HEART AND MIND - €œSaints €“ the Incarnation of Jesus"

Even though Pope Benedict XVI canonised St Mary of the Cross MacKillop in Rome on the 17th of October this year it is still very fresh in our minds and hearts.

As we reflect on the life of St Mary of the Cross we see how she connected to a variety of people. Her relationships extended beyond family and the Church to Jews and Protestants. In fact we know the Jewish family of Emanuel Solomon and a Protestant woman Joanna Barr-Smith were very close and supportive friends. She still connects to people around Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Ireland, Peru, Timor Leste and goodness knows where. She connects us, I believe, very much to the feast of Christmas.

Mystagogia is a strange word that is gradually returning to the Christian vocabulary. (it means '€œgoing deeper into the mysteries'€ '€“ that is, into the truths of the faith).Mystagogia described the ancient custom of spending the first week of Easter with the newly baptised, helping them experience the depths of the truths they had accepted in their Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.

Wherever you go in our country you see the big '€œM'€sign for McDonalds. Today I saw a sign on a bench seat, by a roadside '€œM'€“ 2 mins'€.‚‚  It is always so simple, and yet so effective.‚‚  You are easily tempted to drive the two minutes to sample something from this worldwide chain of fast food.

I think from time to time '€œIf only we could market our faith and church as effectively'€.‚‚  We certainly would have our young people coming in droves.

For sixteen years now I have been visiting the Pilbara Parishes bi-annually, being away for some six weeks at a time. I have just returned to Geraldton from one such Pastoral Visit.

The development in the north continues €“ oil, gas and iron ore production keep growing at a phenomenal rate as well as allied and other industries. Connected to this are the inevitable long working hours. The hours have grown to the limit. While there are many variations of working shifts, the hours of work are still long.

The tragedy in New York and Washington on September 11 was immense. Paradoxically so, too, was its effect for good in the Untied States and the World. Countless people displayed moral courage and selflessness in a world where there is also so much self-centredness. People in the States and around the world were united by heartfelt prayer.

Easter is so rich, and so deep, and in connection to our lives it is so varied that it is not easy to write a short message. We are truly blessed, because year after year as we celebrate the great mystery of Easter in the Liturgy, we become slowly and surely more immersed into this saving action of God. In this way Jesus himself can do more for us than any words could teach or persuade.

For more than a year those involved in World Youth Day 2008 have been using the catchy buzz word Activ8. It refers to verse 8 from chapter one in the Acts of the Apostles.

€˜You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses.€™(Acts 1:8)

Our young people, organisers of WYD08 and many others I am sure have been reflecting on this very special verse. Since we are in the Season of Pentecost it is well that we give some time to reflect on the meaning of this special verse.

Occasionally in this column I have written on some aspects of the Eucharist. There is so much we can say and reflect about on this rich gift that we have in our Catholic Church. Some time ago I received a letter of appreciation about one of these articles. The person asked if I could one day write something on the Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.