Thursday, 29 May 2008

A reflection on the World Youth Day Cross.

The World Youth Day Cross, Icon and Message Stick came to the Mary MacKillop Heritage Centre on May 2.
Mary MacKillop showed us that the Cross-need not be a burden in life but a blessing, that by embracing life’s difficulties we can become united with God and with each other. So often the Cross-is talked about as an image of death and oppression and while it is those things it is so much more, it is the symbol of absolute love. The cross as a lone symbol means nothing, for it is what happens after we carry our Cross-that makes us who we are as follows of Christ. Like Jesus before her Mary MacKillop rose from the darkest hours of her life: from within the darkness of her crosses she found the love and light of God. And it is through the example of Mary MacKillop that we can find the courage to persevere through our dark moments, we can learn from her that we do not need to endure our challenges alone; when denied the presence of her Lord by Bishop Sheil; the Jesuits gave Mary MacKillop Mass. And what’s where World Youth Day comes into the picture for us.
It offers us the opportunity to be part of a community of people of the same generation, who face the same problems, who encounter the same challenges and that feeling of connection cannot be beaten. Until I joined Magis, one of many World Youth Day groups, I always felt a little at odds with my communities, in Church life I encountered a generation gap, in social life the gap was in religion; so there I was, always with this real sense of longing. That’s not to say those communities aren’t richly rewarding and aren’t apart of me all the same, but there was a space left within in me for something more. Since joining Magis that space has become smaller and smaller as I encounter more people like me, people of my own age who I can talk to about Jesus and Mary MacKillop in a shared language and shared culture. And it is in that way that the Cross-has become the Tree of Life for me, out of my challenges World Youth Day is taking root inside my faith journey and helping me branch out in new directions and so I encourage all of you to embrace your Crosses and allow Mary MacKillop to guide you on your path to World Youth Day.

For more information on the Journey of the Cross, Icon and Message Stick visit the World Youth Day Website. And keep up to date with visits the Cross makes to sacred Josephite spaces by reading the Mary MacKillop World Youth Day Newsletter.