How many Australian saints are there? You may be thinking of Saint Mary of the Cross Mackillop as the only one. She is not the only one; there are many more Aussie saints. Till her canonisation in 2010 Mary Mackillop also was not known as a saint. Does that mean she became a saint only ten years ago? No. She lived an exemplary Christian life. Therefore, she was a saint always, even before her death. The Church, by canonising Mary Mackillop, has added her name to the official list of saintly people for others to learn how to make their life flourish through of faith. I can think of a lot of people who have led faith-filled and inspirational lives, but not canonised. Now that they are gone for their eternal reward, I consider them also saints in heaven. On the Solemnity of All Saints we are thanking God for the fellowship of all the saints, including those who are not in the official list of the Church.
How can you make your life as exemplary Christian? What are the characteristics of a saint? The passage in the Gospel of Matthew, commonly known as The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12), lists the attitudes of an ideal disciple of Christ. These gospel words teach us how to flourish in the Kingdom of God.
Saintly life starts with an aspiration for God. If you are poor in spirit, you know how much you need God in your life. Saints are gentle and they won’t be emotionally out of control. In fact they feel for others and mourn for misfortunes of others. A saint cannot be a passive person. A disciple of Christ would be thirsting and hungry for some cause and find fulfilment in standing up for it. That is what Jesus meant when he said, happy are those who hunger and thirst for the kingdom of heaven. Mary MacKillop was passionate about educating the poor children and providing them a Catholic upbringing. Saints can be identified in their response to the adversities in their life. Leila Abdallah, said about the drunken driver who killed her children in a car crash, “I do not hate him. That is not what we are. I forgive him.” As a disciple of Christ she knew that vengeance does not help her flourish in life. Not vengeance but mercy helps you to flourish in the kingdom of heaven. Those who grow in the Kingdom of Heaven are pure in heart. They are people of integrity whose actions correspond the faith they profess. Saints are peacemakers. Their hearts are set on a mission, ministry and purpose for which they are prepared to endure persecutions. We see these attitudes in many people. They are already saints though they have not finished their pilgrimage on earth. You too can flourish in your life by adopting these attitudes. Therefore, flourish in your life and help others flourish their lives.