Mary MacKillop’s Kindness
It is easy to be kind to people who treat us well. When we are given respect, respect flows naturally out of us. The real challenge for a Christian is to love like God loves, freely, respectfully, kindly. It was this divine love flowing out of Mary MacKillop that showed her to be a saint. Along with the kindness she showed in her service of the poor she was remarkably kind to those who treated her badly. When lied about, abused, treated with contempt, she always replied kindly trying to find excuses for people who acted badly.
This did not mean she was a pushover. Often when we are treated badly, we react badly in return, or we just swallow it down, feeling powerless to stand up to the injustice. Mary acted differently. When treated badly by a person, she tried to put the best motives on their actions, and then she acted creatively to counter the wrong being done. Note not the wrong being done to herself but rather to her sisters and their work for the poor. She was able to love the sinner but hate the sin. This takes wisdom – the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. It is a wisdom each of us needs and one for which we should often pray. Take some time this week to think of unjust situations in your life and, praying to Mary MacKillop, ask for guidance in how you can be kind and strong and creative in your response.
Sr Kym Harris
Mary MacKillop’s Courage
I often wonder how courage works. Because I so often feel like a coward, I marvel at people who can take physical risks or travel through dangerous countries alone. Too many “what if” scenarios would paralyse me. Yet when I look at the life of Mary MacKillop, I see a different courage in which all of us can share. In fact, many people we know live that type of courage on a daily basis.
All of us have dreams and ideals but life has a way of knocking off not only the shine off our dreams but even of dragging them through the dirt. Then we are tempted to give up. Courage is not just keeping our dreams but also adapting them to the new circumstances. Mary had that courage. Through rejection by her Church, problems within her own community, tragedy in her family, illness in her life, she carried on with her belief that simple, good education into the love of God and basic skills could transform the life of the poor. By the time she died, she and her sisters had become a force for transformation across two countries.
Most peoples’ dreams revolve around love and making life better for the people they love. Yet the circumstances of daily life seem to work against our ability to love. Illness, unemployment or too much work, the stresses of caring for different people or troublesome neighbours can undermine the buoyancy of our hearts. It is then we need the courage of a Mary MacKillop which faces these cares squarely and continues the dream of love.
Ever-loving God, your Holy Spirit inspires the dreams deep in my heart, especially the ones to love deeply my family. May Mary MacKillop’s example inspire me us into the ways of faithful love, especially when life gets tough. We ask this in Jesus’ name confident that you will hear us.
Sr Kym Harris osb