Saint Mary of the Cross (Feast 8th August)

“Jesus is too strong, too beautiful, and his merits too great, for me not to cling to him.”

Although her parents were from Scotland, Mary MacKillop was born in Australia in 1842. She was the eldest of eight children and was well educated by her father. Sadly, he got sick which meant that, at 16, Mary had to get a job to help take care of her family. She became a teacher and looked after poor children in the outback.

That was just the beginning because young women came to join Mary and you guys know the rest of the story! In all this she learnt what Jesus tells us in the Gospel. He says not to worry about your life and what you are to eat. Just set your heart on God’s kingdom and all that you need will be given to you. And because Mary MacKillop set her heart on God’s kingdom, everything worked out well because God always looks after us! 

God loves us and wants to look after us if we can just say yes to God. It was Mary’s humility that made her able to say yes to the will of God. And she did this with great joy.

Mary MacKillop learnt from St Joseph that humility is grounded in submission to the will of God. After all, didn’t God create us – so God should know what’s best for us. And that humility is accompanied by a sweet and thoughtful charity because once we realise how grateful we should be to God, we are filled with thankfulness and love (which is what charity is).

Another big point is that, according to Mary MacKillop, a humble person doesn’t worry about the way other people think about them, rather they put the needs of those people first. You see, humble people only worry about what God thinks! Just like Jesus asked, Mary set her heart on God’s kingdom first.

She taught ‘humility is not an optional extra,’ but is the necessary foundation for a well-grounded spiritual life. And she is right as the Church says that humility is the foundation of all the other virtues. In a wonderful way humility allows us to do nothing out of selfish ambition but rather, to value others above ourselves (Philippians 2:3).

Let’s sum-up! First, humility teaches us: Everything is not about you!!! Oh boy, that is one lesson Mary MacKillop wants us to learn today. Humility helps us realise that God is looking after us – that’s the other lesson!

So, set your heart on God’s kingdom and all that you need will be given to you. To do this, let’s say with Mary these humble words: Yes, dear Lord, I set my heart on you 😊 

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A reading from a letter of Mary MacKillop to Monsignor Kirby (1874)

Oh, Father, I cannot tell you what a beautiful thing the will of God seems to me. For some years past, my Communions, my prayers, my intentions have all been for God's will to be done. I can never pray for a particular intention, a particular person, or anything particular about our own Institute, but in God's loved will, that is - whilst I desire with all my heart to pray for these, I cannot help at the same time desiring that He only use my prayers for the intention that His own will most desires at this time. Thus I feel a joy when things go well, for I see His will in this, and an equal joy when they seem to go wrong or against our natural desire, for there again I see His will, and am satisfied that He has accepted my prayers and those of many more for some other object at the time nearer to His adorable will.

To me, the will of God is a dear book which I am never tired of reading, which has always some new charm for me. Nothing is too little to be noticed there, but yet my littleness and nothingness has often dared to oppose it, and I am painfully conscious that in many ways I still in my tepidity offend against it without perceiving what I am doing. But such dear lessons as you gave me the other evening then come to my aid and encourage me, for the love of my sweet Jesus is too strong, too beautiful, and His merits too great, for me not to cling to Him.