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Archbishop Costelloe speaks at the 26th annual FMI Congress


Archbishop Timothy Costelloe last weekend highlighted the importance of bringing Jesus to the very centre of our existence as he spoke on the theme, Way, Truth, Life at the 26th annual Flame Ministries International (FMI) Congress. Photo: Richard Cooke.

By Marco Ceccarelli

Archbishop Timothy Costelloe last weekend highlighted the importance of bringing Jesus to the very centre of our existence as he spoke on the theme, Way, Truth, Life at the 26th annual Flame Ministries International (FMI) Congress, held from 22 to 24 January 2016.

Reflecting on FMI founder Eddie Russell’s invitation to all attendees to not just to listen with their ears but with their hearts (taken from the rule of St Benedict’s “Listen with the ears of your heart”), Archbishop Costelloe encouraged all those present to be excited about the “new” way in which Holy Spirit might lead them to hear something they may have heard already.

“God speaks to us over and over again, in one sense always saying the same thing. And the thing he says is his Word - Jesus.

“If we think about Jesus as the way, as the truth or as the life, we are really thinking of the one truth from a different perspective each time,” the Archbishop said.

In order to emphasise the importance of “hearing” or “listening to” Jesus, Archbishop Costelloe referred back to the time of his Priestly ordination when he was asked to choose a motto. At the time he chose “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”

However, rather than dwell on the significance of this particular motto, the Archbishop went on to speak of the new motto he chose when he was appointed Archbishop of Perth: Via Veritas Vita, meaning: The Way, the Truth and the Life.

Explaining why he made this choice, the Archbishop pointed to a section in John Paul II’s 2001 apostolic letter Novo Millennio Ineunte (The Dawn of the New Millennium) which reads “Our witness [to Christ], however, would be hopelessly inadequate if we ourselves had not first contemplated his face.”

“Contemplate the face of Christ,” Archbishop Costelloe encouraged his listeners. “Rediscover who Christ is, come back to Him, start afresh from Him, and then you may be in a position to actually know what the Spirit is calling us to do in the face of all the challenges that confront us.”

Yet what often stands in the way of our ability to understand the call of the Spirit, the Archbishop said, are the distracting day-to-day cares of life.

“The issue we face is that we tend to get caught up in so many things within our lives that somehow, in spite of what we say, Jesus gets put to the side. Is he really our Way? Our Truth? Our Life? Is he? That is why I changed my episcopal motto,” the Archbishop added.

Speaking on the need for the faithful to put Jesus at the heart of everything “not just in theory, but in practice,” the Archbishop added a crucial reminder: “If we are going to gaze at the face of Christ, to start afresh from him, then we must make sure that it is the real Jesus that we are gazing at.”

He also warned of the tendency we may have to attribute certain features to Jesus which are more reflective of our own desires than they are of his will for our lives.

“We must be aware of the tendency of becoming over-confident in our faith and becoming sure that Jesus agrees with us in all that we do. Of course we want to put Christ back into what we do but the real question is: do I really know this Christ that I say I want to put back at the heart of my life?

“As St Paul says, ‘do I have in my mind the mind of Jesus’? Much of what I am saying tonight is an invitation to humility in our faith,” he said.

Archbishop Costelloe concluded by inviting those present to continue asking themselves “who is this Jesus really?” and particularly in this Year of Mercy, “who is this Jesus who according to Pope Francis is the face of the Father’s mercy?”

Referring to yet another motto of ‘The Way Forward’ initiative launched in the Perth Archdiocese last year, which is “Let us walk together in the footsteps of the Good Shepherd,” the Archbishop explained that this means “walking behind Jesus, doing our best to take on His mind and His heart so we can speak with His voice, love with His heart, and be His disciples. This is the Jesus who is inviting us to walk in His way, so He can be our life.

“We are called to be large hearted people, who will thus be able to follow Jesus on the path he has laid out for us,” he concluded.

Flame Ministries International is an Association of Catholic Evangelists and Preachers and an authorised Association of Christ’s Faithful of the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth, Western Australia.

Founded in January 1990, the organisation preaches from the Word of God, writes and publishes Bible Seminars, Books, Podcasts, Videos, DVD Programs, Live WebCasts, and Music. It also presents an Annual Flame Congress, Weekly Praise Meetings, Parish Missions and Conference Speaking.