Monthly Archives: March 2013

20130325 Mary brought millions to Church 聖母帶群眾進教會

In the sixteenth century, the Catholic Church lost many members in Europe due to the Protestant revolt; however the Church gained even more members in the New World through the powerful intervention of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The humblest son

            Juan Diego was one of the first to be converted to Catholicism after the Spanish conquered the Mexican Empire. He and his wife were baptized at the church of Santiago. The couple would walk fourteen miles to Tlatelolco for Mass. After the death of his wife in 1529, his devotion to Our Lady became even stronger.

On Saturday December 9, 1531, while on his way to the church at Tlatelolco, Juan Diego came near the hill called Tepeyac; there he heard someone called him from the hilltop. When Juan Diego went up the hill, he saw the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Our Lady said, ”Juanito, the humblest of my children, know and understand that I am the ever virgin Mary, Mother of the true God through whom all things live. It is my ardent desire that a church be erected here so that in it I can show and bestow my love, compassion, help, and protection to all who inhabit this land and to those others who love me, that they might call upon and confide in me. Go to the Bishop of Mexico to make known to him what I greatly desire. Go and put all your efforts into this.”

Juan Diego spoke to Bishop Fray Juan de Zumarraga, but the Bishop did not believe in him. Juan Diego, therefore, returned to the hilltop and asked Our Lady to send someone more illustrious to convey the message. Our Lady, however, told him to see the Bishop again.

The next day, Sunday December 10, Juan Diego went to see the Bishop. However, the Bishop did not believe in Juan Diego and told him that some sign was necessary.

Castilian roses

            In 1531, the Mexican people were on the verge of revolting against the Spaniards because of conflicts and tensions. Bishop Zumarraga had begged Our Lady for help and had secretly asked her for Castilian roses as a sign that she would help. Castilian roses did not grow in Mexico but in Spain.

On Monday December 11, Juan Diego did not return to the hilltop. On that day his uncle, Juan Bernardino, became very ill and asked Juan Diego to find him a priest at Tlatelolco.

On Tuesday December 12, Juan Diego went around the hill to avoid Our Lady. But she met him on the side of the hill and said, “Listen and understand, my humblest son. There is nothing to frighten and distress you. Do not let year heart be troubled, and let nothing upset you. Is it not I, your Mother, who is here? Are you not under my protection? Are you not, fortunately, in my care? Do not let your uncle’s illness distress you. It is certain that he has already been cured. Go up the hilltop, my son, where you will find flowers of various kinds. Cut them, and bring them into my presence.”

Juan Diego did as Our Lady had commanded. He was astonished to see so many Castilian roses at a time when the frost was severe, and Our Lady helped arranging them in his tilma (mantle).

Our Lady told Juan Diego to bring the roses to the Bishop. He opened his tilma in the presence of the Bishop, and let the roses scattered to the ground. The image of Our Lady also appeared on the tilma.

Due to the apparitions and the image, great numbers of native Mexicans went to the missionaries for Baptism. Millions were converted in the years immediately following the apparitions and the annual 20,000 human sacrifices to false god was abolished.

誓反教派在十六世紀,影響了歐洲很多信眾脫離聖教會;在另邊廂的新世界,卻因瓜達露彼聖母而教務蓬葧,進教的人數大增。

 

謙卑的兒子

 

西班牙擊潰墨西哥帝國後,若望.狄埃高是其中最早皈化聖教的土著,他和妻子在聖地牙哥的一所聖堂受洗,而他們為了參與彌撒,必需每次從家步行十四英里,到特拉特洛爾科市去。妻子在1529年逝世後,若望.狄埃高敬愛聖母之心,更形熱切。

 

1531年十二月九日,若望.狄埃高到特拉特洛爾科的途中,於達彼雅崗山麓,聽得有人呼喚他的名字,他於是登山,在山崗上赫然見到童貞聖母。

 

聖母對他說:「我至謙卑的兒子華尼托,你要知道我是卒世童貞瑪利亞,萬物賴以活存真天主的母親。我切望在這處建造恭敬我的聖堂,好讓此地居民得到我的呵護和庇蔭,好讓那些敬愛我的人向我呼求、信賴我。去!把我這意願轉告墨西哥主教,你要全力促成此事。」

 

若望.狄埃高向若翰.蘇馬拉加主教陳述始末,卻未得對方相信,於是折返山崗,請聖母另遣賢能,但聖母要他再作嘗試。

 

次日,十二月十日、星期日,若望.狄埃高再謁見主教,仍不著要領,主教反要求一些徵兆以證事情的真確。

 

卡詩娣玫瑰

 

是年,墨西哥人民正與西班牙統治者交惡,瀕臨革命邊源。蘇馬拉加主教曾向聖母求助,暗中要求聖母賜與卡詩娣玫瑰,作為幫助墨西哥人的承兆。卡詩娣玫瑰不長在墨西哥,只生長在西班牙國內。。

 

十二月十一日、星期一,若望.狄埃高沒有如諾到達彼雅崗。當日,他的叔父病重。翌日,他繞過達北雅崗,沒打算往見聖母,為的是趕赴特拉特洛爾科市替叔父找神父;聖母竟在崗麓給他顯現,指示他說:「我至謙卑的兒子,你要聽著。沒有任何事情會使你驚惶卻步!你何必心煩意亂!我、你的母親,不是在這裡嗎?你不是在我的庇蔭下嗎?你不是有幸地在我的呵護下嗎?你不用因叔父的病而苦惱,事實上,他已痊癒了。我兒,你到崗上採摘一些玫瑰送交主教,以確證我的意願。」

 

若望.狄埃高跑到崗上,驚見寒冬中生長著色艷奪目的卡詩娣玫瑰。他採集大堆,用斗篷包裹,直奔主教處。

 

跑到主教跟前,若望.狄埃高張開斗篷,卡詩娣玫瑰撒滿一地,聖母肖像此時居然顯在斗篷內面!

 

緣於這不可思議的奇蹟,一批又一批墨西哥人擁到聖堂,要求受洗。往後多年,皈依的信眾以百萬計。墨西哥人的歸化也終止了每年約兩萬的殺人祭邪神的惡行。

 

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20130318 Martyrs died for the Church 為教會捨生

King Henry VIII (1491-1547) married six times. His decision to divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, resulted in him asking the parliament to declare him as the supreme head of the Church in England.

Henry was determined to impose his will upon the people, and required his subjects to take the Oath of Supremacy—swore allegiance to the monarch as Supreme Governor of the Church in England. He punished severely those who refused to take the oath.

John Fisher & Thomas More

St. John Fisher (1469-1535) was Bishop of Rochester and Chancellor of Cambridge University. He laid the foundation of the library at Cambridge University with his personal collection of books. He began to study Greek at forty-eight, and began to study Hebrew at fifty-one.

Fisher refused the Oath of Supremacy and said, “I dare not tear the seamless robe of Christ”. Fisher defended the marriage of Henry VIII with Catherine of Aragon, and pointed out that St. John the Baptist died defending the sanctity of marriage.

John Fisher was named cardinal a month before his death. He was executed on June 22, 1535.

St. Thomas More (1478-1535) was a lawyer. He held a number of public offices and eventually became the Chancellor of England.

When Henry VIII broke with the Church, Thomas More did his best to recall him to his senses. Thomas More refused to take the Oath of Supremacy, and he was deprived of his high office and property.

On July 6, 1535 Thomas More was beheaded. He said, “I die the king’s good servant, but God’s first.”

Edmond Campion & Margaret Clitherow

            Elizabeth I, the daughter of Henry VIII, reigned from 1558 to 1603. She began a campaign of legislation against the Catholic Church and was excommunicated by Pope St. Pius V in 1570. Elizabeth started a bloody persecution of the Catholic Church in 1571.

St. Edmond Campion (1540-1581) was the first Jesuit martyr in England. He took the Oath of Supremacy and was an Anglican deacon. The study of the Church Fathers brought him back to the Catholic Faith.

Edmond Campion became a Jesuit at thirty-three. Five years later, he was ordained a priest, and about two years later he disguised as a jewel merchant and returned to England to minister to the faithful.

Edmond Campion used writings to defend and uphold the Catholic Faith. After about one year of fruitful ministry in English, Campion was arrested.

Before he was sentenced to death, Campion said, “In condemning us, you condemn all your own ancestors—all the ancient priests, bishops and kings—all that was once the glory of England.”

Campion suffered martyrdom on December 1, 1581.

St. Margaret Clitherow (1556-1586) was a convert to Catholicism after her marriage. Each morning she did one and a half hour of prayer and meditation. She also confessed twice a week and fasted four times a week.

Under Elizabeth I, it was a crime to harbor priests and to attend Mass. The house of Margaret was searched and altar furnishings were found. She was arrested on 10 March, 1586.

Since the only witnesses against Margaret would be her own little children and servants, whom she could not bear to involve in the guilt of her death, she refused to plead, but would only answer, “Having made no offense, I need no trial.”

Margaret was sentenced to be pressed to death, and she said, “God be thanked, I am not worthy of so good a death as this”.

She was executed on March 25, 1586, and her last words during an agony of fifteen minutes, were “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! have mercy on me!”

The two sons of Margaret became Catholic priests, and her daughter became a nun.

英皇亨利八世(1491-1547)結婚六次。當他要擯棄髮妻另娶時,即與聖教會決裂。

 

亨利八世因個人私慾,把連串的法律強加於英國國民身上。他要國會承認他是英國唯一的政教掌權者,並要所有國民宣誓只效忠和聽命於他,叛逆教廷,否則遭受酷刑,甚至格殺勿論。

 

若望和多默

 

聖若望.費休 (1469-1535) 是路卻斯特主教及劍橋大學校長,一手建樹大學圖書館,捐出大量私人藏書;年四十八歲學習希臘文,五十一歲進修希伯來文。

 

費休主教拒絕遵從英皇亨利八世叛逆教廷的宣誓;他揚言:「我絕不敢把基督那無縫的袍服撕裂!」他更指出「聖若翰洗者為了保衛合法婚姻,反對非法苟合,不惜以身殉道。」

 

公元1535年六月二十二日,聖若望.費休終為聖教捨生,死前一個月,被教廷擢升為樞機主教。

 

聖多默.謨爾 (1478-1535) 原是一位律師,曾任多項公職,且榮任英國首相。

 

當英皇亨利八世要與聖教會決裂時,多默.謨爾一方面力加勸阻,另方面不肯向英皇自詡的宗教權力宣誓效忠,最後被英皇褫奪所有職銜,充公全部家財。公元1535年七月六日被斬首殉道。聖人曾道:「我是國王的忠僕,但更是天主的忠僕。」

 

愛德沐和瑪加利大

 

英女皇依麗莎白一世是英皇亨利八世的女兒,自1558年統治英國至1603年。她繼續對抗教廷,1570年被教宗聖庇約十世開除教籍;翌年,依麗莎白開始以血腥手段迫害天主教。

 

聖愛德沐.江本 (1540-1581) 是第一位在英國殉道的耶穌會會士。他原擁護英皇,被委以聖公會牧職,後因閱讀教父們的著作而被感化,暗中離開祖國,重回真道。

 

愛德沐.江本三十三歲時入耶穌會,五年後晉鐸,約兩年後,喬裝珠寶商潛返英國,冒險展開傳教活動。他善於寫文章,箸作廣泛流傳,捍護天主教信仰,首年已見佳績,可惜最後被捕。

 

聖人被判死刑,他說:「今天,你們譴責我們,等於譴責你們的先人—-包括古時的神父、主教及王帝們—-這一切曾是英國的光榮。」

 

聖愛德沐.江本於公元1581年十二月一日殉道。

 

聖瑪加利大. 格利塞羅 (1556-1586) 婚後皈依聖教。每天早晨,瑪加利大均用個半小時祈禱默想,每週辦兩次告解和守四次守齋。

 

英女皇依麗莎白一世下令不可藏匿天主教神父、不可參與天主教彌撒。瑪加利大的房子被搜出開彌撒的用品,因而在1586年三月十日被逮捕。

 

官方要把瑪加利大入罪,需要她的兒女傭僕的指證;為避免他們被為難,瑪加利大無畏地說:「我沒有犯過罪,我不需要審訊。」

 

被判處死刑時,聖婦說道:「謝謝天主。我實在不配受到這樣光榮的一種死亡。」

 

聖瑪加利大.格利塞羅被判用巨大的重物活活壓死。死前,在痛苦中,她猶從口中吐出最後兩句話:「耶穌、耶穌,請矜憐我!」就義日為1586年三月二十五日。

 

瑪加利大幼女成為修女,兩個兒子亦晉陞鐸品。

20130311 Faith radiated 燦爛的信德

During the Catholic reform in the 16th and 17th centuries there were a number of shining witnesses for the Faith. St. Philip Neri (1515-1595), St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622), and St. Vincent de Paul (1581-1660) were holy priests who led many people to Christ.

St. Philip Neri

            Philip Neri was born in Florence. At eighteen he was sent to work with a cousin who was a successful businessman. His prayer experience left him without interest in worldly pursuits. He left Florence and settled in Rome at twenty.

In Rome, Philip lived the life of a hermit. He tutored for a few hours each day to support himself. He studied philosophy and theology for three years; then he sold his books and dedicated himself to prayer.

At twenty-eight, while praying in the catacombs of St. Sebastian on the eve of Pentecost, he felt a globe of light enter his mouth and sink into his heart. Thereafter on his fervors his heart would often palpitate, enlarge, and give off warmth.

Philip had a way of getting others to do good works with him or to accompany him in his devotional practices.  Philip cared the sick at the hospital and became a street-corner apostle. He spoke to everyone—-from beggars to bankers—about God,.

At thirty-five, on the advice of his confessor, Philip became a priest. As priest, he would spend hours each day hearing Confessions. Philip organized spiritual conferences and prayer sessions for his penitents, and the big room which held these gatherings was called “Oratory”; the priests who helped him were called “Oratorians”.

Philip promoted Holy Communion, Confessions, and devotions. He emphasized the importance of prayer and humility. Before Mass, Philip would distract himself with jokes and light reading so that he could get through the Mass without falling into ecstasy.

When asked how to pray, Philip’s answer was, “Be humble and obedient, and the Holy Spirit will teach you.”

St. Francis de Sales

            Francis was a gentle and patient saint. As a young priest, he volunteered to evangelize the 60,000 inhabitants at the nearby Calvinist territory.

For three years, with doors slammed in his face and rocks thrown at him, Francis had not made one convert. However, he did not give up. With unusual patience, he wrote his sermons, copied them by hand, and slipped them under the doors.

Francis went to the children and played with them. When the parents saw how kind he was to the children, they began to talk to him. Eventually about 40,000 people were brought back to the Catholic Faith.

In 1602, he became Bishop of Geneva. As Bishop he guided many people on the way to holiness through spiritual direction. He dispensed spiritual advises through letters and he wrote the spiritual classic, Introduction to the Devout Life. He taught that holiness is for all people.

“You will catch more flies”, Francis used to say, “with a spoonful of honey than with a hundred barrels of vinegar”.

St. Vincent de Paul

            In 1618, Francis de Sales and Vincent de Paul met each other in Paris. They had many ideas in common. They both saw the need for religious community of sisters that would work among the laity.

Vincent de Paul is patron saint of all charitable societies. He was the one mainly responsible for popularizing the non-cloistered way of life typical of modern feminine congregations.

Vincent was interested in every kind of charity. He served the poor, the sick, children, orphans, and the aged. He would say, “I belong to God and to the poor.”

He founded a community of priests to do missionary works, and a community of sisters for works of charity.

St. Vincent said, “Go to the poor: you will find God.”

十六及十七世紀改革中的教會,出現了好幾位璀璨信德的聖員;當中表表者有聖斐理.乃立(1515-1595)、聖方濟.沙雷(11567-1622)和聖文生.德保(1581-1660),他們都是聖德卓越的神父,帶領不少人歸向基督。

 

聖斐理. 乃立

 

斐理.乃立出生於佛羅倫斯,十八歲時曾跟隨一位成功的表親行商;但斐理的祈禱得著,使他對商界的名利追逐,全不感興趣。兩年後,斐理離開佛羅倫斯,抵達羅馬。

 

在羅馬,斐理過著隱士般的生活,只靠每天授課幾小時維生;他用了三年時間,進修哲學和神學;最後,他把所有書本賣掉,專務祈禱。

 

年屆二十八,五旬節前夕,斐理在聖巴斯弟盎墓穴祈禱時,突然感到一團光從他的口溶入他的內心深處。此後,他多次在熱誠時會心火熾熱、心速加快、身內暖和。

 

斐理有相當的感染力,能使別人願意與他一起投身,全心行善;他常到醫院探訪病者,且成了「街頭使徒」,向每一個人談及天主 —— 無論是叫化子或是銀行主腦。

 

在告解神師指引下,斐理三十五歲時領受神品。他成為神父後,每天長時間聽告解,更騰空一寬闊房間為悔罪的人講道及舉行敬禮;其他的神父們也幫助他組織這種祈禱聚會。

 

斐理苦心勸勉信眾妥辦告解,推動敬禮聖體及其它敬禮,常強調祈禱和謙遜的重要。有時候在舉行彌撒前,斐理神父需要藉談笑和輕鬆的閱讀來使自己有點分心,以防在主持彌撒時神魂超拔。

 

當被問及如何祈禱,聖斐理.乃立答道:「當謙遜和服從,聖神自會指引。」

 

聖方濟.沙雷

 

聖方濟.沙雷是溫和忍耐的聖人。尚是一位年青的神父時,聖方濟自告奮勇,到充斥著六萬名喀爾文主義的誓反教教徒的地區福傳。可惜,經歷了三載,聖方濟仍吃閉門羹,遭到投石趕走;不過,聖人並未氣餒,耐心地把講道手書成疊疊的傳單,透過每家的門底,逐戶派發。

 

孩童的父母們看到方濟跟孩子們玩耍時的慈愛,開始願意與這位天主教神父交談;最後,約有四萬個誓反教教徒,皈化聖教。

 

1602年,方濟神父被擢升為日內瓦主教。方濟主教深信成聖是為眾人而設,所以,他藉箸作和宣講的神修指導,誘導了很多人行走修德成聖之道,他那「熱心引」一書,是研究靈修生活的權威箸作。

 

聖方濟描述溫和的好處,嘗道:「一小匙的蜜糖已能吸引大批蒼蠅,數百桶的醋也望塵莫及。」

 

聖文生. 德保

 

1618年,方濟.沙雷與文生.德保在巴黎相遇,發覺彼此很多見解相同,並認定除神父外,教友社群還需要其它服務,這方面,修女們應可擔當一定的角色。

 

文生致力愛德服務,他服侍貧窮病弱的人,照顧童叟、孤兒。文生自稱「屬於天主,屬於貧苦大眾。」

 

他創立司鐸組織「遣使會」,履行傳教使命,又創立「仁愛修女會」,實踐愛德工作。故此,聖文生.德保是慈善事業的主保,他也推動非隱修的女修會,在世上奉行愛德善功。

 

聖文生.德保說:「走進貧窮人堆,你會找到天主。」