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。

 

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