Monthly Archives: December 2013

20131230 Devout soul spends time with God 把時間獻給天主

St. Francis de Sales recommended mental prayer early in the morning, when our mind is less cumbered and more vigorous after the night’s rest. St. Alphonsus Liguori said, “It is morally impossible for him who neglects meditation to live without sin.”

Fifteen minutes
St. Teresa was prepared to pledge salvation to anyone who would spend a quarter of an hour daily in meditation. Our Lady asked the faithful to keep her company for a quarter of an hour on the first Saturday of the month, meditating on the 15 mysteries of the rosary, in reparation for sins.
It is a good practice, therefore, to spend at least 15 minutes each morning in meditation.
Good meditation books are valuable resources for spiritual growth. I warmly recommend the following sets of meditation books: In Conversation with God, by Father Francis Fernandez Carvajal, Divine Intimacy, by Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, and Biblical Meditations, by Father Carroll Stuhlmueller.
One can prepare for meditation by reading from a meditation book the evening before, highlighting points for meditation, and using those points during meditation.
Meditation on the passion of Christ is very pleasing to God. Our Lord told St. Faustina: “There is more merit to one hour of meditation on my sorrowful passion than there is to a whole year of flagellation that draws blood; the contemplation of my painful wounds is of great profit to you, and it brings me great joy.”
On another occasion, Our Lord said, “There are few souls who contemplate my passion with true feeling; I give great graces to souls who meditate devoutly on my passion.”
Devotional practices such as the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, the Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary, and the Stations of the Cross help the faithful to form the habit of meditating on the passion of Christ.

Daily prayer
St. Francis de Sales taught the faithful to sanctify the day through morning and evening prayer.
During morning prayer, we should offer the whole day to God. We may do so by praying the “Morning Offering.” Here is a “Morning Offering” recited daily by members of the World Apostolate of Fatima:
“O my God, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus from all the altars throughout the world, joining with it the offering of my every thought, word, and action of this day.
“O my Jesus, I desire today to gain every indulgence and merit I can, and I offer them, together with myself, to Mary Immaculate, that she may best apply them to the interests of Thy Most Sacred Heart.
“Precious Blood of Jesus, save us! Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us! Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!”
St. Francis de Sales exhorted the faithful to make an examination of conscience in the evening before going to rest. We should thank God for preserving us through the day and examine how we have conducted ourselves through the day.
If we have done anything good, we should thank God for it. If we have sinned in thought, word, deed, or omission, we should ask for forgiveness and resolve to amend our lives.
St. Anthony of Padua was one of the first to recommend the recitation of three Hail Marys in the morning and in the evening, which is a beautiful practice. St. Leonard of Port-Maurice had the three Hail Marys recited morning and evening to obtain the grace of avoiding all mortal sins during the day or night.
St. Alphonsus of Liguori exhorted parents and confessors to watch carefully that children be faithful in reciting each day their three Hail Marys, morning and evening.

聖方濟.沙雷提議信眾在每日的早上作默禱,因為我們在早上不如晚上感到疲累,頭腦又較晚上時分活躍清晰。聖雅豐索說:「忽略默想的人,很難不活於罪惡中。」

 

十五分鐘

 

聖德蘭願意保證,每天用十五分鐘默想的人,靈魂必定會得救。聖母要信眾每逢首瞻禮七(每月第一個星期六),用十五分鐘時間,陪同她的聖心默想玫瑰經的奧蹟,為補贖罪過。每天早上能抽撥十五分鐘默想,是非常好的習慣。

 

好的默想書籍,對我們的靈修非常寶貴。例如:方濟.范嘉華神父的「與天主對話」、嘉俾厄爾.馬達肋神父的「神聖親密」、和嘉祿.史牧拏神父的「聖經默想」;中文的有傅文輝神父的「每日彌撒讀經釋義」,這些都是好的靈修書籍。

 

默想基督苦難能鍾悅天主。耶穌向聖傅天娜說:「用上一小時默想我的痛苦奧蹟,比打一年苦鞭更有聖功。注目於我的聖傷,使我感到欣慰,裨益你的靈修。」耶穌又曾說:「不多人會沉思我的苦難。我會賜給熱心默想我苦難的人,很豐厚的聖寵。」

 

習慣誦唸「慈悲串經」、「玫瑰經的痛苦奧蹟」和習慣「拜苦路」,會幫助我們好好默想基督的苦難。

 

每日禱文

 

聖方濟.沙雷敦促信眾,每天藉早課和晚課,把自己的整天奉獻。

 

誦唸早課時,我們把自己完全奉獻給天主。「花地瑪普世宗徒會」成員,均每天誦唸早課如下:

 

「我的天主!我現在偕同瑪利亞無玷之心,將今天的思、言、行為,伴著本日全世界彌撒中祭禮內的耶穌寶血,奉獻給祢。噢!我的耶穌,今天我所能獲得一切大赦和功勞,我都願意得到,並把它們和自己一起奉獻給無玷瑪利亞,讓她依照祢聖心的意向來使用。耶穌寶血,請救助我們!無玷瑪利亞之心,請為我們祈求!耶穌聖心,矜憐我等!」

 

聖方濟.沙雷要信眾們每晚上床前,做謙遜而誠實的省察。我們多謝天主整日的呵護,檢討如何渡過這一天;如果我們在一天內行了善,我們向天主感恩;萬一我們在思、言、行為上犯錯,我們必須痛悔,求得罪之赦,然後想想怎樣改過。

 

辰暮兩刻都誦唸三篇「聖母經」是非常美麗的善功。聖安多尼是第一個倡導唸三篇「聖母經」的敬禮。聖良納勸信友早晚誦唸三篇「聖母經」,特別為求免犯大罪。聖雅豐索鼓勵父母和聽告司鐸們督促孩子們早晚誦唸三篇「聖母經」。

20131216 Devout soul meditates 熱心作默想

In the first part of An Introduction to the Devout Life, St. Francis de Sales points out that devotion and charity are inseparable. Devotion requires purification from mortal sin, affection for sin, and imperfections.
In the second part of the book, St. Francis describes the practice of prayer in the devout life. Prayer opens our mind and will to God. It helps to purify the soul.
St. Francis especially recommends mental prayer drawn from the contemplation of the life and Passion of Christ. We should begin all prayer, whether mental or vocal, by placing ourselves in the presence of God.

Preparation
St. Francis suggests four methods for placing ourselves in the presence of God: first, realizing in a lively, earnest way that God’s presence is universal; second, calling to mind that God is very specially present in our heart and mind; third, dwelling upon the thought of Christ looking down upon all people from heaven; fourth, picturing Jesus at our side.
However, when the Blessed Sacrament is there, then this Presence is no longer imaginary, but most real.
Having placed ourselves in the presence of God, we should invoke His divine assistance to make a proper meditation. We can also invoke our guardian angel and those saints most especially connected with the subject of meditation.

Meditation
Depending on the subject of meditation, the practice of “composition of place” may be used to set forth the mystery.
Composition of place is “simply kindling a vivid picture of the mystery to be meditated within your imagination, even as though you were actually beholding it. For instance, if you wish to meditate upon Our Lord on His cross, you will place yourself in imagination on Mount Calvary, as though you saw and heard all that occurred there during the Passion.”
According to St. Francis de Sales, meditations are “certain considerations by which we raise the affections to God and heavenly things.”
“Meditation differs therein from study and ordinary methods of thought which have not the Love of God or growth in holiness for their object, but some other end, such as the acquisition of learning or power of argument.”
Meditative considerations should lead to affections and resolutions. St. Francis writes, “You must not stop short in general affections, without turning them into special resolutions for your own correction and amendment.”
Resolutions should be practical and concrete. We should strive to retain them on our return to active duties.

Conclusion
We should make three acts at the conclusion of meditation: first, an act thanksgiving for the graces received during meditation; second, an act of oblation to offer our affections and resolutions; third, an act of intercession for the fulfilment of our resolutions and for the needs of others.
We should select a few points from meditation to dwell on them from time to time during the day. If we experience dryness during meditation we may use vocal prayer or a spiritual book to help us meditate.
A nun went to St. Teresa of Avila in great discouragement because she thought she could not practise mental prayer. The saint asked the nun how she tried to pray. She told St. Teresa that she merely said over and over again the “Our Father” and “Hail Mary,” thinking of Our Lord in some scene of His Passion.
On further questioning, St. Teresa found that in her vocal prayers the nun enjoyed pure contemplation, and occasionally God lifted her to perfect union with Himself. If prayed well, the rosary can become pure contemplative prayer.
Meditative reading is one of the methods of mental prayer. St. Benedict set apart two hours each day for reading Sacred Scripture and the writings of the Fathers. We listen to God in holy reading.

方濟.沙雷的「導入虔敬的生活」神修巨箸,其第一部份指出,熱心與愛德不可分割。熱心要求淨化: 棄絕罪惡、擯除對大小罪的情趣、清除靈魂的不完善。

 

            在第二部份,聖方濟敘述熱心的靈魂應如何祈禱。祈禱幫助我們淨潔靈魂,開放我們的心靈和理志給天主。聖人特別推薦心禱;這種心禱應源於默觀基督內在生命和祂的苦難。我們無論作口禱或默禱,都應先把自己置於天主的臨在。

 

 

準備

如何把自己置身於天主的臨在呢?聖方濟.沙雷有四點建議:一,緊記天主其實是無所不在;二,想到天主特別臨在於我們的心靈內;三,想到基督從天上看顧著我們每一個人;四,想像耶穌就在我們的身旁。不過,當我們在聖體前祈禱,這個想像倒不必了,因為耶穌確實臨在。

 

既已在天主面前,我們要懇求祂的助佑,讓我們有妥善的默想;我們也可以向護守天使或與默想主題有關的聖人們求助。

 

 

默想

 

按一些默想的主題,可設法搆思有關地點的景象;譬如,要默想十字架上的基督,我們便要想像自己正在加爾瓦略山上,目睹我主的苦難。

 

聖方濟.沙雷解釋:「所謂默想,就是為了激起我們對天主或與祂有關的事情,發生嚮往的情趣,而引起來的深思熟慮。」「這種深思熟慮,與學術研究,而或另有目的的思考,是大異其趣的:默想是為了修德愛主,其他思考,或是為了博學,或是為了寫作,或是為了論戰。」

 

默想不止於情感,而應能付諸實踐。聖方濟寫道:「你不能就此停滯於感情之中,你該更進一步,很具體地立個志向,要改正自己的某某缺點,這才算是畫龍點睛的工作。」定的志向應該是實在和具體的。我們要將志向帶到日常生活中付諸實行。

 

 

結束

 

默想結束時我們應該做三件事:一、為了從默想中所得到的聖寵,表示感恩;二、把情感和志向奉獻給主;三、為實踐志向和別人的需要而祈求。我們應從默想中選出幾項要點在日間多次重温。

 

一旦感到默想乏味,可用口禱或閱讀聖書來幫助自己。有一位修女以為自己不能作心禱,氣餒地向聖女大德蘭求教。聖女問她怎樣默禱,她答說常重複默唸天主經和聖母經,並想着耶穌受難的景象。聖女更進一步詢問修女,發現該修女在口禱時其實已嘗到純正的默觀;有時候,天主更提升該修女達到與天主完美的結合。其實,善唸玫瑰經能讓我們達到純正的默觀。

 

神修閱讀也是心禱的一種方法。聖本篤每天都撥出兩小時閱讀聖經或教父們的箸作,就是藉閱讀來聆聽天主說話。

20131209 Grace purifies the soul 聖寵淨潔靈魂

St. Francis de Sales pointed out that the first step in the devout life is the purification of the soul. We need to be patient, for “ordinary purification and healing, whether of body or soul, are accomplished little by little, progressing slowly, and often hardly at all.”
On the spiritual journey, failures and setbacks are inevitable; we should not be discouraged by them, nor should we overlook and ignore them.
St. Francis pointed out that our perfection consists in struggling against our spiritual infirmities, “which we cannot do unless we perceive them, neither can we conquer unless we come into collision with them. Victory does not lie in ignoring our infirmities, but in resisting them.”

General confession
The first thing we must purify ourselves of is sin, especially mortal sin, and the means to purify ourselves is the sacrament of penance. We are obliged to confess all our mortal sins committed since baptism. St. Francis de Sales recommended the practice of general confession.
A general confession is a repetition of all previous confessions, or at least of some of them. General confession is necessary if a person has made a bad confession in the past by purposely omitting a mortal sin.
For others, general confession is recommended as conducive to greater self-knowledge, to deeper humility, and to increased peace of mind. It is good to make a general confession annually after a retreat. This is called a confession of devotion.
Regarding general confession, St. Francis wrote, “Hesitate not, then, to open your heart fully in confession, for in proportion as your sins go forth, the precious merits of Christ’s passion will come in and fill you with all blessings.”

Deep contrition
To make progress in the spiritual life, we must be purified both from sin and from affection for sin.
St. Francis wrote, “Some penitents, though they forsake sin outwardly, do not forsake the love of sin; that is to say, they resolve to sin no more, but it is with reluctance that they abstain from the fatal delights of sin. Their hearts renounce it, and seek to depart, but they frequently look longingly behind them, as did Lot’s wife.”
Hence we should strive to achieve deep contrition, which not only serves to purify us from actual sin, but also serves to purify us from all affection for sin. A hearty and vigorous contrition helps a person to lose all delight in everything appertaining to sin. An effective means to achieve this kind of contrition is the exercise of meditation.
St. Francis de Sales suggested the faithful meditate on the following: creation, why God made us, the mercies and favours of God, sin, death, judgment, hell, paradise, and the choice of a devout life.
Meditation, deep contrition, and sincere confession serve to purify the soul from mortal sins and affection for them. However we should also strive to purify ourselves from affection for venial sins.
St. Francis pointed out that though we can never be wholly free from venial sins, we can be free from affection for them. “There is a wide difference between a chance falsehood concerning some trivial matter, which is the result of carelessness, and taking pleasure in falsehood or deliberately telling lies.”
Inclinations to mortal sin are opposed to charity, and inclinations to venial sin are opposed to devotion. Mortal sin kills the soul spiritually, while deliberate venial sin wounds it grievously.
Detachment is an important aspect of purification. We should not let ourselves be absorbed by activities such as sports, balls, festivities, display, and drama.
St. Francis wrote, “The evil lies not in doing the thing, but in caring for it.” We should leave our heart free for God and for the interior life.

聖方濟.沙雷指出,踏出熱心生活的第一步,是要有潔淨的靈魂;但我們需要耐心,因為「一般身心的淨化及痊癒,是要按步就班,不能一促即就。」

 

其實,靈修生活會有起跌熾淡,我們不必氣餒,也不要輕視和忽略。聖方濟分析,我們成全之路,不能避免與自己靈性上軟弱對抗,「如果我們不能戮刺這軟弱,我們會寸進難前;假如我們不面對這軟弱,我們又何來征服它呢?克服的勝利,非在於掩面而過,卻是奮力抵抗。」

 

總告解

 

要淨潔靈魂,第一樣要做的,就是要清除罪污,所用的工具是告解(修和)聖事。我們必須要把領洗後犯過的大罪,在告解中告明。聖方濟.沙雷推薦「總告解神功」。

 

「總告解」是重複以往辦過的告解,或以往部份的告解。若以前曾故意隱瞞的大罪,沒有妥辦的告解,便有嚴重責任去辦「總告解」。為其他的教友,辦「總告解」幫助人更認識自己、深化自己的謙卑,增進內心的平安。每年退省後辦的總告解,我們稱之為「虔敬的告解」。

 

有關「總告解」,聖方濟寫道:「在告解時,把你的心靈敞開,你的罪愈淌出,基督苦難寶貴的功勞就愈進入並帶來祝福。」

 

深切懺悔

 

要使靈修進步,不只要清除罪污,亦要除去對罪的情趣。聖方濟寫道:「有些人外表表示要棄絕罪惡,但內心不然,仍有對罪惡的慾欲有所依戀;也就是說,雖然他們似有定改之心,聲明離開罪惡,但只勉強地戒絕罪的快感,不時回頭探看,正如羅特的妻子一樣。」

 

因此,要奮力達到深切懺悔,以求淨除罪惡,亦祈擯棄對罪惡的依戀。一個從心底堅定的痛悔,會令一個人對任何涉及犯罪的事情,感到索然無味。「默想」對深切懺悔極其有助。

 

聖方濟.沙雷建議信眾,可以默想天主的創造、為何我們被創造、天主的慈悲與恩賜,又可以默想罪惡、死亡、審判、地獄、天堂,和選擇渡虔誠的生活。

 

默想、懺悔和誠摯的告解,能淨除靈魂的大罪,消除大罪的惡果。不過,我們不應忽略努力淨除小罪的必要。聖方濟又指出,我們不能完全杜絕小罪,但是,我們可以脫離對小罪的情趣。他寫道:「要知道,由於暢意樂心,一兩次在小事情上撒謊作弄人,這是一回事;而以撒謊騙人為樂趣,却是另一回事,二者是不可同日而語的!」

傾向大罪就是相反愛德,傾向小罪是相反虔誠。大罪謀殺靈魂,小罪則可以嚴重傷害靈魂。

 

棄俗的精神對潔淨靈魂十分重要。我們要避免留戀世間的娛慶,例如體育運動、慶會盛宴、外觀擺設、劇集電影等。聖方濟寫道:「作這些事,也無錯誤可言,只是寄情於這些事,那就錯莫大焉!」我們應該騰空心扉,以容天主及內在靈修。

20131202 Devotion adds flame to charity 虔誠熾熱愛心

In the last few months we have looked at the lives of the children of Fatima, modern saints and blesseds, and founders of ecclesial movements and communities. The teachings and examples of these holy people point to the “universal call to holiness.”
You can review these articles at my personal site (www.fatheranthonyho.com). Starting this week, we are going to explore the spiritual life based on the spiritual classic of St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622): An Introduction to the Devout Life.
Devotion and love of God are inseparable. St. Francis wrote, “As charity leads us to obey and fulfill all God’s commandments, so devotion leads us to obey them with promptitude and diligence.”
The saint pointed out that charity and devotion differ no more than flame and fire. “Charity is a spiritual fire which, when it flames brightly, becomes devotion; and devotion adds to the fire of charity a flame which renders it ready, active, and diligent, not only in keeping His commandments, but in carrying out His heavenly inspirations and counsels of perfection.”
St. Therese of Lisieux said, “Sanctity does not consist in this or that practice, but in a disposition of heart which makes us humble and small in the arms of God.”
Holiness consists not in the multiplication of devotional practices, but in the fulfillment of the will of God in the ordinariness of daily life.

Devotion is joyful
St. Francis de Sales pointed out that a devout life is not sad and gloomy, but happy and lovely. St. Teresa of Avila said, “A sad nun is a bad nun. I am more afraid of one unhappy sister than a crowd of evil spirits.”
“What would happen if we hid what little sense of humour we have? Let each of us humbly use this to cheer others.” She prayed, “God deliver me from sad-faced saints.”
Saints are not sad. They are people filled with joy, which is the fruit of charity.
“Devotion” is spiritual sugar which gives sweetness to mortification, disciplines, penance, sacrifice, and suffering. The devout life is like a ladder which allows us to descend in action to the aid of neighbour and to ascend in contemplation to a loving union with God. Living the devout life means finding true happiness in God, and sharing this happiness with others.

Devotion is universal
The “universal call to holiness” is an important theme of the Second Vatican Council and the Pontificate of Blessed John Paul II.
St. Francis de Sales pointed out that devotion is suitable to all kinds of vocations and professions. “The practice of devotion must be adapted to the capabilities, the engagements, and the duties of each individual,” for “true devotion hinders no one, but rather it perfects everything, and whenever it is out of keeping with any person’s legitimate vocation, it must be spurious.”
To live the devout life, one must fulfill one’s daily duties out of love for God. St. Josemaria Escriva teaches us that all the faithful are called to be holy through work.
He wrote, “It is we, men walking in the street, ordinary Christians immersed in the bloodstream of society, whom Our Lord wants to be saints and apostles, in the very midst of our professional work; that is, sanctifying our job in life, sanctifying ourselves in it, and through it, helping others to sanctify themselves as well.”
“Do everything for Love. Thus there will be no little things: everything will be big. Perseverance in little things for Love is heroism.”
Blessed John Paul II said, “True holiness does not mean a flight from the world; rather it lies in the effort to incarnate the Gospel in everyday life: in the family, at school and at work, and in social and political involvement.”

過去數月,我們談及花地瑪的三個小童、現代一些真福聖者和聖人,也提到一些創建平信徒團體及運動的哲賢,他們給我們有著同樣的啟發,就是「普世被召叫成聖」。歡迎到我的網站www.fatheranthonyho.com重溫這些文章。從本週起,我們按方濟.沙雷(1567-1622)的神修巨箸「導入虔敬的生活」,探討一下什麼是靈修。

虔誠的心跟愛天主的心是不可分割。聖方濟寫著:「愛德使我們服從並遵從天主的誡命;虔誠使我們爽快和勤奮地去服從誡命。」聖人以愛德和虔誠比喻為火和火焰:「愛德是神火,當它燒得光亮時,便成為虔敬。虔敬為愛德之火加上火焰,使它能隨時隨地、積極和努力地克守天主誡命,更願意遵從祂的啟發和成聖的勸喻。」

聖女小德蘭說:「成聖不在於作這些或那些神業,而是在於使我們謙虛及在天主雙臂中變得緲少的心態。」成聖並非只基於增多熱心的神業,卻有賴在日常的平凡生活中,實行天主的聖意。

 

喜樂的虔誠

聖方濟.沙雷指出,虔誠的生活不是哀愁憂鬱,反而是快樂可愛。聖女大德蘭說:「愁眉苦臉的修女,不會是個好的修女。我怕一個不快樂的修女,多過怕一群凶惡的魔鬼… 把內心僅有的幽默感都收藏起來,你可想像情況會怎樣?讓我們每個人,謙卑地運用自己的幽默,以娛他人。」她祈禱說:「天主,救我於苦臉的聖人。」聖人不會是憂鬱的人,他們是充滿喜樂,因為那是愛德的果實。

「虔誠」是靈性的甜糖,令克苦、修行、補贖、犧牲和受苦,都一一感到甘飴。虔誠靈修的生活,好像一條雙向上落的梯子,一面向下以行動幫助近人,另一面向上在默觀中與天主的愛共融。虔誠的靈修,是在天主內尋找真愛,然後和其它人分享這份真愛。

普世的虔誠

「普世成聖的召叫」是梵蒂崗第二次大公會議一項重要議題,也是真福教宗若望保祿二世所強調。聖方濟.沙雷曾指出,處於不同聖召或職業的人,都可渡虔敬的生活:「虔敬的修煉要迎合個人的能力、交往或職責。」因為「真正的虔誠,不會窒礙人,反而幫助所有事情達致完滿。虔誠一旦超越了個人聖召合理的範圍,便是偽虔誠。」

要渡虔誠的生活,必需每天為愛天主而善盡本份。聖施禮華神父教我們,信友們是在他們的工作中被召叫成聖。聖人寫道:「那就是我們,每天活在社群中,在街上與別人無異地熙來攘往,被天主召叫在我們的專業工作中成聖人和使徒。我們要在生命中聖化工作,在工作中聖化自己,並藉工作幫助他人成聖。」「 為了愛而做每一件事。因而將沒有微不足道的事:每件事都是偉大的。為了愛而在小事情上恆心到底是英雄的表現。」

真福教宗若望保祿二世曾說:「真正的聖善並非脫離現實,卻是在日常生活中,在我們的家庭、學校、辦公室、社會和政治活動中,體現福音。」

20131125 St. Josemaria promoted holiness 施禮華宣揚成聖

St. Josemaria Escriva was born in Barbastro, Spain, Jan. 9, 1902. He was the second of six children of a devout family.
In 1904, Josemaria was gravely ill and the doctors gave up on him. However, he was cured unexpectedly; his parents attributed the cure to the intercession of Our Lady of Torreciudad, and took him on a pilgrimage of thanksgiving.
On April 23, 1912, Josemaria made his first Communion. In preparation, a friar had taught him a beautiful prayer for spiritual communion which he remembered all his life: “I wish, Lord, to receive You with the purity, humility, and devotion with which Your most holy mother received you, with the spirit and fervour of the saints.”
Josemaria’s three sisters died in 1910, 1912, and 1913. His father’s business failed in 1914. These tragic events taught Josemaria the meaning of suffering and brought him to maturity. The family moved to Logrono, where his father had found new employment.

Founding of Opus Dei
During the Christmas vacation of 1917, Josemaria saw the bare footprints of a Carmelite friar. Josemaria asked himself, “If other people make such sacrifices for God and neighbour, can’t I offer Him something?”
He intuited that God wanted something of him, although he didn’t know exactly what. He decided to become a priest in order to be available for whatever God wanted of him. In 1918, he began his studies; he was ordained March 28, 1925.
On Oct. 2, 1928, while he was on retreat in Madrid, Father Escriva was inspired by God to found Opus Dei, an institution within the Catholic Church dedicated to helping people in all walks of life to follow Christ and to seek holiness in their daily lives.
In 1930 Father Escriva started Opus Dei (the two Latin words mean “Work of God”) for women, making it clear that they had the same responsibility as men to serve the Church and society.
While celebrating Mass on Feb. 14, 1943, Father Escriva was inspired to found the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross. On June 25, 1944, three members of Opus Dei were ordained priests.

Spreading the fire of love
Father Escriva moved to Rome in 1946 and became the driving force behind the spreading of Opus Dei around the world. In 1948 full membership in Opus Dei was opened to married people. On June 16, 1950, Pope Pius XII granted definitive papal approval of Opus Dei.
In 1951 Father Escriva consecrated the families of Opus Dei members to the Holy Family. He also consecrated Opus Dei to the Most Sweet Heart of Mary. During the 1950s, in answer to the needs of the world, he promoted universities, training schools, agricultural colleges, hospitals, and clinics.
During the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), the council fathers sought the advice of Father Escriva on themes such as the universal call to holiness and the function of lay people in the mission of the Church.
In 1969 Father Escriva travelled to shrines of Our Lady, praying for the Church and for world peace. He visited the Marian shrines of Lourdes, Sonsoles, El Pilar, La Merced, Einsiedeln and Loreto.
Between 1970 and 1975 Father Escriva undertook catechetical trips throughout Europe and Latin America, teaching Christian doctrine and Christian living to many people.
Father Escriva died in his office in Rome June 26, 1975. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II May 17, 1992, and canonized by him Oct. 6, 2002.
“Sanctity is made up of heroic acts. Therefore in our work we are asked for the heroism of finishing properly the tasks committed to us, day after day, even though they are the same tasks. If we don’t, then we do not want to be saints.”

施禮華宣揚成聖

20131118 Dorothy promoted peace 杜洛菲宣揚和平

Dorothy Day (1897-1980), the foundress of the Catholic Worker movement, was born in Brooklyn and was baptized at an Episcopal church in Chicago. In 1916 she settled in New York and worked for Socialist publications. In 1949 Dorothy described herself as an “ex-Communist.”

Road to Catholicism
As a young journalist in New York, Dorothy would sometimes visit a Catholic church at night. The Catholic climate of worship and spiritual discipline appealed to her. She saw the Catholic Church as “the church of the immigrants, the church of the poor.”
In 1922 Dorothy worked as a reporter in Chicago. She lived with three young women who went to Mass every Sunday and prayed each day. Dorothy was convinced that “worship, adoration, thanksgiving, supplication were the noblest acts of which we are capable in this life.”
In 1924 Dorothy bought a property in the New York borough of Staten Island. She started to live common law with Forster Batterham, who was anti-religion and anti-marriage. Dorothy’s growing interest in Catholicism often led to quarrels.
Unexpectedly, Dorothy discovered that she was pregnant. Despite the opposition of Forster, Dorothy kept the child and had her baptized in a Catholic church. After breaking up with Forster, Dorothy herself was received into the Catholic Church on Dec. 28, 1926.

Catholic Worker movement
On Dec. 9, 1932, Dorothy met Peter Maurin, who encouraged her to start a newspaper to “bring the best of Catholic thought to the man in the street in the language of the man in the street.”
In May 1933 the first issue of The Catholic Worker was printed. By December, 100,000 copies were being printed each month. The paper didn’t merely complain but called on its readers to make personal responses.
In his essays, Peter opposed the idea that Christians should take care only of their friends and leave the care of strangers to impersonal charitable agencies. Every home should have its “Christ Room” and every parish a house of hospitality ready to receive the “ambassadors of God.”
Eventually the editors of the paper started to welcome poor and homeless strangers, and by 1936 there were 33 Catholic Worker houses spread across the U.S.
A social worker asked Dorothy how long her “clients” were permitted to stay. Dorothy answered, “We let them stay forever.”
She explained, “They live with us, they die with us, and we give them a Christian burial. We pray for them after they are dead. Once they are taken in, they become members of the family, or rather they always were members of the family. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ.”
Pacifism: opposition to war and violence, was Dorothy’s position. She urged friends and associates of the Catholic Worker movement “to the caring for the sick and the wounded, to the growing of food for the hungry, to the continuance of all our works of mercy in our houses and on our farms.”
The Catholic Worker movement supported works of mercy, but not works of war.
In 1965 Dorothy went to Rome to take part in a fast, praying that the Second Vatican Council would issue a clear statement against war and violence. In December, the Constitution on the Church in the Modern World was approved by the bishops.
The council described as “a crime against God and humanity” any act of war “directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants.” The council called on states to make legal provision for conscientious objectors while describing as “criminal” those who obey commands which condemn the innocent and defenceless.
Dorothy died on Nov. 29, 1980. Cardinal John O’Connor of New York launched the canonization process in 1997, the 100th anniversary of Dorothy’s birth.

杜洛菲.戴爾 (1897-1980) 是「公教勞工運動」的創始者,美國布魯克林區出生,在芝加哥接受過基督教洗禮;1916年居於紐約,曾在多間出版社工作。

 

步入聖教之途

 

當她還是紐約的年輕新聞從業員時,杜洛菲有時在晚上,會到天主教的聖堂,而天主教禮儀的氣氛和神修苦行,打動她的內心;她把天主教看做「移民的教會」、「貧窮人的教會」。

 

1922年,杜洛菲到芝加哥任職記者,與三位年紀相若的女子同住,這些女子參與主日彌撒,並每天祈禱。杜洛菲確信「欽崇、敬拜、感恩及祈求,是今生能做最高尚的事。」

 

1924年,杜洛菲在紐約史泰登島上購買了物業,和霍斯特.伯達坎先生同居,但因霍斯特抗拒宗教、反對婚姻,和杜洛菲對天主教漸濃的熱情,背道而馳,致令兩人經常吵鬧。後來杜洛菲意外懷孕,她不顧霍斯特墮胎的主張,堅持繼續懷孕,並安排女嬰按受天主教洗禮。不久以後,杜洛菲和霍斯特關係破裂。杜洛菲於1926年12月28日正式皈依天主教。

 

天主教勞工運動

 

1932年12月9日,杜洛菲認識伯多祿.莫烈先生,他積極鼓勵她創辦報刊:「以街頭語調,給街頭的人灌輸最好的公教思維。」1933年5月,「天主教勞工報」創刊,同年12月,每月刊印達到十萬份。杜洛菲的報刊並不單純指責社會的不公,亦呼籲讀者作出回應。

 

在其撰文中,伯多祿反對基督徒只善待親朋戚友,讓有需要的陌生人跑到福利機構求助。他認為,每一個家都應該設有「基督房間」,每個堂區都應留有住處,隨時接待「天主的使節」。最後,報刊的工作人員組織起來,開始接待貧苦及無家可歸的陌生人;到了1936年,他們已在美國設辦了三十三間天主教勞工借宿處。

 

一名社工問杜洛菲,借宿的人可停留多久,她答:「我們讓他們永遠留下。」她補充說:「他們與我們同住,他們與我們同死,我們給他們行聖教的殮葬。他們死後,我們為他們祈禱。他們打從第一天踏進來,我們便視他們為家人,甚至他們經常都是我們的家人。可不是嗎?他們就是我們基督內的兄弟姊妹!」

 

杜洛菲是「和平主義」的一員,反對暴力、反對戰爭;她促使「天主教勞工運動」的朋友和夥伴們,「照顧傷患生病的人,為賙濟而務農耕種,在我們的家中及農莊,繼續共襄善舉」。「天主教勞工運動」支援慈濟,反對戰爭。

 

1965年,杜洛菲到羅馬參加齋戒,祈求梵蒂崗第二次大公會議,會發表反戰及反暴力宣言。12月,主教們通過「現代教會憲章」,指出:「任何戰爭行為, 毫不辨別地消滅整個都市或廣闊地區及其居民,是反對天主及人類的罪行,應堅決而不猶豫地加以譴責」。大公會議又促請各國,制定法律來保障反戰者的良心。大公會議指出:盲目地服從不義的命令去壓害無辜及無助者是罪犯的行為。

 

1980年11月29日,杜洛菲逝世。1997年、杜洛菲.戴爾百歲冥壽之年,紐約總主教、若望.奧干諾樞機,展開對她宣聖的程序。

 

20131111 Mystic suffered 50 years 五十年的痛苦

Marthe Robin was born on March 13, 1902, in Chateauneuf de Galaure, France. In May 1918 she began to experience painful headaches. As Marthe’s illness progressed, her spiritual life blossomed. On Oct. 15, 1925, Marthe felt inspired to make an “Act of Abandonment to the Love and the Will of God.”
In October 1926 Marthe spent three weeks in a coma. She experienced three apparitions of St. Therese of the Child Jesus. The saint revealed to her that she would not die yet, but recover and extend her mission throughout the entire world.

Suffered with Christ
On March 25, 1928, Marthe’s legs became completely paralyzed. Henceforth she was bedridden for life. From 1928 to 1981 she experienced the grace of total abstinence from all food and drink, and she did not consume anything except Holy Communion. In addition to her absolute fast, she entirely ceased to sleep.
On Feb. 2, 1929, Marthe lost the use of her hands, which she had offered to the Lord. She learned to write with a pencil in her mouth. She remained in an uncomfortable and unchangeable position, without drinking, without eating, and without sleeping, for more than 50 years.
Towards the end of September 1930, Jesus appeared to Marthe and asked her, “Do you wish to be like Me?” Marthe consented to the request of Jesus.
In early October Jesus appeared to her and gave her the stigmata. She bled from her hands, her feet, and her heart. Later Jesus imprinted His crown of thorns on Marthe’s head. On the Friday after receiving the stigmata, she began to relive the Passion of Jesus.
People started coming to see her. The apostolate of welcoming visitors would continue for 50 years, until the end of her life. A visitor would wait in the kitchen in the company of Marthe’s mother, then enter her room and chat with her. Marthe would send the gifts given to her by visitors to the poor and to missionaries.
Marthe suffered in her body. She suffered great physical pain each time the bed linen had to be changed. She suffered in her heart to see that her parents were tormented by not being able to do anything for her. Above all, she suffered in her soul because of the sinfulness and lukewarmness of mankind.
Every week Marthe relived the Passion of Christ, beginning with the agony on Thursday night. The torment continued from Thursday night throughout the whole of Friday. She relived all the scenes of the Passion.

Inspired projects
Marthe was inspired to build a Christian school for girls. Most of the priests thought the idea was “crazy” because the area was dominated by freethinkers. It took two years for Marthe to convince her spiritual director to take the first step for the project.
Finally, on Oct. 12, 1934, the Chateauneuf de Galaure school was opened. Today there are two secondary schools and an agricultural school, with a total of about 1,000 students.
Another project Marthe was inspired to undertake was the “Foyers de Charite” (Houses of Charity). They are retreat houses built and organized by consecrated lay people and directed by a priest.
The first retreat took place on Sept. 7, 1936, preached by one of Marthe’s close friends, Father Finet. By 2006 there were 75 Foyers in 41 countries.
After 50 years of suffering in union with Jesus for the conversion of souls, Marthe died on Feb. 6, 1981.
“Oh Virgin Mary, let me each day be more docile, more patient, more simple; unnoticed and forgotten. I do not ask that God bring about in me things that are visible, but only that I be a small, lowly child, sweet and humble of heart,” said Marthe.

蔓薘.洛嬪在1902年3月13日生於法國一個小市鎮,沙托納.德加洛爾。1918年5月,蔓薘開始感到劇烈的頭痛。當她身體病痛加劇時,亦是她靈修盛放之始。1925年10月15日,蔓薘甘願自我棄絕,把自己交託在天主的愛和聖意中。

翌年十月,蔓薘昏迷了三個星期;期間,聖女小德蘭給她顯現了三次,告訴她尚不會死,還要領受更廣的使命,向普世發放訊息。

與基督一起受苦

1928年3月25日,蔓薘.洛嬪雙腿不能動彈,從此與睡床結下不解之緣。1928年到1981年,蔓薘不進任何飲食,只領聖體;後來甚至完全不能入睡。

1929年2月2日,蔓薘雙手失去活動能力,她早前曾將雙手奉獻給天主。她學習用口唇含著鉛筆寫字。蔓薘.洛嬪依著同一姿勢,不吃、不喝、不眠,差不多五十年之久!

次年9月下旬,耶穌向蔓薘顯現,問她說:「你願意更像我嗎?」,蔓薘表示「願意」。10月,蔓薘接受耶穌五傷,手腳及胸口流血,蔓薘又接受了耶穌頭戴茨冠的恪傷。後來,每逢週四,蔓薘先澈夜領受耶穌山園祈禱時候的痛苦,然後週五整天,都經歷耶穌苦難的劇痛,把耶穌當年的苦難,完全活現出來。

世人開始接踵探望蔓薘,直至她離世的一天。先由蔓薘母親在廚房接待訪客,蔓薘在房間內陸續接見談話。蔓薘把訪客送來的禮物,悉轉送貧窮的人或傳教士。

蔓薘.洛嬪受著身體痛楚的煎熬,她父母對女兒所受的苦,一籌莫展,難過萬分,蔓薘看在眼內,亦痛在心裡。使蔓薘感到更難受的,就是看到那些負罪和冷淡的靈魂。

啟發的建設

蔓薘受天主啓發,提出設立一所天主教學校,教育女學生,但充斥著自由思想主義的沙托納.德加洛爾小鎮,讓神父們認為她的想法屬於天荒夜談。最後,蔓薘用了兩年時間,說服自己的神師,作出籌辦天主教女校的第一步。1936年10月12日,沙托納.德加洛爾天主教女校開始上課。今天,沙托納.德加洛爾小鎮有兩間天主教中學,一間天主教農業學校,約有學生一千人。

蔓薘另外提出,設立「愛德靜所」的退省地方,由獻生的平信徒籌建和主理,並有一位神父指導。1936年9月7日,舉行第一次「愛德靜所」退省,蔓薘的摯友、斐肋神父首作講道。到了2006年,共有七十五間靜所在四十一個國家。

為了人靈的歸化,蔓薘.洛嬪分擔基督的苦痛五十年,在1981年2月6日逝世。她曾祈禱道:「童貞瑪利亞,幫助我每一天變得更加溫馴、更添忍耐、更形簡樸;讓我不為人所知、被人遺忘。我不求天主為我帶來顯赫的事,我只願成為祂的卑微小孩,擁有一顆謙善的心。」