Dean of Identity | Mr Charles Brauer
“Never see a need without doing something about it.”
We can attribute these wise and pragmatic words to Mary MacKillop (St Mary of The Cross), founder of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart and whose feast day we celebrated on Tuesday. Mary MacKillop truly understood the needs of our society 150 years ago. The legacy of her response to these needs is the Sisters of St Joseph, who today are a robust group of women working in Australia, New Zealand, East Timor, Ireland, Peru and Brazil, following in Mary’s footsteps doing a wide variety of works, revealing to all the hospitable heart of God. Most significantly, St Mary of The Cross animates “the Way” of the cross”.
Fr Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest and a globally recognized ecumenical teacher, articulates “the Way” of the cross perfectly - Jesus is a person and, at the same time, a process. Jesus is the Son of God, but he is also “the Way”—the way of the cross. He’s the goal and the means. Mary MacKillop lived this. How can we live “the Way”?
“The Way” of the cross may evoke within us a need to be on a journey of ascension to divinity. Some, including Fr Richard Rohr, would argue the complete opposite. To become more Christ like we may need to descend towards an emptying of one’s self, towards total acceptance of not being in control and towards an ever-humbler approach to life. Fr Richard Rohr further explores “the Way” in the statement below:
If our life in Christ means anything to you, if love can persuade at all, or the Spirit that we have in common, or any tenderness and sympathy, then be united in your convictions and united in your love, with a common purpose and a common mind. . . . In your minds you must be the same as Christ Jesus.
As Australians, we are masters of the understatement while also being very proud people. As we ponder how we might follow “the Way” of the cross, let’s not underestimate our first and only saint and be proud of the legacy of Mary Mackillop and the role that she and her followers have played, and continue to play in doing something when a need is seen. Another expression of “the Way”.