Monthly Archives: February 2013

20130225 Faithful Friends of Christ 基督忠誠的朋友

During the sixteenth century, holy men and women helped to bring about genuine reform within the Church.
Ignatius of Loyola
St. Ignatius of Loyola was born in 1491. He was a knight who led a worldly life. On May 20, 1521 one of his legs was shattered by a cannon ball. In the long convalescence, he could find nothing to read except the life of Christ and a collection of the lives of the saints. Ignatius was deeply impressed by what he read and determined to devote himself entirely to the service of God.
Ignatius had a vision of Our Lady with the Child Jesus. This vision helped him to detest his past sins, especially sins of the flesh. Ignatius vowed chastity and made general confession for his sins. He led a life of prayer and penance, and started to jotted down spiritual insights which would became The Spiritual Exercises, a handbook for making a permanent choice for Christ during the course of a month’s retreat.
At the age of thirty-two, Ignatius began to study for the priesthood. He started with the rudiments of Latin, and lived a life of great poverty.
After eleven years of studies, on the Feast of Assumption in 1534, Ignatius and six companions made vows of poverty and chastity and promised to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land or, failing this, to put themselves at the service of the Holy Father. Pope Paul III permitted some of them to become priests. After ordination, Ignatius postponed his first Mass for over a year.
Eventually the group formed into a religious order—- the Society of Jesus or the Jesuits. They labored unceasingly for the preservation of the Faith, and went to wherever the pope would send them. When Ignatius died on July 31, 1556, the Society had nearly one thousand members.
One of the six companions of Ignatius was St. Francis Xavier. Francis was influenced by Ignatius while sharing a room with him at the University of Paris.
Francis left Europe in 1541 and reached India in 1542. With no ability for languages and knew nothing of native peoples, Francis relied solely on God, and successfully evangelized many people in India, Indonesia, and Japan.
Francis died on December 3, 1552 at the island of Sancian near Hong Kong while waiting to enter mainland China.
Teresa of Avila
In 1562, St. Teresa of Avila founded the Discalced Carmelites. Teresa was born in 1515 and entered a Carmelite convent in 1535.
For years, frivolous conversations prevented the spiritual progress of Teresa. A vision showed her the very place in hell to which her own faults would have led her. Teresa’s biggest fault was her attachment to her friends. One day, God told her “No longer do I want you to converse with human beings but with angels.”
Teresa detached herself from the world, but not all her friends accepted her new way of life. She was surrounded by hostility and gossip. Sometimes Teresa complained to Christ about her sufferings. When Jesus told her, “Teresa, that’s how I treat my friends”, she responded, “No wonder you have so few friends!”
At the age of forty-three, this faithful friend of Christ decided to found a new convent that went back to the basics of a contemplative order—-a simple life of poverty devoted to prayer. Despite great oppositions, Teresa founded the first Discalced Carmelite convent. During her life time, Teresa personally founded fifteen convents, and reformed the friars with St. John of the Cross.
Teresa shared her teachings on prayer with others through her writings. The Way of Perfection, the Interior Castle, and her Life are part of the patrimony of the Church’s spirituality.

十六世紀的教會,有眾多的聖人切實地發起及推行了改革。

聖依納爵.羅耀拉

1491年,聖依納爵出生於羅耀拉,原是一位武士; 1521年五月二十日的戰役中,他右腿被砲彈打斷,經歷痛苦的治療。養傷期間,以閱讀消磨時間。他讀了「耶穌傳」和「聖人言行」兩本書,受到感動,決意投身侍奉天主的生活。

因神視中見到聖母手抱嬰孩耶穌,遂感過往肉慾罪孽的深重,矢志渡聖潔的生活。妥善辦了總告解後,依納爵開始渡祈禱及補贖的生活,並把靈修的經驗和當中的啟發筆錄下來,彙編了後來著名「神操」一書,以饗作三十天退省的眾靈,俱以基督為生命的恆選。

年屆三十二,依納爵為晉鐸而努力進修拉丁文,過著極度清貧的生活。

十一年苦讀不同的學科後,1534年聖母升天瞻禮日,依納爵與六名志同道合的朋友,一起發了神貧和貞潔願,有意到巴勒斯坦勸外教人皈化;假如此願不成,就共赴羅馬,請求教宗指派任務。當時航運因戰爭而停頓,依納爵一行人到羅馬覲是教宗。教宗保祿三世批准當中數人晉鐸,而依納爵晉鐸後首祭,以一年善備時間後才舉行。

依納爵的小團體終於組成一個修會,取名「耶穌會」,全體發神貧、貞潔和服從聖願,且確守對教宗特別的聽命,蓋以信德要理教育眾人。

1556年七月三十一日,聖依納爵逝世時,「耶穌會」已有近千名會士。

聖方濟各.沙勿略在巴黎大學與聖依納爵為同窗,受聖依納爵影響。1541年,聖方濟各離開歐洲,翌年抵達印度。聖人毋慮於言語隔膜,一心依賴天主傳揚福音。大批印度、印尼和日本的人,在聖方濟各的傳教薰陶下,都信奉了真理。

1552年十二月三日,聖方濟各在距離香港僅一百哩的上川島,等待渡海進入中國時病逝。

聖大德蘭

1515年,聖女大德蘭出生於西班牙亞維拉,二十歲加入聖衣女隱修會,在1562年創辦了加爾默羅赤足女修會。

當初,德蘭因喜愛閑聊而使神修裹足不前,甚至在神視中得悉,這習慣會令她走向地獄。後來天主給她指示,要她「少與凡人傾談,心內多與天使溝通。」同伴們對德蘭突然脫離世俗的改變,一時很難接受,對她指指點點、竊竊私語,她甚感苦惱,向基督訴說她所受的痛苦;耶穌讓德蘭明白祂的追隨者應接受痛苦,對她說:「我就是這樣對待我的朋友。」她卻答說:「怪不得祢朋友不多!」

德蘭四十三歲時,決定著手改革聖衣女隱修會,並在四十七歲時創辦了加爾默羅赤足女修會,堅守樸素清貧的默禱生活。餘下的歲月,她一共創建了十五座修院,並協助聖十字若望改革聖衣男修會。

聖女大德蘭喜與人分享她的祈禱和靈修神益。她所寫的「純全的路」、「內心的堡壘」、「生命」,是教會的靈修巨箸。

20130218 Council translated into actions 推行大公會議法令

During the fifteen and sixteen centuries, many of the clergy were corrupted by money and other luxuries, and reform was needed in the Church. Unfortunately, some attempts to reform the Church led to the Protestant revolt. Beginning with Martin Luther, several groups rebelled and broke away from the Church.
The Council of Trent met the challenge of the Protestant revolt and brought about a renewal spirit of Catholicism.
Council of Trent
The Council of Trent was held from December 13, 1545 to December 4, 1563.
Regarding doctrinal issues, the Council declared that the Tradition of the Church together with the Bible is the source of Catholic belief. The books contained in the Latin Vulgate were the complete canonical list.
The Council taught that original sin did not destroy human freedom and man’s ability to cooperate with grace. Good works guided by faith are necessary for salvation.
The seven Sacraments were discussed at the Council. A Sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace. The Mass is true sacrifice, and Holy Communion is truly the living substance of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The Council defended the special spiritual powers of ordained priests and bishops.
To correct abuses, the Council required that bishops must live in their dioceses for the greater portion of each year. Bishops were no longer allowed to head more than one diocese at a time. Seminaries were to be set up for the training of future priests.
Pius V
Decisions on paper remain just that, until they are implemented into the life of the Church. Pope St. Pius V and other saints translated into action the spirit and letter of the Council of Trent.
Michael Ghislieri became a Dominican at fourteen, and held important positions in his order. He was elected pope on January 7, 1566, about two years after the Council. During his six years pontificate, Pius V published the Roman Catechism, revised the missal and breviary, and reformed the Roman court and capital.
Pius V was a man of deep piety and austerity. He spent long hours at night in prayer, fasted, and did penance. He had special devotion to the Passion of Christ.
To defend Christian Europe, Pius V rallied the Christian forces to break the Turkish advance at Lepanto, and organized the people to pray the Rosary. Due to the sudden shift in the wind the Christian fleet defeated the larger Turkish force on October 7, 1571. Pius V knew in some miraculous fashion of the victory on the very same day it occurred. In thanksgiving, he added “Help of Christians” to the Litany of Loreto. October 7 is now celebrated as the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
Pius V died on May 1, 1572. He prayed on his deathbed, “Lord, increase my sufferings, but increase my patience too.”
Charles Borromeo
St. Charles Borromeo (1538-1584) was made cardinal at twenty-one. He handled the correspondence of his uncle, Pope Pius IV, and was instrumental in the reopening and the completion of the Council of Trent.
At twenty-six, St. Charles became the Archbishop of Milan. He held a series of provincial councils and diocesan synods to promulgate and to apply the decrees of the Council of Trent.
St. Charles established three seminaries for the training of clergy and required annual retreats for all clerics. He founded the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine with 2000 teachers to instruct children from Milan in over 740 schools. He also made regular visits to the parishes in his diocese.
In his personal life, St. Charles spent long hours in prayer, ate and slept little, and wore himself out in pastoral work. Though he accomplished so much, he never did anything in a hurry. He would never rush a liturgical prayer or ceremony.

十五、十六世紀,很多教會神職人員因金錢和奢華而變得腐敗,因而興起一片改革呼聲。改革聲浪中,卻不幸地掀起叛逆的浪潮,自馬丁路德開始,數批人士發起反對教會,與教會決裂。

教會方面,從1545年十二月十三日至1563年十二月四日,特別召開特利騰大公會議,除了遣責分裂外,更新了教會的教理精神

特利騰大公會議

說明教會的主體信仰,來自聖經和教會的聖傳;而以拉丁文翻譯成的聖經通俗本,成為教會法定的通用聖經。

教會明白指出,原罪並未使人類失去自主,反而仍可選擇與天主聖寵合作。信德內的善功,為靈魂得救是必需的。

大公會議亦討論過教會的七件聖事,認定每件聖事皆由耶穌基督建立,藉有形的外在標記,付予信眾聖寵。教會又指明,彌撒是基督真實的祭獻,基督真實臨在聖體聖血內。大公會議捍衛教會晉鐸和晉牧特有的神權,同時規定主教們要每年的大部份時間,都要駐留本身的牧區,他們也不能在同一時期內,牧轄超過一個教區。有意獻身鐸職的信眾,需要先通過修院的培訓。

聖碧岳五世

大公會議的通諭,不應止於文字上的指令,所以,教宗聖碧岳五世和幾個聖人,努力把特利騰大公會議的決議案,付諸實行。

彌格.祁連利十四歲入道明會修道,晉鐸後任修會要職。1566年一月七日獲選為教宗,取號碧岳五世。六年的教宗任內,碧岳五世成功出版「天主教要理全書」,又重編「彌撒經書」和「時辰誦禱」經文,他又改革了羅馬教廷和首都。

碧岳五世非常熱心和克苦,晚上作長時間祈禱,常齋戒和做補贖,特別恭敬基督的苦難。

歐洲聯軍抵禦土耳其的侵襲時,碧岳五世不忘祈禱,並令各地信友舉行各種公私敬禮,求上主護佑,且特別恭唸玫瑰經。

1571年十月七日,地中海突然改變的風向,歐洲聯軍得以擊潰強大的土耳其海軍。遠在羅馬的碧岳五世,似有神視得悉,對樞機們即時宣告勝利,促請大家感謝天主;他下詔將「進教之佑」列入聖母德敘禱文中。現在每年十月七日是「聖母玫瑰瞻禮」日。

1572年五月一日,教宗碧岳五世病逝,死前向天主祈求,說:「主,求祢增加我的苦痛,但請也增加我的忍耐力。」

聖嘉祿

聖嘉祿(1538-1584)年輕時已身居教廷要職。他的舅父、教宗碧岳四世決定重開特利騰大公會議,負責這項任務的正是聖嘉祿。

聖人二十六歲成為意大利米蘭總主教,牧職期間,多次召開教務會議,推廣和切實執行特利騰大公會議的決議案。

嘉祿為培育神職人員,建立了三座修院,並規定神職人員要每年舉行退省。他又把兩千名要理講解員組織「教理研究會」,在七百四十多所學校,教授米蘭兒童天主教要理。他亦定時巡視教區內的各堂區。

聖嘉祿常用很萇時間祈禱和工作,卻甚少休息,為牧職而勞損了自己的健康。他日常公務沉重繁忙,但從不匆忙草率,尤其對冗長的禮儀,一絲不苟,總是用心及耐心地完成。

20130211 Saints built up the Church 聖賢建設教會

The Great Western Schism (1378-1417) and the Hundred Year War (1337-1453) caused hardships and disorder for both the fourteen and the fifteen centuries. Despite the decline of the Middle Ages, the Church still saw holiness in many of her member in the fifteen century.
Powerful preachers
The fifteen century was blessed with the presence of miracles-working preachers. St. Vincent Ferrer (1357-1419) was a Dominican of Valencia. He is the patron saint for builders, for he “built up” and strengthened the Church through his preaching.
St. Vincent is called the “Angel of the Judgment”, who preached the four last things to the people. He preached in the town and villages of Spain, Switzerland, France, Italy, England, Ireland and Scotland. He had the gift of miracles and brought large number of Jews and Moors to the Catholic Faith.
St. Vincent always prepared his preaching by prayer. Once, however, when a nobleman came to hear his sermon, St. Vincent carefully prepared the sermon by study but neglected prayer. The sermon didn’t touch the heart of the nobleman. The nobleman came a second time to hear St. Vincent, without informing him. The second sermon made a deep impression on his soul. When St. Vincent heard of the difference, he remarked that in the first sermon it was Vincent who had preached, but in the second, Jesus Christ.
The Church at the time was divided by the Great Western Schism, but St. Vincent was honorably welcomed in the districts subject to the two claimants to the Papacy. The saint lived to see the end of the schism in 1417 at the election of Pope Martin V. St. Vincent died on April 5, 1419.
In 1408, St. Vincent suddenly interrupted his sermon to declare that there was among his hearers a young Franciscan who would one day be a greater preacher than himself. This unknown friar was St Bernardine of Siena (1380-1444).
During a plague, the twenty years old St. Bernardine tended the sick and the dying. Two years later, he became a Franciscan. As a preacher, his style was extremely simple, direct and colloquial. He preached on the Passion, repentance, virtues and vices.
St. Bernardine fostered devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. He popularized the familiar “IHS”—Greek abbreviation for the name of Jesus.
St. Bernardine obtained miraculous conversions and reformed the greater part of Italy. He died on Ascension Eve, 1444.
St. John Capistran (1385-1456) and St. James of the Marches (1391-1476) studied theology under St. Bernardine. They both became popular preachers and miracles workers.
Great mystics
A number of great mystics and the spiritual classic, Imitation of Christ, were from the fifteen century.
In response to the command of St. Francis in a vision, St. Colette (1381-1447) reformed the Poor Clares and observed the Primitive Rule with absolute poverty.
St. Joan of Arc (1412-1431), obeying the voices and visions from heaven, led a French army and turned the tide of the Hundred Years War. She was unjustly condemned as a heretic, and died at the stake pronouncing the name of Jesus. The Church vindicated her memory and canonized her in 1920.
St. Francis of Paola (1416-1507) founded the Minims order. The Minim’s life is a perpetual lent with no meat, fish, eggs or milk. Francis was known for his ascetic life and miracles.
St. Nicholas of Flue (1417-1497) was a father of a big family. He became a hermit at fifty and lived the last nineteen years of his life without food except Holy Communion. St. Nicholas helped bring about the inclusion of Fribourg and Soleure in the Swiss Confederation in 1481, thus preventing a potentially bloody civil war.

西方教會的大分裂(1378-1417) 和歐洲的百年戰爭(1337-1453),帶給十四及十五世紀的教會,十分困難和紛亂的時刻;儘管中世紀時也經歷過內部腐敗,教會在十五世紀,仍出現很多賢人,聖德昭彰。

強力的宣道

十五世紀,教會擁有不少曾行聖蹟的宣道者。聖文生.斐瑞(1357-1419)是西班牙法連西亞的道明會會士,他那舌燦蓮花的講道,引導了很多人皈化,建樹了教會,故此,教會立他為建築行業的主保聖人。

聖文生平日最愛宣講「萬民四末」,有稱他是「報導審判的天使」。他週遊西班牙、瑞士、英國、愛爾蘭和蘇格蘭的城鄉,講道並行聖蹟,促使大批猶太人及摩爾人皈化聖教真理。

聖人習慣以祈禱來準備講道。不過有一次,有一位貴族聽者來聽道,聖文生雖精心準備了講道的內容,卻忽略了講道前祈禱,他的道理未有打動那貴族的心;第二次聖人講道前祈了禱,該貴族在沒有事先通知下來聽道,並被道理所深受感動,事後有人向聖人反映,聖人恍然頓悟,向他解釋說:「前次講道是文生本人的講道,後者是耶穌基督親自的宣講。」

當是正值西方教會大分裂,但聖文生無論足跡所到,均受歡迎。聖人有幸目睹分裂在1417年,教宗瑪定五世當選後結束,而他在公元1419年四月五日逝世。

聖文生於1408年一次講道時,突然稱在聽眾間會有一位比他更出色的方濟會年輕講道者,果然,這人就是後來的聖伯爾納定(1380-1444)。

聖伯爾納定出生於意大利栖亞那的貴族家庭。栖亞那疫病猖獗時,年僅二十的聖伯爾納定,四週照顧病者和臨終的人。兩年後,他成了方濟會會士,向人宣道。他以簡單直接的言詞,宣述基督的苦難、鼓勵眾人多做補贖、頌德嫉惡。

聖伯爾納定特別恭敬耶穌聖名,使耶穌聖名廣受尊崇;他的講道,使意大利廣原的人皈化。1444年耶穌升天節日前夕,聖人病逝。

聖若望.嘉庇當(1385-1456)和聖雅各伯.馬奇(1391-1476),同是聖伯爾納鐸的門生,兩人都是極受歡迎的講道者,亦曾行聖蹟。

偉大的潛修者

十五世紀期間,有多位的偉大修行者和神修典範。著名的『師主篇』也是當時的產品。

聖女高萊德(1381-1447)在神視中見到聖五傷方濟各,遵從會祖的吩咐,著手改革嘉辣女修會,雷勵奉行絕對神貧的原始會規。

聖女貞德(1412-1431) 聽從神視和天上的聲音,帶領法國軍隊加入戰團,將百年戰爭引到一個轉捩點。可惜後來被誣蔑為異端邪說,被火燒死,死時仍在呼喚著耶穌聖名。教會後來給她平反,1920年立為聖品。

聖方濟各.保拉(1416-1507) 是「最小兄弟會」會祖,修會會士長期守嚴齋,不但戒吃肉,連魚、雞蛋和牛奶也不吃。聖人因祂的清苦生活和行聖蹟,而廣為人知。

聖尼閣. 伏物洛(1417-1497) 是一個大家庭的父親,五十歲時在家人同意下隱修,在他死前的十九年隱修生活中,只恭領聖體而點食不進。

1481年,瑞士各邦行政管理問題,無法獲致協議,大家就派人向尼各請示。聖人提出書面意見,托使者帶回,結果拖延了數月的一場事端,一小時內順利解決,避免了血腥內戰。

20130204 Mystics defended the Church 聖賢捍衛教會

The fourteenth century was a century of suffering. Large-scale famines (1315-1317), the Black Death (1347-1351), and the Hundred Years War (1337-1453) claimed many lives in Europe.
Under the powerful influence of the French king, Philip IV, Pope Clement V took up residence at Avignon in southern France. Pope Clement and the other popes lived in France for about seventy years (1305-1377). The Avignon Papacy was under too much control of the French king, and this period is known as “The Babylonian Captivity”.
Saints and scholars begged the popes to return to Rome. Two saints at the time were Bridget of Sweden and Catherine of Siena.
Bridget of Sweden
Bridget was born of the Swedish royal family in 1304.She was married to Ulf Gudmarsson, and had eight children. Her daughter, Catherine of Sweden, became a saint.
After the birth of their last child, Ulf and Bridget made a mutual vow of continence, and made a pilgrimage to Compostella. Ulf died at a Cistercian monastery in 1344. The widow Bridget devoted herself entirely to practices of religion and asceticism.
Bridget founded the monastery of Wastein, which eventually developed into the Order of our Savior (the Bridgettines). The monastery was mainly for women, with a small number of monks who cared for the spiritual needs of the nuns.
Private revelations were given to Bridget. These revelations mainly concern the sufferings and death of Christ. Bridget also foretold the future and fearlessly denounced vice.
Except for pilgrimages, Bridget spent the last twenty-five years of her life in Rome. In August, 1370, Pope Blessed Urban V approved the rule of her new order. Urban V was the only Avignon pope raised to the altar. The great act of his pontificate was his return to Rome on October 16, 1367.
Urban V spent three years in Rome, rebuilding the great basilicas and restoring discipline among the clergy. But eventually, due to local disorders and his desire to be useful to the Universal Church and to France, Urban V returned to Avignon on September 24, 1370.
Bridget foretold that Urban V would soon die if he left Rome. Her prediction came true in less than three months. When Urban V was dying, he stretched himself on the bare floor, covered with ashes, and held a crucifix in his hands.
Bridget herself died on July 23, 1373, and was canonized eighteen years after her death.
Catherine of Siena
Born in Siena in 1347, Catherine had a vision of Christ at six and made a private vow of chastity at seven.
She endured persecution from her family for refusing to marry. But eventually, through patience and virtue, she won the approval of her father, who allowed her to live a consecrated life.
Catherine lived an austere and prayerful life at home. She became a Dominican tertiary and received the black and white habit. At nineteen, she experienced Christ placing a ring on her finger. Catherine then started to reach out assisting the poor, serving the sick, and comforting the afflicted and prisoners.
Miracles of conversions and healings occurred through the prayers of Catherine. The Dialogue of Divine Providence was dictated in ecstasy. Clerics, nuns and lay faithful were among her followers.
Catherine had a great love for the Church. She urged Pope Gregory XI to leave Avignon for Rome, which he did in 1377.
After the death of Gregory XI in 1378, Urban VI was elected pope in Rome. But some dissatisfied cardinals elected an anti-pope, Clement VII, who went to live at Avignon. This is the beginning of the Great Western Schism.
Catherine defended the lawful pope, Urban VI. She died in Rome on April 29, 1380 at the age of thirty-three.
“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” (St. Catherine)

十四世紀是歐洲的受苦世紀,計有大範圍的飢荒(1315-1317)、鼠疫(1347-1351)和百年戰爭(1337-1453),都奪去了許多寶貴的生命。

在教會方面,教宗格肋孟五世,因政治關係,受法國皇帝菲理伯四世影響,遷居法國南部的亞威農城,之後繼位的七位教宗也如是;這些教宗被稱為「亞威農教宗」。教宗住在亞威農城約七十年(1305-1377) 。這時期被稱為「巴比倫的被擄期」。

因教宗過於受法王的影響,不少聖賢及學者,都主張教宗遷回羅馬;這裡值得一提的,是聖婦碧瑾和聖女加大利納。

聖碧瑾

聖碧瑾在公元1304年出生於瑞典貴族家庭,嫁夫烏爾大.各馬遜,育有子女八人,其中第四女是聖人,教會稱她為瑞典的聖加大利納。

在第八名孩子出生後,烏爾大.各馬遜和碧瑾決定守節。他們一起到君波士達朝聖。公元1344年,烏爾大在西斯德會修院逝世;此後,碧瑾全心投入靈修和苦行的生活。

碧瑾創建了華斯德諾修院,後發展成為「救世主會」。這修會主要是女修會,她亦在這會院旁建有男修院,收納一些聖職人員,以饗修女們的靈修需要。

聖碧瑾得到有關苦難基督的私人啟示,她無懼地斥責罪行,亦有準確的預言。

除了朝聖外,聖碧瑾在她生命最後的二十五年,均留在羅馬。公元1370年八月,教宗真福伍朋五世,批准聖碧瑾的「救世主會」成立。教宗伍朋五世,是唯一得到聖人敬禮的「亞威農教宗」,他於1367年十月十六日從亞威農遷回羅馬。

教宗真福伍朋五世回到羅馬後,用了三年時間,傾力重建各大聖殿,並重振聖職人員作的紀律;但由於羅馬本土的紛亂,也由於教宗亦盼望自己能對普世教會和對法國有更大的貢獻,伍朋五世於是在1367年九月二十四日,回到亞威農城。聖碧瑾曾預言,教宗若離開羅馬,他將不久於人世。果然,在回到亞威農城後三個月,伍朋五世便與世長辭。臨終前他躺在地上,雙手張開,頭上撒灰,手持耶穌苦像。

聖碧瑾壽終於1373年七月二十三日,十八年後被教會隆重宣聖。

聖加大利納

聖女在1347年出生於栖亞那,六歲時耶穌顯現給她,她在七歲時私下發了守貞願。

聖人曾因反抗父母催婚而備受苛待,後藉耐心和聖德感動父親,准其渡貞潔的生活。

加大利納初時在家過著樸素的祈禱生活,做了道明會第三會會士,領了黑白色的會衣。十九歲時,耶穌給她帶上指環,作為締結神婚的標記。自始,加大利納外出照顧貧病者、安慰受苦和被囚的人。

因加大利納的轉禱,很多人奇蹟地皈化或被治癒。她在神魂超拔中口述了『對話錄』一書。加大利納感染了不少追隨者,當中有聖職人員、修道者和平信徒。

聖加大利納熱愛教會,她向教宗國瑞十一世進言,使教宗在1377年重返羅馬。

公元1378年國瑞十一世駕崩,吳朋六世在羅馬當選教宗;可惜不從者城另選偽教宗,取名格肋孟七世,並居住在亞威農;因此掀起西方禮儀的天主教分裂。聖加大利納則全力擁護在羅馬的真教宗吳朋六世。

公元1380年四月二十九日,聖女在羅馬安逝,享年三十三歲。生時其中一句銘言,道:「成為天主所願意你成為的人,你便會使世界熾熱起來!」

20130128 Mendicant Orders Founded 創立「行乞修會」

The thirteenth century was a great century for the Church. Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) and his successors in the thirteenth century saw the papacy as the guardian of Christendom.
Innocent III
King Philip II of France divorced his wife, Queen Ingeborg, and attempted to marry another. Innocent III put the whole kingdom of France under interdict (denial of liturgy, the sacraments, and even Christian burial) until Philip returned to his lawful wife.
King John of England tried to control the election of the Archbishop of Canterbury and refused to accept the pope’s choice of Stephen Langdon. Innocent III excommunicated John and England was placed under interdict. The pope deposed John and offered his kingdom to France. John submitted and made England as a vassal of Innocent III.
In 1215, Innocent called the Fourth Council of Lateran. The council ruled that all Christians who had reached the age of reason must go to confession and receive Holy Communion at Easter time. The word “Transubstantiation” was used to describe the changing of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ at the Consecration.
Order of Friars Minor
St. Francis of Assisi was born in 1182. At the age of twenty-two, while praying at St. Damian’s church, Francis heard a voice saying, “Francis, go and rebuild My House”. He started to repair neglected churches.
Francis lived as a hermit. Later a merchant and a canon of the cathedral joined him, and thus began the Franciscan order. They lived by manual labor and by begging alms. They called themselves “Friars Minor” or little brothers.
Francis was ordained a deacon so that he could preach the Gospel, but out of awe for the Holy Eucharist, he did not receive priestly order.
Francis travelled to Rome to get the approval of Innocent III for his Rule. There was difficulty, for his group bore some resemblance to some heretical groups. But Innocent had a dream that Francis carried on his shoulders the great Basilica of St. John Lateran. Innocent III, therefore, approved the work of Francis.
On September, 1224 Francis received the stigmata. Francis had a great love for nature, and his enthusiasm for praising God through creation is expressed in the Canticle of Brother Sun.
Francis died in 1226 and was canonized two years later.
A faithful disciple of St. Francis was St. Clare. At the age of eighteen, she escaped by night and consecrated herself to God in the presence of St. Francis and his companions. She was soon joined by her younger sister, Agnes. Eventually her own mother and other noble ladies also put themselves under her rule. The Poor Clare nuns observed perpetual abstinence, constant silence, and perfect poverty. St. Clare died in 1253.
St. Anthony of Padua (+1231) became a Franciscan in 1220. He spent his last ten years preaching in Italy and France. He was a wonderful preacher with the gift of miracles.
Preaching Friars
The Dominicans or “The Order of Preachers” was founded by St. Dominic (+1221). In 1205, Innocent III sent him to help convert the Albigenses in southern France.
Dominic saw that those already in mission were not effective, because their life-style was too rich and soft. Dominic devoted himself to popular preaching and lived an austere life.
A few zealous priests joined Dominic, and they formed a community. The new order was approved by Pope Honorius in 1216.
Prayer, study, and preaching were the important tasks of the mendicant orders. St. Bonaventure (a Franciscan) and St. Thomas Aquinas (a Dominican) were both doctors of the Church and died in 1274. They lived in an atmosphere of prayer and study, and fostered higher studies for the friars.
“Constant fidelity in small things is great and heroic virtue” (St. Bonaventure)

聖教會在十三世紀,教宗英諾桑三世(1198-1216)及其繼任人,都能成為基督宗教的守護者。

英諾桑三世

法國皇帝菲利伯二世休棄皇后英格葆,被教宗英諾桑三世下令全法國,禁止舉行任何宗教禮儀,直至法皇恢復皇后的身份。

英國皇帝若望要控制坎特伯利大主教的挑選,拒絕教宗委任斯德望.蘭杜當此重任,教宗英諾桑三世把他開除教籍,並下令禁止英國舉行任何宗教禮儀。英皇最終屈服,把英國臣服於教宗麾下。

公元1215年,教宗英諾桑三世召開第四屆拉特朗大公會議,議決所有已開明悟的教友,在復活節要妥辦告解和善領聖體;以「實體變換」來形容餅和酒被祝聖為聖體聖血,亦於此時通用。

小兄弟會

聖方濟生於公元1182年,二十二歲在聖達彌盎堂祈禱時,聽到聲音說:「方濟各,去,重建我的居所。」於是,方濟著手修葺所有殘破的聖堂。

有一位商人和主教座堂議員加入方濟的隱士生活,這就是後來方濟會的雛形,他們勞動及以募捐維生,清貧渡日,自稱「小兄弟」。

聖方濟接受執事聖職,使他可以宣講福音;但由於敬畏聖體,謙遜之心令他認為自己不堪當領受鐸品聖職。

聖方濟專程到達羅馬,請求教宗英諾桑三世批准方濟會的成立。由於當時方濟會內的嚴竣克己,被外界質疑似是異端組織,因此,聖方濟此舉成功渺茫。誰知教宗夢得方濟肩負聖若望拉特朗大殿,所以特意批准方濟會的成立。

公元1224年九月,方濟領受了耶穌五傷。聖人喜愛大自然,常藉大自然讚美天主,此情在他的「朝陽頌讚」的讚美詩中,表露無遺。

聖方濟於公元1226年逝世,兩年後被教廷宣聖。

聖女嘉蘭是聖方濟忠實的追隨者。年僅十八,乘夜離家出走,在聖方濟及其同伴見證下,委身事主。不久,她的妹妹依搦斯加入,甚至她母親和一些貴族婦女爭相追隨,組織成為嘉蘭女隱修會,她們長期齋戒靜修,嚴守神貧。聖嘉蘭死於1253年。

聖安多尼在1220年成為方濟會會士;在他生命最後十年,在意大利和法國宣講真理。他是一位極受歡迎的講道者,並具有顯奇蹟的特恩。

宣道會士

聖道明成立道明會。公元1205年,教宗英諾桑三世派遣聖道明到法國南部,規勸二元論異端皈化。聖人抵達當地,發覺是時的宣道者生活富足,態度偏軟,遂以身作則,一邊悉力講道,一邊渡簡樸的生活。果然,一些熱心神父仿效,與聖道明一起;最後在公元1216年,教宗何諾三世批准道明會的成立。
祈禱、進修和講道,是當時「行乞修會」會士主要生活模式。方濟會的聖文德和道明會的聖多瑪斯,同是被尊為教會的聖師,他們都在1274年逝世。生前,兩人均熱切祈禱及努力進修,更推展會士們接受較高的教育水平。

「能在小事上忠信的,已經是出眾的德行。(聖文德)」

20130121 Monastic ideals lived out 隱修理想的活現

A number of great religious orders were founded during the eleventh and the twelfth centuries. These orders are still influencing the spirituality of Catholics today.
The Cistercians
Sts. Robert, Alberic, and Stephen Harding founded the monastery at Citeaux in 1098. The monks of Citeaux followed a more literal observance of the rule of St. Benedict with special emphasis on simplicity, manual labor, and silence atmosphere for personal prayer.
The monks of Citeaux were known as the Cistercians. They wore white habit as sign of poverty and simplicity. The Cistercians had special devotion to Our Lady.
At the beginning, this austere community attracted very few members and was on the point of dying out. But in 1112 a twenty-two years old nobleman, St. Bernard, decided to join Citeaux. He persuaded thirty of his relatives and friends to come with him. They all came to the door of the monastery and asked for admission.
The good example of Bernard soon attracted many others to the monastery, and there was a need to erect a new monastery. In three years, Bernard became the head of a new community at Clairvaux (The Valley of Light).
At first, Bernard was very severe and expected too much of his monks, who became disheartened. Later he perceived his error, and led others with sweetness and mildness. Bernard personally founded sixty-eight monasteries and still had seven hundred monks in his own monastery.
Bernard was both contemplative and active. He was a mystic who had great devotion to Our Lady and promoted the “Memorare” prayer. He wrote warmly about the divine love of God, and his writings were recommended by Pope Pius XI as particularly suitable novitiate reading.
Bernard also made journeys defending the Catholic faith, and assisted popes, bishops and kings in public affairs.
Died in 1153, Bernard was canonized twenty-one after his death. He was declared Doctor of the Church in 1830.
The Norbertines
The community of the Premonstratensians or Nobertines was founded by St. Norbert. As a subdeacon in his early thirties, Norbert was leading a worldly life. One day, he was thrown from a horse in a lightning storm. He was unconscious for more than an hour. When he awoke, his first words were, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” In response, Norbert heard in his heart, “Turn from evil and do good. Seek peace and pursue it.” He became a priest and obtained permission from the pope to become a wandering preacher.
He tried to reform the secular clergy, but his efforts failed. In 1120, Norbert retired to the valley of Premontre in northern France to prepare himself, by prayer and fasting, for the foundation of a new religious order. In a matter of months, Norbert had forty companions, and formed a new community. Members of this community combined a monastic form of life with the active ministry. They made religious profession on Christmas, 1121.
As a preacher, Norbert successfully combated a heretic, Tanchelm, who denied the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. In 1126, Norbert became Archbishop of Magdeburg. He started to reform his diocese, and several assassination attempts were made against him.
Norbert died on June 6, 1134 and was canonized in 1582.
The Carthusians
St. Bruno was head of the Cathedral school at Rheims and chancellor of the diocese. In 1080, Bruno and six companions retired to the Chartreuse forest for a life of contemplative prayer and penance.
In 1084 the Carthusian order was founded. The monks lived as individual hermits in a monastic community.
In 1090, Bruno was brought to Rome by his former student, Pope Urban II, as Papal Adviser in the reform of the clergy.
Before his death in 1101, Bruno founded several Carthusian monasteries in southern Italy.
The motto of the Carthusians is, “While the world changes, the cross stands firm”.

十一及十二世紀數個大修會的創立,至今仍影響著天主教教徒的靈修。

熙篤會會士

公元1098年,聖樂伯、聖亞伯列和聖斯德望.赫定,在法國的西篤建立了修道院,院士們嚴格遵守聖本篤會規的規條,著重淳樸、勞動和靜默,以專注個人祈禱。

西篤修道院院士,被稱為熙篤會會士,穿著白色會衣象徵神貧和淳樸,且特別恭敬聖母。

這樸素的小團體人數極小,有萎靡之危。公元1112年,二十二歲的貴族青年聖伯爾納鐸,率領三十位親友參加了西篤修道院內的團體。

聖伯爾納鐸的善表,吸引了很多人效法,西篤修道院頓時熱鬧起來,當然需要另建修院應付。三年後,聖伯爾納鐸成了格萊福(明谷)新修院的院長。

由於聖伯爾納鐸的嚴格,院士們感到困惑。聖伯爾納鐸洞悉己過,改以溫和的態度相待,他更多建六十八座修院收容新院士,而他自己所在的修院,仍有七百之眾。

聖伯爾納鐸動靜皆宜,他是熱敬聖母的隱修士,傳揚向聖母祈求的「求爾記憶」經文,其它寫作又論及天主感人的慈愛。教宗庇護十一世向初學修生們,推薦閱讀他所寫的文章。

聖伯爾納鐸為了衛道,不惜攀山涉水,長途旅行,到處奔走,幫助教宗、主教和各地元首,處理事務。

公元1153年,聖伯爾納鐸病逝,二十一年後被封聖品;公元1830年,他被教會尊為聖師。

諾貝多會士

聖諾貝多創立了波利榮拉登修會,亦被稱為諾貝多修會。約三十歲的諾貝多雖已是神職人員,但生活卻非常世俗化。一日,他被一道強光打下馬來,昏迷了個多時辰,醒來第一句說話,問道:「主,祢要我做什麼?」他在心內聽到聲音答道:「改過遷善。尋求平安,追求平安。」諾貝多後來晉鐸,得教宗恩准,周遊宣道傳教。

諾貝多曾嘗試轉化在俗的神職人員,不甚有成果。公元1120年,聖諾貝多退隱到法國南部的波利榮拉登山谷,以祈禱齋戒,準備日後創立一個新修會。不久,有四十人甘與聖人作伴;於是,諾貝多著手成立修會,渡隱修兼牧民的工作。公元1121年的聖誕節,眾人都發了聖願。

聖諾貝多作為傳道者,力駁猛斥當時相反基督臨在聖體聖事的異端。公元1120年,聖諾貝多被擢昇為馬德堡總主教,他隨即改革他的教區,導致有人多次企圖暗殺他。

聖人在公元1134年六月六日去世,公元1582年被教會立為聖品。

嘉都西會會士

聖布魯諾原在萊斯的主教座堂學校任教,並在教區任總務。公元1080年,布魯諾和六位志同道合的朋友,隱居格理諾森林,渡靜禱及補贖的生活。

公元1084年,聖布魯諾一眾成立了嘉都西修會,會士渡獨居斗室的隱修生活。

公元1090年,被曾為他學生的教宗吳爾班二世召到羅馬,為改革神職人員作教宗的顧問。

聖布魯諾在意大利南部多建了幾座嘉都西會的隱修院。他於公元1101年逝世。
嘉都西修會的座右銘是:「世界越益變化,十字架更見堅穩。」