Forgiving and Excusing Others: How Do I Rate?
If we’re serious about being followers of Jesus, then we have to be serious about forgiveness – of ourselves and others.

Although we’ve just embarked on the journey of 2019, we haven’t quite finished a journey we commenced in 2018.

This time last year, we began a journey with Jesus, which continued  monthly as we featured a reflection on one of the Stations of the Cross, with its connection to the life journey of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, and, in turn, our own lives. This  month, we reach the culmination of that journey. You are invited to be with Jesus at this 12th Station: Jesus dies on the Cross, pondering his utter selflessness, and also reflect on Mary MacKillop’s approach to suffering and ‘the Cross’, as both of their stories intersect with each of our own.

Station 12: Jesus Dies on the Cross

A suggestion:

  • First: reflect upon what is happening to Jesus in this twelfth Station
  • Next: ponder the Moments in the Life of Mary MacKillop
  • Finally: reflect upon how this links with your own life
 Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34

In his last moments of life Jesus asks God to forgive those who have so violently tortured him and unjustly condemned him to death on the cross. In this act of love Jesus reveals the true nature of the compassion of God. He invites all who would be a disciple to live out of this place of forgiveness and mercy. In the cross Jesus holds out the promise of a transformed way of living and being in a broken world.

Moments in the life of Mary MacKillop

 God’s love is best shown to us in times of aridity. Mary MacKillop 1870

The basis of Mary’s approach to suffering was the firm belief that God’s love would never let anything happen that would not be for the ultimate good of self and others.  She did not seek out suffering for its own sake but readily accepted it in faith.  She had an ongoing struggle with those in authority in the church but strove always to maintain respect for such individuals whilst maintaining the integrity of the Institute and its members.  Mary instructs her sisters, “Whilst speaking the truth to the Archbishop and doing what we can for our loved Institute and its rights, let no Sister worthy of the name yield to bitterness or want of charity in anything she may have to say about the Bishop or those concerned with the Visitation. ….Now more than ever we should be humble, patient and charitable and forgiving.  If we cannot excuse everything we should at least excuse the intention.”

Moments in My Life

  • How readily do I forgive others?
  • When have I built walls refusing to accept forgiveness?

Take a moment to reflect in silence upon these aspects of your life. Sometimes forgiving another is easier than accepting forgiveness, at other times forgiveness of another seems out of the question. Forgiveness is to follow Jesus, to heal the broken body of humanity.


Jesus you came to show us the way of forgiveness.  Your cry on the cross echoed your constant forgiveness of others during your life. Remind me to let go of unrealistic expectations of others and of the desire that they be other than themselves. May I be willing to play my part in healing the brokenness of humanity through my own willingness to forgive others.

Forgive me for the times when I lack compassion and close my heart to the needs of others.  Through the movement of your Spirit within me give me the strength to forgive over and over again. Lead me along the path of peace-making and love.

Download the print version of this reflection (PDF)

Stations of the Cross: A Journey with St Mary of the Cross MacKillop – Valerie De Brenni

© 2012 Trustees of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart

Available for purchase @ $7.95 from Mary MacKillop Place Bookshop, Mount Street, North Sydney, or online


Station 12: Mary MacKillop Memorial Chapel, North Sydney. Used with permission.
“Thorns” – Mary Ryan rsj. Used with permission.