Monthly Archives: February 2014

20140303 ‘Quality over quantity’ 「重質不重量」

Diligence is a virtue; there are four major hindrances to performing our actions well.
The first hindrance is that while we are doing one thing, we are thinking of something else which we have to do or which we have done, so that our occupations interfere with one another, and none is well performed. The second hindrance is haste. The third is anxiety. The fourth is a desire to do too much.

Stay focused
The way to perform our actions well is to attend solely to the one at hand without thinking of others.
Sister Maria Crucifixa, the sacristan, cook, and refectorian in her convent, sometimes also had charge of the door and of the medicine room. She did everything well and still found time for contemplation.
Her method was that when she was in the sacristy, she said to herself, “Now be nothing but a sacristan”; and when she came out of the sacristy, she would say, “Now do not be a sacristan any longer.” She did the same with the rest of her charges.

Go slowly
St. Francis de Sales, St. Philip Neri, and St. Vincent de Paul accomplished so much in their lives, and yet they did nothing in haste. St. Francis de Sales said, “Let us go slowly, for if we do but keep advancing we shall thus go far.”
St. Philip Neri said, “You need not try to do everything in a day, or become a saint in a month. Prudence does not advise it.” St. Vincent de Paul said, “The works of God are performed, for the most part, little by little.”

Work peacefully
St. Francis de Sales devoted a chapter in his work Introduction to the Devout Life (Pt. 3, Ch. X) to a warning about over-anxiety in our works.
“The bumble bee makes far more noise and is more bustling than the honey bee, but it makes wax only and no honey; just so those who are restless and eager, or full of noisy solicitude, never do much or well. Flies harass us less by what they do than by reason of their multitude, and so great matters give us less disturbance than a multitude of small affairs.
“Accept the duties which come upon you quietly, and try to fulfill them methodically, one after another. If you attempt to do everything at once, or with confusion, you will only cumber yourself with your own exertions, and by dint of perplexing your mind you will probably be overwhelmed and accomplish nothing.”
The saint suggested: “When your ordinary work or business is not specially engrossing, let your heart be fixed more on God than on it; and if the work be such as to require your undivided attention, then pause from time to time and look to God, even as navigators make for the haven they would attain by looking up at the heavens rather than down upon the deeps on which they sail.
“So doing, God will work with you, in you, and for you, and your work will be blessed.”

Little, but well
St. Francis de Sales opposed the desire to do too much. According to Bishop Jean Pierre Camus, the saint taught: spiritual progress depends less on doing much than upon the spirit of love which prompts what is done; one good work done out of love is more worthy in God’s eye than many done out of indifference; the worth of any good work depends largely upon the purity of intention with which it is done.
St. Francis de Sales always encouraged people to undertake less, but to perform what they did undertake so as to attain the greatest possible perfection.

「勤奮」雖然是一種美德,但有四種障礙,使它不能好好發揮:一心二用、操之過急、庸人自擾、慌忙多功。

 

保持專注

 

工作時一心兩用,記掛著另一項已完成或未完成的工作;在專注力分散的情況下,結果是兩項工作沒有盡善盡美。

 

我們要專心一意處理正在手頭的工作。苦架.瑪利亞修女,她既是祭衣房管房員,又是修院廚房及餐房的主理,有時要接手藥物房和看守大門,她不獨辦得每事妥當,且仍有默禱的私人時間。她的要訣是專注:在祭衣房時,她常提醒自己現在只是管房員,離開時便告訴自己「我現在不是管房員」;在到達其它工作崗位後,她繼續用這自我提醒的方法,讓自己好能專心做好當時的本份。

 

不急不忙

 

聖方濟.沙雷、聖斐利.乃立及聖文生.德保,他們每天都要處理無數的事情,但他們總是不慌不忙,氣貫長虹。聖方濟.沙雷認為「按步就班,循序漸進,會在不自覺中邁進」。聖斐利.乃立告誡我們:「不需強迫自己在一天內,必定要完成所有工作,或要在一個月內成聖。智德不會同意這一點。」聖文生.德保說:「天主的工作大部份是逐一些、逐一項地完成的」

 

安靜地工作

 

在他「熱心引」一書內,聖方濟.沙雷用了一整章,表明反對工作時,操之過急。他寫道:「嗡嗡擾耳的奴蜂,牠們忙得團團轉,只製做出蜜蠟,並非甜美的蜂蜜。同樣,焦慮急燥的人,只睹其行或只聞其聲,卻不見其效,甚至不見其成!一群蒼蠅給我們帶來滋擾是因為牠們的數量,一大堆微不足道的事情,比較一件大事情,更能令我們坐立不安。安靜地接受生命中的職責,然後有計劃地逐一完成。假如你要一蹴即就,或糊亂處理事情,會好像用己力來阻礙自己,倍感吃力,變得一事無成。」聖人又補充說:「如果工作並非需要全神貫注,反而可以多用心轉向天主。相反,工作真需要全神貫注的話,不妨間歇性地停下來,讓心靈仰望天主,正如導航者不時要仰望觀天,而不是只顧垂頭瞰地。這樣,天主會與你一同工作,降福你的辛勞。」

 

雖小猶精

 

聖方濟.沙雷反對慌忙多功。聖人建議:「一、神修的進度,不在乎做得多,卻在乎因愛德而做事。二、天主珍視一件因愛德完成的善功,多於一大堆沒真心的交差式工作。三、任何善工的價值主要在於做事的純潔意向。」

 

聖方濟.沙雷常勸人不要做太多事,但對所做的要給予適當的注意,盡善盡美地妥盡其職。

20140224 ‘Meek and humble of heart’ 「良善心謙」

Our Lord said, “Learn of Me, for I am meek and humble of heart” (Mt 11:29). St. Francis de Sales pointed out that humility makes our lives acceptable to God, and meekness makes us acceptable to our neighbour. St. Bernard said, “As without faith it is impossible to please God, so without mildness it is impossible to please men and to govern them well.”
We should strive to be truly meek and humble, and do not content with the external signs of these virtues. St. Bernard said, “There are some characters which appear very gentle as long as everything goes well with them; but at the touch of any adversity or contradiction, they are immediately enkindled, and begin to throw forth smoke like a volcano.
“Such as these may be called burning coals hidden under ashes. This is not the meekness which Our Lord aimed to teach, that He might make us like Himself. We ought to be like lilies among thorns, which, though they come from amid such sharp points, do not cease to be smooth and pliable.”

Gentleness towards others
St. Francis de Sales said, “When you have to make arrangements, settle quarrels, or win others to your views, take care to be as mild as possible. You will accomplish more, and conquer more readily, by yielding and humbling yourself than by harshness and disputation. Who does not know that more flies are caught with an ounce of honey than with a hundred barrels of vinegar?”
The saint was fond of repeating: “Blessed are the hearts which can bend; they shall never be broken.”
St. Jane Frances de Chantal shared her experience: “I have turned forward and backward and on every side, and what conclusion have I reached? I have considered all methods of governing, and even tried them, and I have finally seen that the best is that which is amiable, sincere, humble, and patient.”
Meekness and gentleness help to soften hearts to receive the grace of conversion. St. Francis de Sales said, “If you wish to labour with fruit in the conversion of souls, you must pour the balsam of sweetness upon the wine of your zeal, that it may not be too fiery, but mild, soothing, patient, and full of compassion.
“For the human soul is so constituted that by rigour it becomes harder, but mildness completely softens it. Besides, we ought to remember that Jesus Christ came to bless good intentions, and if we leave them to His control, little by little He will make them fruitful.”

Gentleness towards ourselves
St. Francis de Sales pointed out that as the remonstrations of a father will have much greater effect upon his child if they are offered kindly and gently than if they are hot and angry, so when we have done wrong, we should reprove our heart gently and calmly.
The saint said, “You should never be displeased at the sight of your own imperfections, except with a displeasure humble, tranquil, and peaceful, not excited and angry; for this latter kind does more harm than good.”
The saint gives us the following remedies against anger:
— To forestall its movements, if possible, or at least to cast them aside quickly, by turning the thoughts to something else.
— In imitation of the apostles when they saw the sea raging, to have recourse to God, Whose office it is to give peace to the heart.
— In the heat of passion, not to speak, nor to take any action about the matter in question.
— To strive to perform acts of kindness and humility towards the person against whom one is incensed, especially in reparation for any of a contrary nature.

吾主說:「跟我學罷!因為我是良善心謙的。(瑪竇福音11:29)」聖方濟.沙雷補充說:「謙遜為天主所悅納,良善受人喜愛。」聖納德說:「正如缺乏信德,不能鍾悅天主,沒有溫良,不會受人喜愛,也不會妥善地治理他人。」

 

我們要努力使自己真正良善心謙,並非只流於外在的行為。聖納德提醒我們:「有一些人在諸事順利時就温良,但遇到逆境和挫折時,情緒便像火山射煙般一發不可收拾;這些人好像炙熱的火煤,隱藏在灰燼之下。這並非吾主所教導的良善心謙,好讓我們相似衪。我們應好像荊棘叢中的百合花,雖然在尖銳的刺中也不失去它的平滑和柔軟。」

 

 

對人溫良

 

聖方濟.沙雷說:「當你要作出一些安排、排解紛爭,或有意說服別人時,小心,要盡量保持溫良。順從和謙遜,比爭辯強行,更能達到成果、更能贏得人心。誰不明白,小量蜜糖,比多桶的醋,容易捕捉到更多的蒼蠅呢?」聖人愛說:「能委曲的心是有福的,因為這些心永不會折斷!」

 

聖若安修女分享她的經驗說:「我考慮過所有的方法來治理,也試過它們,但我最後見到最好的方法是以和藹、真誠、謙虛及含忍。」

 

良善謙和能軟化人們的心靈,領受皈化的聖寵。聖方濟.沙雷說:「倘若你要感化靈魂的工作上有成果,要在你的熱忱的酒中加入甘飴的香脂,使熱忱不要過烈,但要温良、慰藉、忍耐、和充滿慈心。嚴厲反會使人心硬,溫良卻能軟化心靈。別忘記,耶穌基督來降福善意,我們把善意交由祂控制,祂會漸漸使它們結果。」

 

對己溫良

聖方濟.沙雷指出,父親對子女善詞柔語的規勸,比嚴詞厲語更見成效;故此,對自己的錯誤,都要平心靜氣地檢討責難。聖人勸說:「厭惡自己的不完善,只應懷着謙遜、憩靜平和的心,切忌急燥暴責,蓋後者於事無補,百害無利。」

 

聖人提供一些抑制忿怒的方法:一、要阻止忿怒的來臨,或至少盡可能盡快把這情緒旁落,令思想轉向。二、學習宗徒們,遇到風浪,投靠天主,衪是恩賜心靈平安的主。三、在激烈的情緒下,盡量三緘其口,抑制其行。四、以謙遜良善對待冒犯自己的人,且盡力補救對立之情。

 

20140217 Soul ascends by descending 謙卑者備受舉揚

St. Augustine said, “Humility is the foundation of all the virtues; therefore, in a soul where it does not exist there can be no true virtue, but the mere appearance only.
“In like manner, it is the most proper disposition for all celestial gifts. And, finally, it is so necessary to perfection, that of all the ways to reach it, the first is humility; the second, humility; the third, humility. And if the question were repeated 100 times, I should always give the same answer.”

Humility and truth
St. Vincent de Paul said, “Humility is nothing but truth, and pride is nothing but lying.”
A humble person does not fancy he knows what he does not know. He would neither boast of what he knew, nor pretend to be more ignorant than he was. A truly humble person wants to be humble, not just appear humble.
St. Vincent said, “The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility, for as he does not know at all how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it.”
Knowledge of God and of self helps us to grow in humility. Distrust of self is a real virtue if it is accompanied by trust in God.
St. Francis de Sales wrote, “Assuredly, nothing so tends to humble us before the compassion of God as the multitude of His gifts to us; just as nothing so tends to humble us before His justice as the multitude of our misdeeds. Let us consider what He has done for us, and what we have done contrary to His will, and as we review our sins in detail, so let us review His grace in the same.”
Humility and trust in God are inseparable. The saint pointed out that “distrustful humility is always a false humility.” Self-distrust and confidence in God are the two mystic wings of the soul ascending to God.

Humility and virtues
St. Francis de Sales used to say, “Humility is a descending charity, and charity is an ascending humility.”
He wrote, “When charity requires it, you should readily and kindly impart to your neighbour not only that which is necessary for his instruction, but also what is profitable for his consolation. The same humility which conceals graces with a view to their preservation is ready to bring them forth at the bidding of charity, with a view to their increase and perfection.”
St. Thomas of Villanova pointed out that “humility is the mother of many virtues.”
St. Francis de Sales wrote, “You may test real worth as we test balm, which is tried by being distilled in water, and if it is precipitated to the bottom, it is known to be pure and precious.
“So if you want to know whether a man is really wise, learned, generous, or noble, observe whether his gifts make him humble, modest, and submissive. If so, his gifts are genuine; but if they are only surface and showy, you may be sure that in proportion as they make a show, so are they less worthy.”
St. Josemaria Escriva wrote, “It was because of pride. You thought you were already capable of everything, all by yourself. But then He left you for a moment and you fell, headlong. Be humble, and His extraordinary aid will not fail you.”
The saint also wrote, “Get rid of those proud thoughts! You are but the brush in the hand of the artist, and nothing more. Tell me, what is a brush good for if it doesn’t let the artist do his work?”

聖奧斯定說:「謙遜是諸聖德的基礎;故此,缺乏謙遜的靈魂便是沒有真正的德行,只流於外在的表現而已。推此,謙遜是為得天上恩惠的最適當準備。最後,謙遜為成聖是那樣必要,一切到達成聖的路—-第一是謙遜;第二是謙遜;第三是謙遜。就算追問我一百次,答案仍是同一個。」

 

 

謙遜與真實

 

聖文生說:「謙遜等於真實,驕傲就是虛假。」謙遜的人,對不懂的就說不懂,不會裝模作樣,以懂去掩飾不懂,對懂的就會直說,不佯裝不懂,也不會侃侃滔滔,誇大其詞,言過其實。真正謙遜的人顯出真正的謙遜,而不是裝作謙遜。聖文生又說:「對抗魔鬼最有力的德行,莫如謙遜之德。因為魔鬼不知道如何使用謙德,也不知道如何抵抗謙德。」

 

認識天主和認識自己,能幫助謙遜的增長。仰賴天主的自卑是真正的德行。聖方濟.沙雷寫道:「最能幫助我們在天主的慈愛前自謙自卑就是想到祂賜予我們充盈的恩惠;正如最能幫助我們在天主的公義前自謙自卑就是想到我們眾多的罪愆。讓我們想想,天主為我們所做的一切,我們卻又經常忤逆祂的旨意;當我們細數自己的罪孽時,讓我們亦回顧祂對的恩惠。」謙遜和仰賴天主是不可分割的。聖人指出:「不仰賴天主的謙遜,是虛假的謙遜。」自謙和仰賴,雙翼齊飛,靈魂直奔天庭。

 

謙遜與德行

 

聖方濟.沙雷常說道:「謙遜是自甘卑下的愛德,愛德便是高尚的謙遜。」他又寫道:「為了愛德,我們不但要樂意善意地給近人為受教所需要的,也要給他為得安慰所有用的。那為保存而隱藏聖寵的謙德,也隨時準備在愛德的要求下,為增長和成全而將聖寵帶出來。」

聖多默.威拉諾指出:「謙遜是諸德之母。」聖方濟.沙雷指出:「我們測試香脂,會把它蒸餾於水中,假如它沉澱在水底,便知道那是純潔和珍貴了。如果我們要知道一個人是否真正有智慧、有學識、慷慨或高尚,不妨觀察他所擁有的,是否能使他謙恭和服從,便是確切的;否則,它們只是表面的和誇示的,其身價大打折扣。」

 

聖施禮華寫著:「因為驕傲而變得自負,以為自己無所不能。但當天主離你一刻,你便快速地跌倒。要謙卑!主的特恩不會離棄你」他又寫道:「擯棄驕傲的念頭吧,因為你只不過是畫匠手中的一把畫掃。告訴我,假如這畫掃不願受畫匠所用,這畫掃的功用和價值又何在呢?」

20140210 ‘Take up your cross’ 「背負十字架」

St. Francis de Sales said, “Kiss frequently the crosses which the Lord sends you, and with all your heart, without regarding of what sort they may be; for the more vile and mean they are, the more they deserve their name. The merit of crosses does not consist in their weight, but in the manner in which they are borne.
“It may show much greater virtue to bear a cross of straw than a very hard and heavy one, because the light ones are also the most hidden and contemned, and therefore least comfortable to our inclination, which always seeks what is showy.”
The saint urges us not to limit our patience to this or that kind of injury or trouble, but to let our patience embrace every sort of trial that God sends, or permits to come upon us.
St. Teresa of Avila said, “Observe that we gain more in a single day by trials which come to us from God and our neighbour than we would in 10 years by penances and other exercises which we take up of ourselves.”

Won by patience
As a young priest, St. Francis de Sales started an expedition to Thonon-les-Bains, France, to convert non-Catholic Christians back to Catholicism.
After three difficult years there was not even one convert, but St. Francis was an unusually patient man. He wrote out his leaflets, copied them by hand, and slipped them under the doors of the people who would not listen to him. These leaflets were later published in one volume called The Catholic Controversy.
St. Francis won the hearts of the people gradually with his patience and kindness. The parents would not come to St. Francis, so he came to their children and played with them. When the parents saw how kind he was as he played with their children, they started to talk to him.
Eventually more and more people came to St. Francis to listen to his sermons, and conversions became increasingly frequent. By the time he left Thonon-les-Bains, St. Francis had brought 40,000 people back to Catholicism.

Value of suffering
St. Vincent de Paul said, “If we could but know what a precious treasure lies concealed in infirmities, we would receive them with as much joy as we would the greatest benefits, and we would bear them without complaint or any sign of annoyance.”
During a mystical experience, St. Rose of Lima saw a set of scales. One side of the scales had sufferings, and the other side of the scales had graces. Our Lord first distributed sufferings to all people, and then He distributed graces to them in the same proportion as the sufferings.
Our Lord said, “Affliction is always accompanied by grace; grace is proportionate to suffering. The measure of My gifts is increased with the measure of trials. The cross is the true and only road that leads souls to heaven.”
During her long illness, St. Rose prayed, “Lord, increase my sufferings, and with them increase Your love in my heart.”
St. Vincent Ferrer said, “The Lord sends us tribulation and infirmities to give us the means of paying the immense debts we have contracted with Him. Therefore, those who have good sense receive them joyfully, for they think more of the good which they may derive from them than of the pain which they experience on account of them.”
Our Lord told St. Gertrude: “My daughter, you will never be able to do Me a greater service at any time than bearing patiently, in honour of my Passion, whatever tribulation may come to you, whether it be interior or exterior, always forcing yourself to do all those things that are most contrary to your desires.”

聖方濟.沙雷說:「常衷心親吻天主賞給你的十字架,別理會那是怎麼樣的十字架、又是多麼的惡劣或卑下,因為那才堪稱為十字架!背負十字架之功,不在乎其是否沉重,卻在於背負的心態。背負乾禾做的十字架,可能比背負實木做的更具靈益,因輕盈的十字架仍是最隱藏和受人輕視的,因此也是最不乎合我們那尋求彰顯的人性傾向。」

 

聖人告誡:我們不應對十字架有選擇性的含忍,要擁抱天主允許下賦予任何種類或輕或重的十字架。

 

聖女大德蘭說過:「我們藉忍受一日從天主和近人而來的考驗所得到的會比我們十年作自己選擇的補贖和神業還要多。」

 

含忍的凱歌

 

當聖方濟.沙雷還是一位年青的神父時,他自願到法國的沙伯來地區,企圖勸化基督教徒加入天主教。經過三年辛勞的嘗試,竟然得不到一個人皈依;但聖人並不氣餒,他筆寫手抄無數的傳單,逐家逐戶派發;而這些日積月累的傳單內容,被編輯成一冊書刊「天主教的辯証」。

 

因著他的含忍和良善,聖方濟漸得人心。對於那些不願聆聽講道的父母,他會先與他們的小孩一起嬉戲玩耍,讓他們注意到自己,吸引他們後來願意與他交談。最後,越來越多人願意靜聽聖人的講道,皈依越見成效。聖方濟.沙雷離開沙伯來教區時,皈依天主教的約有四萬之眾。

 

痛苦的價值

 

聖文生說:「假如我們知道疾苦中所隱藏的寶藏,便會如獲至寶般樂於接受,亦會無怨無悔地忍受如貽。」。

 

聖羅撒在一次神視中,看到一個平衡的天秤:一邊放著痛苦,另一邊放著聖寵。天主首先給人不同程度的痛苦,然後依照痛苦的分量賞給人聖寵。痛苦愈多的人,所得的聖寵也愈多。耶穌向她解釋說:「痛苦常有聖寵相伴,兩者相等。我的恩賜程度與試探程度同步和看齊。十字架是導往天堂真確而又必然的路途。」

在她的長期病榻上,聖羅撒禱告著:「天主,請增加我的痛苦,同時在我心內增加祢的愛!」

 

聖文生.斐瑞說:「天主給我們憂患痛苦,好讓我們能償還我們欠衪的巨大罪債。所以,那些有好意識的人,會喜悅地接受苦痛,因為他們多想到由苦痛所得到的善,較於所受到的痛苦。」

 

吾主對聖潔茹道:「我的女兒,你時常所能給我最大的服務就,是為恭敬我的苦難,忍耐地承受內外的困苦,時常迫自己作相反你渴望的事。」

 

20140203 Christians practice virtues 基督徒需要修德

“The practice of virtues” is the focus of the third part of St. Francis de Sales’s An Introduction to the Devout Life.
The saint counsels each person to seek chiefly to advance in those virtues required by the particular state of life to which God has called him. Among those virtues not especially involved by our position we should cultivate the most excellent rather than the most showy. If we are hindered by some particular vice, we should cultivate the opposite virtue.

Foot of the cross
The picture of St. Mary Magdalene at the foot of the cross was especially revered by St. Francis de Sales, and he sometimes called it a whole library of his thoughts. One day he saw a painting on this subject in the home of Bishop Jean Pierre Camus of Belley. He said that we should carefully cultivate the little virtues which grow beneath the foot of the cross.
Bishop Camus asked the saint what virtues he was referring to. The saint answered, “Humility, patience, gentleness, kindness, forbearance, calmness, good temper, heartiness, pity, ready forgiveness, simplicity, frankness, and so on. These virtues are like violets growing in a shady nook, fed by the dew of heaven, and, though unseen, they give forth a sweet and precious odour.”
“What, then, can be found at the top of the cross itself?” Bishop Camus inquired.
The saint replied, “Plenty. You will find there many bright and shining graces, provided they are formed in the spirit of love: virtues like prudence, justice, magnificence, liberality, almsgiving, strength, bodily mortification, obedience, contemplation, perseverance, contempt of wealth and honour, and many such as these.
“Men are more anxious for these virtues because they win praise. But to be truthful we should value them only insofar as we can please God by their means and discover new ways of proving to Him our love.”
Bishop Camus wrote that St. Francis “considered the most general virtues to be the most preferred, charity only excepted. Thus he valued prayer as the light which illuminates all our good works; devotion, which consecrates all our actions to God’s service; humility, which makes us have only lowly thoughts of ourselves and our works; gentleness, which yields to all; patience, which endures everything.
“These he valued more than magnanimity, liberality, or magnificence, because such virtues affect fewer subjects. He was always suspicious of showy virtues, because he said they tend to feed vainglory, the plague of all good works.”

‘Make haste slowly’
St. Francis de Sales was very fond of an ancient emperor’s motto, “Make haste slowly.” The saint always cautioned people against thinking that perfection is to be found in a multiplicity of religious exercises.
He urged his penitents to avoid over-eagerness. He often said: “It is far better to do a few things well than to undertake many good works and leave them half-done.” He once said, “It is not by the multiplicity of things we do that we attain perfection, but by the perfection and purity of intention with which we do them.”
He said, “What do I mean by doing a good work perfectly? Of course I mean good works performed in a state of grace, as otherwise they would not only be imperfect, but of no value as regards eternity.
“Well, such actions must be performed, first, with a great fervour; second, with a great purposefulness; and third, with great purity of intention. Is it not true, then, that one such action is far better than many done, first, coldly; second, irresolutely; and third, without the purity of intention?”

聖方濟.沙雷的「熱心引」第三部份,集中討論「修德」。

 

聖人主張先修那些與生活崗位有關的德行,其次是修最完善而非最顯著的德行。如生活上有惡習,則應修相反的德行。

 

十字聖架之下

 

一天,聖方濟.沙雷在百里主教若望.嘉模住所內,看到聖瑪大利納留守在耶穌苦架下的畫像,隨即認為在苦架下,能啟發一些小德行。

 

嘉模主教詢問聖人此語何來,聖人答道:「那些小德行包括謙遜、含忍、溫良、和善、克制、平靜、柔順、誠心、憐憫、寬恕、樸實、坦誠等等這些小德行,就如長在不顯眼蔭蔽處的紫羅蘭,只靠來自天上點滴的甘露維生,暗暗地散發芬芳。」

 

嘉模主教續問聖人:「苦架頂上,我們又能找到些什麼呢?」聖人答道:「噢!很多!我們看到光芒四射的聖寵,由愛德所孕育,如智德、義德、慷慨、施捨、勇毅、克苦、聽命、默觀、堅忍、輕視名利等等。很多人願意修成這些德行,為得讚譽;但為能真誠,我們珍視這些德行是為鍾悅天主,並為尋覓新的方法來證明對天主的愛。」

 

嘉模主教回憶寫道:「方濟認為,除了愛德,我們應最喜愛一般的德行。所以他珍視祈禱能光照我們所有的善行;熱心能奉獻一切活動為天主服務;謙遜箝制自我及所言所行;溫良包容所有人;含忍承受一切。他視這些德行比較慷慨、雅量等德行更為寶貴,因為涵蓋範疇更見廣闊。他對於顯著的德行很小心,恐怕助紂虛榮心,腐朽了所有善工。」

 

 

欲速不達

 

聖方濟.沙雷很喜歡古代一位君王的銘言:「欲速則不達」。聖人恐防有人誤解,只要作多種靈修活動,便可成聖。他告誡不能過份熱切。常言道:「從小量作開始,別急進以致半途而廢… 並非多做多勞便可成聖,卻首先要有一個純正和真誠的內心。」

 

聖人續說:「何謂完善的善功?我是指那些在天主聖寵內的工作!否則,任何工作都難以完善,甚至遑論裨益永生。行善之初,先要有一顆熱誠的心,其次是果斷,百折不撓,最後是要有純正的意向。假如以冷漠的心,猶疑不決,心意不純地行事,我們又怎能期盼滿有成果的善工呢?」