November 2023: "A Light in the Darkness"

Michael A. Marinelli, Ed.D. '76
Dear Friends,

One of my favorite psalms is Psalm 119, which proclaims, “Our heart is restless until it finds its rest in You.” Saint Augustine prayed the words of this psalm and in his Confessions, he states, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” As I grow older and experience many joys and sorrows in life, I truly hold on to the belief that we will only find rest in the Lord. And what does that mean? For me, it means, to some degree that we can, to let go of the tangible measurable things we worry about each day. It is developing a perspective that takes in the widest view of the world and the human condition that our minds can handle.

One of my favorite musical arrangements of this psalm is by Bernadette Farrell, so much so, that it was the psalm that we chose for my mother’s funeral Mass. I especially like to reflect on the phrase, “Teach us to know our life’s shortness that we may gain true wisdom of heart.” Wisdom is one of our core values that we celebrate at Archmere. Much more than knowledge, wisdom is tempered with good judgment and ethics, allowing us to use the intellect that we have developed for the betterment of all, not just ourselves.

Continuing my reflection from my September letter, I enjoy being back in the classroom because I really like our students (a distant reference to Sally Field when she accepted her Oscar), and I am so impressed with our students and their level of maturity. I truly believe that Archmere is a special place where our parents and teachers work together to support our students who continually surprise me with their compassion and sophisticated understanding of so many things, including the world events that are unfolding around us and challenge our optimism.

I like to think that Archmere is a place of new hope, new energy, goodness . . . and a sacred place, much like the place God declared to Moses at the burning bush, ‘“Do not come any closer,’ God said. ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.’” (Ex. 3:5) This began the journey of the Israelites to the Promised Land, and in many ways, I believe that Archmere is a pathway to successful careers and lives for our students. We are so fortunate to be able to share and express our faith and beliefs, inviting collaboration, diversity, and differences of opinion to co-exist. Contrary to the polarization of people and ideologies that has increased in our world and in our nation, we have the refreshing ability
within our Archmere community to have civil dialog and at the end, come to compromise or respectful difference. This is a gift of the Holy Spirit acting in and through each member of the Archmere community. I am so grateful for the collective belief In our mission and in our work to provide a place where students can grow and imagine.

The fall is a season when we lament the long, warm days of summer, and prepare for the shorter winter days, brightened by the celebrations of Thanksgiving and Christmas. The beginning rituals of the new school year are over, and, in a flash, we arrive at the end of a semester and the start of a new one. In a school setting, the passage of time is more pronounced because of the distinctive nature of each school season. I have always enjoyed the academic calendar because of the punctuation of seasons, which, in turn, has made me ever aware of the wisdom of the psalmist, “Our heart is restless until is finds its rest in You.” While I believe that our complete rest in the Lord will happen in our next life, I do believe that
we can find “rest in the Lord” in this life through our intentional words and actions that represent the goodness of God, the mission of his Son, and the presence of the Holy Spirit in the world. Archmere is a “light in the darkness.” It is a place from which people can leave and transform the world around us.
Archmere Academy is a private, Catholic, college preparatory co-educational academy,
grades 9-12 founded in 1932 by the Norbertine Fathers.