – looking over the edge myself, I couldn’t blame him!  He had achieved so much just by putting on the harness and climbing the stairs to the platform.  After watching the other boys sail down the flying fox I suggested that if he was willing to have a go I would have a go too.  He seemed to like this idea.  However before I could fulfill my promise another of the Year 7 boys stepped forward and said that he would go with our reluctant friend.  The boy appeared to like this suggestion better, and before we all knew it my young friend was sailing down the line next to his mate.  Unfortunately, as I was already harnessed up the other boys insisted that I too need to experience the ride!

As we trudged back up the hill after our experience the young man turned to me and said “I’m glad I gave it a go”. Like Indiana he made the leap of faith and was rewarded for his courage.  Every day each of us faces our own leaps of faith.  They may not be as dramatic as the brave young Marcellin student but that does not make them any less significant.  It is true also, that our leaps may not always be met by triumph and success, but that is the excitement of life.  At moments which require this figurative leap I reflect on those around me, those who encourage, support and love me no matter what the outcome, and challenge me to be the best I can be.  I reflect too on my faith – the ultimate leap.  It is at these moments when I pray, when I rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to guide and support me, even when I fail.

As we all navigate our way through Lent, the time of preparation for the death and resurrection of Jesus, perhaps each of us can tackle our own ‘leaps of faith’.  May, like my intrepid friend, we all say “I’m glad I gave it a go!”.

Mark Murphy