Consecrated virgin spells out the saving power of the prayers of intercession.
By Robert Hiini
Though the forces of evil gather around us, the saving power of Jesus Christ has already defeated the enemy – so heard participants at this year’s Flame Congress: The Word and Prophets of a New Age.
Held last weekend at John XXIII College, attendees heard Consecrated Virgin Maureen Togher of Morley talk about a tragic series of events and deaths that had occurred in her own family, the power of grace to convert sinners and its outpouring in response to intercessory prayer.
She said she believed a murderer on the run in WA three years ago – having in his possession a shotgun, ammunition and a "hit list" – had surrendered himself to police in response to prayers that were offered up specifically for that purpose at that year’s congress.
She exhorted congress goers to "pray for prisoners who have committed heinous crimes everywhere because we’re all children of God."
"The bigger message is for all of us, for those of us outside of prison who are imprisoned by bitterness and unforgiveness," Ms Togher said.
Archbishop Barry Hickey and Vicar General, Fr Brian O’Loughlin also addressed the weekend gathering.
The Archbishop echoed Christ’s words in Mark 14:50 (that the "Kingdom of God is near") explaining that we are called to participate in that kingdom now – personally and as a community, and to proclaim to the world that there is an alternative to the bondage of sin.
"Jesus came to bring about the Kingdom of God in you and around you. It’s not of this world but it is here now and that is the source of our hope; that he has called us to enter that kingdom now," the Archbishop said.
"In community we see one another as children of God… People we don’t like or have injured us, we see beyond that. We see people that God loves and love them too.
“We see their hurt and their pain." He also said that it is only within the Kingdom of God that suffering has any meaning, helping us to ‘lean into’ God, to trust and depend on Him more and more.
The Archbishop recalled that three politicians elected to the West Australian Parliament last year had referenced their love of God in their maiden speeches, adding that he had written them words of encouragement.
"There will be others who would laugh at them but they need words of encouragement. They were already possessed of the love of God and even in the cold world of politics they said that they saw their responsibilities through the eyes of Christ."
The Archbishop concluded by saying that, in the face of persecution, the best tool for evangelisation is the witness of our own lives.
"We don’t condemn and we don’t take up arms to fight these enemies,” he said.
“We already have the armour that Jesus has given us and that’s the armoury of a transformed and good life; evidence of sins forgiven, grace received, the life of Jesus Christ in our hearts and the presence of the Holy Spirit guiding us."