Monthly Archives: January 2014

20140127 Sacraments sanctify souls 聖事聖化人靈

Frequent Confession and frequent Communion were recommended by St. Francis de Sales.

Frequent Confession

Regarding frequent Confession, the saint wrote, “Make your confession humbly and devoutly every week, and always, if you can, before receiving Holy Communion, even although your conscience is not burdened with mortal sin; for in confession you do not only receive absolution for your venial sins, but you also receive great strength to help you in avoiding them henceforth, clearer light to discover your failings, and abundant grace to make up whatever loss you have incurred through those faults. You exercise the virtues of humility, obedience, simplicity and love, and by this one act of confession you practice more virtue than in any other.”

Penance is the Sacrament of Christ’s Precious Blood. Our Lord said to St. Faustina  “Daughter, when you go to confession, to this fountain of my mercy, the blood and water which came forth from my heart always flows down upon your soul and ennobles it…Tell souls that from this fount of mercy souls draw graces solely with the vessel of trust. If their trust is great, there is no limit to my generosity.”

The remission of sin and the imparting of grace are the fruits of the Sacrament of Penance. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen wrote, “The Blood of Christ is, in this sense, not only a remedy for the past, but also a preservative and a strengthening help for the future. The soul which plunges into it, as into a healthful bath, draws from it new vigor and sees the strength of its passions extinguished little by little”

Father Gabriel pointed out that if a person has only venial sins to confess, it is profitable to pay attention to deliberate faults first, then on those which are semi-deliberate. It is a good practice to tell the priest not only the sins themselves, but also the motives behind them. Although confession of motives is not required for the validity of the Sacrament of Penance, it is very beneficial to spiritual growth. For it exposes the root of the sin and enables the soul to exercise humility.

In Confession, we should strive to be sorry for our sins out of love for God. Father Gabriel wrote, “The more perfect the contrition, the more effectively will the absolution erase not only the sin but also the temporal punishment which it has incurred. The Blood of Jesus will purify, renew, and enrich the heart of the penitent with fortitude, charity, and grace, in the measure of his contrition.”

Frequent Communion

Frequent Confession prepares us to derive abundant fruits from frequent Communion. Regarding frequent Communion, St. Francis de Sales pointed out that we receive Communion often in order to learn to love God, to be cleansed from imperfections, to be set free from trouble, to be comforted in affliction, and to be strengthened in weakness. We receive the Blessed Sacrament that we may learn to receive it better.

When we receive Holy Communion, we receive the whole Jesus. This physical union with Christ is directed to our spiritual union with him. Father Gabriel wrote, “In addition to the physical presence of Jesus, and because of this presence, each Communion brings me a new increase of grace and charity, but even this increase will be in proportion to my capacity for receiving it. If my heart is closed by selfishness and pride, if it is bound by attachment to creatures, or is too much engrossed by worldly affections and affairs, it will be unable to make room for an increase of divine love, and Jesus will be, so to speak, forced to lessen the outpouring of his charity and to diminish his gifts.”







告解是基督寶血的聖事;祂對聖傅天娜說:「我的女兒,當你辦告解聖事的時候,從我聖心湧出的血和水,變作洗濯和提昇你靈恩寵的泉源… 告訴人靈們,從這慈悲的泉源,靈魂只有用信賴的器皿取得恩寵;若他們信賴強大,我的慷慨也是無界限的。」















20140120 Listen to the Word of God 聆聽天主聖言

St. Francis wrote, “Our Lord receives our words of prayer according to the way in which we receive His words in teaching.” “Listening” is an important element in the spiritual life, and spiritual readings provide us the opportunity of listening to the Word of God.

What to read?

Among spiritual readings, Holy Scripture, especially the New Testament, holds the first place. St. Jerome said, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” Reading Scripture helps us to encounter Jesus Christ and to learn about His life and teachings.     Lives of the saints are very helpful to our spiritual life, as are writings of the saints such as: the Rule of St. Benedict, the Letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch, City of God and Confessions of St. Augustine, the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis, and Virtue and Christian Refinement by St. John Bosco.     The spiritual classics also include: The Conferences of St. John Cassian; Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena, The Ladder by St. John Climacus; the Ascent of Mount Carmel, Dark Night of the Soul, and Living Flame of Love by St. John of the Cross; and Twelve Steps to Holiness and Salvation, The Passion and the Death of Jesus Christ, and The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus Ligouri.     There are also: Way of Perfection and Autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila, Spiritual Conferences of St. Vincent de Paul, An Introduction to the Devout Life and Treatise on the Love of God by St. Francis de Sales, True Devotion to Mary by St. Louis de Montfort, Sermons of the Cure of Ars (St. John Vianney), Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux, Journal of a Soul by Blessed John XXIII, Divine Mercy in My Soul by St. Faustina Kowalska, and The Way by St. Josemaria Escriva.     It is a good practice to spend 15 minutes each day in spiritual reading. In the first half of the 15 minutes read a page from Holy Scriptures. I warmly recommend the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible. In the second half of the 15 minutes read from a spiritual book.


St. Francis de Sales defined “inspirations” as “all drawings, feelings, interior reproaches, lights, and intuitions with which God moves us by His fatherly love and care; awakening, exciting, urging, and attracting us to goodness, to heavenly love, to good resolutions; in short, to whatever tends to our eternal welfare.”     The saint explained, “In contracting a marriage, the bride must be a party to three separate acts: first, the bridegroom is proposed to her; second, she entertains the proposal; and third, she gives her consent.     “Just so, when God intends to perform some act of love in us, by us, and with us, He first suggests it by His inspiration; second, we receive that inspiration; and third, we consent to it: for, as we fall into sin by three steps: temptation, delectation, and consent, so there are three steps whereby we ascend to virtue: inspiration, as opposed to temptation; delectation in God’s inspiration, as opposed to that of temptation; and consent to the one instead of to the other.”     During the course of our day, God might give us holy inspirations during spiritual reading, prayer, or work. It is important for us to consent to those inspirations and strive to put them into practice.     However, St. Francis de Sales also cautioned that, “before consenting to inspirations which have respect to important or extraordinary things, guard against self-deception, by consulting your spiritual guide, and let him examine whether the inspiration be real or no.”     “Stop to consider, ponder, and relish the truths that make greater appeal to you, in order to fix them in your mind, therefrom to elicit acts and affections,” said St. John Eudes.





芸芸聖書中,首推當然是「聖經」—— 特別是「新約」。聖師業樂認為「對聖經無知就是對基督無知。」閱讀「聖經」就是與基督相遇,學習有關祂的生平和訓導。












聖人解釋:相若於完整的婚約,新娘必要完合三個步驟 —— 首先,新郎求婚,其次是新娘答允慎重考慮,最後是新娘完全予以同意。天主首先在我們之內種下善行的意願,然後我們答允慎重考慮,最後我們完全予以同意。不過,犯罪三步曲似乎與此相似:誘惑、喜愛、同意。





20140113 Pray with the Church 與教會一起祈禱

St. Francis de Sales referred to the Sacrament of the Eucharist as the Sun of all spiritual exercises, the centre of the Christian religion, the heart of devotion, and the soul of piety.     He encouraged the faithful to strive to attend Mass daily, and said if one was unavoidably prevented from participating in the Mass, he should at least join in it spiritually.

Spiritual Communion

This prayer of St. Gertrude the Great can be said daily to unite oneself spiritually to all the Masses celebrated throughout the world: “Eternal Father, I offer You the most precious blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, for those in my own home and in my family. Amen.”     If we cannot receive Holy Communion sacramentally, we can made an act of spiritual communion using the favourite prayer of St. Josemaria Escriva: “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.”     He said, “What a source there is in spiritual communion! Practise it frequently and you’ll have greater presence of God and closer union with Him in all your actions.”     St. Josemaria wrote, “Keep struggling, so that the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar really becomes the centre and the root of your interior life, and so your whole day will turn into an act of worship, an extension of the Mass you have attended and a preparation for the next.     “Your whole day will then be an act of worship that overflows in aspirations, visits to the Blessed Sacrament, and the offering up of your professional work and your family life.”     Just as having an appetite for food is an indication of physical health, so our desire for Holy Communion is an indication of spiritual health. St. Josemaria wrote, “The Mass is long,’ you say, and I reply: ‘Because your love is short.'”     “Many Christians take their time and have leisure enough in their social life (no hurry here). They are leisurely, too, in their professional activities, at table and recreation (no hurry here either).     “But isn’t it strange how those same Christians find themselves in such a rush and want to hurry the priest, in their anxiety to shorten the time devoted to the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Altar?”

Liturgy of the Hours  

At the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Church triumphant (heaven), the Church suffering (purgatory), and the Church militant (earth) are united in prayer, grace, and charity. The spirit of communion is also expressed beautifully in other official prayers and public devotions of the Church.     The praying of the Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office) helps to sanctify the different seasons of the year, the different days of the month, and the different hours of the day. It is a prayer that units clergy, religious, and faithful in the name of the Church to listen to the Word of God and to intercede for all people.     The daily recitation of Night Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours is a beautiful practice that I warmly recommend to all the faithful and families.     Regarding the Divine Office, St. Josemaria wrote, “A priest who was saying the Divine Office prepared himself for prayer in this way: ‘I will follow the rule of saying, when I start: “I want to pray as the saints pray,” and then I will invite my Guardian Angel to sing the Lord’s praises with me.'”     Try this in your own vocal prayer, and also as a way of increasing your presence of God in your work.”



















20140106 ‘Lift up your heart’ 舉心向上

In Chapter XII of the Second Part of An Introduction to the Devout Life, St. Francis de Sales explained one of the most important means for spiritual growth.     He wrote, “Strive as often as possible through the day to place yourself in God’s presence by some one of the methods already suggested. Consider what God does, and what you are doing; you will see His eyes ever fixed upon you in love incomparable.”     The four methods suggested by the saint for placing oneself in the presence of God are: first, realizing 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.

Spiritual retreat

St. Francis wrote, “When St. Catherine of Siena was deprived by her parents of any place or time for prayer and meditation, Our Lord inspired her with the thought of making a little interior oratory in her mind, into which she could retire in heart, and so enjoy a holy solitude amid her outward duties. And henceforward, when the world assaulted her, she was able to be indifferent, because, so she said, she could retire within her secret oratory, and find comfort with her Heavenly Bridegroom.”     Having a spiritual retreat during the day is like having a drink on a journey. “When a pilgrim pauses an instant to take a draught of wine, which refreshes his lips and revives his heart, his onward journey is nowise hindered by the brief delay, but rather it is shortened and lightened, and he brings it all the sooner to a happy end, pausing but to advance the better.”

Ejaculatory prayer

One simple way to pray during the day is with ejaculatory prayer. Pope John Paul II, in addressing the psalms, said that ancient monks used parts of the psalms as brief prayers “to release a special ‘energy’ of the Holy Spirit.”     He added that this use of the psalms is known as “ejaculatory prayer,” which could be “let fly” like flaming arrows against temptations.     Some examples of ejaculatory prayers are: “My God and my all!” “My God, I love you!” “My Jesus, mercy!” “Jesus, I trust in you!” “Mother of God, remember me,” and “Jesus, Mary, I love you! Save souls!”     Our Lord taught Sister Consolata Betrone (1903-1946) the beautiful prayer: “Jesus, Mary, I love you! Save souls!” Our Lord said to her, “Tell me, what more beautiful prayer do you want to offer Me? ‘Jesus, Mary, I love you! Save souls!’ Love and souls! What more beautiful prayer could you desire?”     “Jesus, Mary, I love you! Save souls!’ encompasses everything, the souls in purgatory and the souls in the Church Militant; the innocent soul and the guilty soul; the dying, the atheist, etc.”     “Do not lose time; remember that every act of love is a soul. Of all the gifts, the best gift you can offer Me is a day full of love. I desire an uninterrupted ‘Jesus, Mary, I love you! Save souls!’ from when you get up in the morning till when you go to bed at night.”     Our aspirations to God during the day need not be confined to words. Prayer can be raising our mind to God without words. St. Francis encouraged the faithful to pray to God in their own words, and to see God through daily events, things and people.     The Norms for Indulgences states: “A partial indulgence is granted to the Christian faithful who, while performing their duties and enduring the difficulties of life, raise their minds in humble trust to God and make, at least mentally, some pious invocation.”


















「『耶穌、瑪利亞,我愛您!求您拯救眾靈!』包含了一切:煉獄裡的靈魂、世途中教會的靈魂、潔淨的靈魂和帶罪的靈魂;臨終者、無神論者,等等… 不要費時失事,每一個發的愛德,都能救靈。妳能奉獻給我所有獻禮中,最能鍾悅我者,莫過於充滿愛的一天。我希望妳無間斷地誦唸『耶穌、瑪利亞,我愛您!求您拯救眾靈!』—— 從晨起暮休。」