20130624 Mystics affirm human dignity 精修者確認人性尊嚴

Archbishop Fulton Sheen pointed out that it seems that there is a crisis about every five hundred years in the history of Christendom. The first cycle of five hundred years was the fall of Rome, and God raised up Pope Gregory the Great to set about conversion of the barbarians and prepared the way for a Christian Europe.

At the end of the second cycle, around the year 1000, there was the Eastern schism and the decline of the holiness in the Church. Gregory VII reformed the Church and prepared the way for the great medieval civilization.

In the third cycle of the five hundred years, there was the Protestant revolt. Pope Pius V applied the reforms of the Council of Trent and established missionary activities throughout the world.

Before his death in 1979, Sheen wrote, “Now we are in the fourth cycle of five hundred years, with two world wars in twenty-one years, and the universal dread of nuclear incineration. This time God has given us John Paul II, who has drawn the attention of the world to himself as no human being has done in history.”

Vatican Council II

            Before becoming Pope John Paul II, Karol Wojtyla attended the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) as a bishop. The Council was convoked by Pope John XXIII as a means to make the Church more effective in her ministry to the modern world.

            Vatican II encouraged greater participation of the laity in the life of the Church and stirred the consciences of all Christians to work for unity and peace.

             The Council also opened the Scriptures more fully for the faithful in the liturgy and brought the liturgies closer to the people.

John Paul II

            Archbishop Fulton Sheen pointed out that false mysticism ends in politics. He wrote, “Our times have seen the rise of the Red mysticism of class and party in communism, the Black mysticism of the state under fascism, and the Brown mysticism of the race under Nazism. In other parts of the world, a false mystique uncoiled like a serpent suffocated freedom of speech and suppressed opposition and assassinated those who differed.”

            Pope John Paul II was a true mystic who affirmed the dignity of the human person. He brought out clearly the message of the universal call to holiness. He proposed numerous saints and blessed as examples of authentic Christian living.

            As a pastoral pope, John Paul II loved the people intensely and reached out to all people as their father and pastor.

Mother Teresa

            Another saintly figure of the 20th century is Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. Like John Paul II, she was a mystic who affirmed the dignity of the human person. Desiring to satiate the thirst of Jesus Christ on the cross for love and for souls, Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity in 1950.

            The constitution of the Missionaries of Charity states: “The spirit of our society is one of loving trust, total surrender and cheerfulness as lived by Jesus and His mother.”

            Both John Paul II and Mother Teresa were intensely devoted to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Their words and examples help us to translate the teachings of Vatican II into actions, and equip the Church to face the great challenges of the 21st century.

These challenges include: the question of Islam, the new evangelization in formerly Christian regions, the continuing crisis of dissent with widespread ignorance of the Catholic teachings among the faithful, and the culture of death against the traditional values of family, marriage and life.  

            This article concludes the series of twenty-six articles on Church History. These articles can be viewed on my personal site: http://www.fatheranthonyho.com. 

傅敦.施廉總主教指出,過去的基督徒歷史,似乎每五百年便出現一次危機。首五百年是羅馬帝國的滅亡,天主提拔了教宗大國瑞,他使外族皈化,為歐洲的基督化舖路。

 

繼後的五百年,東方教會分裂,教會靈修式微,幸好教宗國瑞七世,改革教會,為中世紀歐洲文化奠下基礎。

 

之後的五百年,基督教派冒昇,教宗碧岳十世以特利騰大公會議領導改革,建設教會普世的傳教事業。

 

在他離世前,1979年,施廉總主教寫道:「近代的五百年,二十一年內,經歷兩次世界大戰,核戰威脅,教宗若望保祿二世,史無前例地把整個世界都注視著他。」

 

梵二大公會議

 

1962-1965年,教宗若望二十三世召開梵蒂崗第二次大公會議,目的是要使教會在新世代更有效地行使牧職,後來的教宗若望保祿二世當年以嘉祿.胡哲洛主教身份參加。

 

梵蒂崗第二次大公會議通諭普世信眾積極參與教會事務,並為教會合一及和平作出努力。

 

若望保祿二世

傅敦.施廉總主教曾指出:謬誤的神修最終引致政治。在近代有紅色的共產主義、黑色的法西斯主義,和褐色的納粹主義;而另邊廂的世界,又出現壓制言論,和鏟除異己的勢力。

 

教宗若望保祿二世卻是一位肯定人性尊嚴的精修者;他呼籲普世眾人,齊走成聖之路,他同時把多位聖賢,宣福宣聖,把真實的基督化生活,向世人彰顯;他亦以牧職身份、慈父形象,走訪各地,表達對眾人的關愛。

 

德蘭修女

 

          二十世紀另一個聖賢,是加爾各答的真福德蘭修女。像教宗若望保祿二世一樣,德蘭修女也是當代維護人性尊嚴的顯赫典範。她為順應苦架上的耶穌對人靈和愛的渴望,在1950年創辦了「仁愛傳教女修會」。

 

「仁愛傳教女修會」的憲章註明:「本會精神,是效法耶穌和祂的母親去愛的信賴、全然交託,和喜樂。」

 

教宗若望保祿二世和德蘭修女,都特別恭敬聖體內的耶穌,及瑪利亞無玷之心。他們的言行,均活現梵蒂崗第二次大公會議的訓導,並幫助教會能面對二十一世紀的挑戰。這些挑戰,包括來自伊斯蘭教的問題、在昔日聖教勝地重新福傳的困境、對聖教訓導置諸不理的風氣繼續蔓延、對傳統生命、婚姻和家庭價值的攻擊等。

 

本章乃有關教會歷史共二十六章的最後一章。如要重溫,可到我個人網站www.fatheranthonyho.com細閱。

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