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It is in our weaknesses that we find God’s grace, says Archbishop Hickey

By Theresia Titus

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Perth Archbishop Emeritus Barry Hickey spoke at 31st Annual Flame Ministries Congress on 16 January. Photo: Richard AF Cooke.

Perth Emeritus Archbishop Barry Hickey has spoken at the 31st Annual Flame Ministries Congress earlier this month, reminded participants that God is at work through our weaknesses.

Held over the weekend from 15 to 17 January at John XXIII College Theatre Hall, Mt Claremont took "Grace Triumphant" as their central theme.

Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB also spoke on 15 January, while Spiritual Director at Malaysian/Singaporean Catholic Community Australia Father Lucius Roy Pereira celebrated the Mass on Sunday.

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Spiritual Director at Malaysian/Singaporean Catholic Community Australia Father Lucius Roy Pereira celebrated the Mass on Sunday, 17 January. Photo: Richard AF Cooke.

FMI Senior Directors Kaye Rollings and Cyrus D'Souza also spoke during the event.

Using the second Letter of St Paul to the Corinthians, Emeritus Archbishop Hickey explained the paradox St Paul presented in the Letter, saying that St Paul's weaknesses are signs of God's grace and strength.

"St Paul was talking about the persecution he underwent when he was in prison. He's speaking of this beautiful encounter [he had with Jesus], and his conversion on the way to Damascus, [and] that encounter with Jesus changed his life completely," Emeritus Archbishop Hickey said.

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FMI Senior Director Cyrus D'Souza. Photo: Richard AF Cooke.

"It seems he got great gifts and gifts of understanding, gifts of wisdom and knowledge of what Jesus said and stood for, preached Christ. And his intimate connection with Christ is the reason why he underwent his persecution."

Emeritus Archbishop Hickey expressed that instead of boasting his strengths, St Paul chose to brag his weaknesses and flaws as it is in his adequacies, St Paul humbled himself and allowed for God's power to be fully manifested in him.

During his speech, Emeritus Archbishop Hickey also used the Gospel of Matthew and his personal experiences, inviting participants to be in the Kingdom of God, "one must be last and be like the innocent little child".

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It is through Holy Spirit that we are cleansed and purified, Archbishop Hickey believes. Photo: Richard AF Cooke.

He also emphasised that it is through the Holy Spirit God works to cleanse and purify us.

"In our weakness, we can allow and trust that the Holy Spirit will work through our weaknesses, and that is how the grace will be triumphant," he said

"That is how I believe Jesus wants us to be, that we don't speak from the point of strength. We speak from our bitter experience, but we allow the Holy Spirit in our lives, and the Holy Spirit will change the face of the world."