Monthly Archives: April 2014

20140414 Words communicate truth 言語傳遞真理

St. Francis de Sales pointed out that our words are a faithful index to the state of our soul. He wrote, “Our hand is quickly raised to the spot where we are wounded, and our tongue turns as quickly to the subject we delight in.”
If we love God, we will frequently speak of Him. The saint said, “Always speak of God as God, by which I mean reverently and piously, never pompously as if you were preaching, but with gentleness, charity, and humility.”
The saint pointed out that we should not use many words that are unprofitable. In conversation, quality matters more than quantity.
He wrote, “Our aim should be to avoid both extremes. An excessive reserve and stiffness, which stands aloof from familiar friendly conversation, is untrusting, and implies a certain sort of contemptuous pride; while an incessant chatter and babble, leaving no opportunity for others to put in their word, is frivolous and troublesome.”

Modesty in conversation
St. Francis urged the faithful to exercise modesty in conversation and to avoid any impure expressions. He wrote, “The body is poisoned through the mouth, even so is the heart through the ear; and the tongue which does the deed is a murderer.”
The saint advised that “If any foolish person addresses you in unseemly language, show that you are displeased by turning away, or by whatever other method your discretion may indicate.”
We should avoid a spirit of mockery in conversation. However, a play upon words, in all modesty and good-humour, is not harmful. Only we must beware of turning it into mockery, which causes laughter at the expense of our neighbour.

Sins against truth
St. Francis warned against the sins of rash judgment, detraction, and slander. A person commits the sin of rash judgment when, without sufficient reason, he believes something harmful to another’s character.
The saint pointed out that we must seek the motives of rash judgments in order to cure it. Some people judge others harshly out of bitterness or pride. Others do so to excuse their own vices or through a feeling of dislike. A good remedy against rash judgment is charity, for “Charity thinks no evil” (1 Cor. 13:5).
St. Francis wrote, “It is not always wrong to doubt our neighbours. We are forbidden to judge, not to doubt; but still we should not indulge doubt or suspicion without great caution, and only insofar as these are based on reason and argument, otherwise our doubts and suspicions are rash.”
A person commits the sin of detraction when, without good reason, he makes known the hidden faults of another, and a person commits the sin of calumny or slander when by lying he injures the good name of another.
St. Francis wrote, “He who unjustly takes away his neighbour’s good name is guilty of sin and is bound to make reparation, according to the nature of his evil speaking; since no man can enter into heaven cumbered with stolen goods, and of all worldly possessions the most precious is a good name.”
“Slander is a kind of murder; for we all have three lives: a spiritual life, which depends upon the grace of God; a bodily life, depending on the soul; and a civil life, consisting in a good reputation. Sin deprives us of the first, death of the second, and slander of the third.”
“But the slanderer commits three several murders with his idle tongue: he destroys his own soul and that of him who hearkens, as well as causing civil death to the object of his slander; for, as Saint Bernard says, the devil has possession both of the slanderer and of those who listen to him, of the tongue of the one, the ear of the other.”

聖方濟.沙雷指出,我們的言談,是反映靈魂是否忠實的指標;他寫道:「假如我們受傷,會迅速用手掩蓋著傷口,而我們的舌頭,很自然地說出我們喜愛的話題。」如果我們愛天主,亦會喜愛常常提及祂。聖人又說:「當提及天主時,我充滿恭敬與熱愛之情,永不會傲慢地像你在講道似的,但懷着温良、仁愛、和謙遜。」

 

聖人繼而補充,寫道:「我們交談時,小心別走兩個極端。一則,要避免內容過份保留和局促,令人感到疏離,彼此缺乏信任,甚至被對方誤解輕蔑高傲,失去親切融洽交談的機會。二則,絮絮不休、叨叨不絕地說話,讓別人無從回應,也容易不自覺地禍從口出,徙添煩惱,盡現輕浮草率的缺點。」

 

謹口慎言

 

聖方濟敦促信眾常要謹口慎言,避免違反貞潔的言辭。他寫著:「身體中毒,因為吃得不潔,內心被荼毒,皆因所聞失實,始作蛹者俱是口舌妄為,猶如殺手!」

 

聖人勸誡說:「遇到有人說出不合宜的話時,你們大可以轉身而去,又或者用其它適宜的方法,表達你們的不悅或不贊同。」

 

含有嘲弄意思的言談要不得,但輕鬆幽默的言辭,卻又無傷大雅;總之,要切忌不自覺地變成取笑戲弄,把喜樂建在別人的尷尬難堪上。

 

違返真理的罪

 

聖方濟警告,要對抗莽斷、誹謗和流言蜚語的罪。沒有合理或足夠理據,卻去相信有損別人的事,便犯了鹵莽判斷之罪。他建議,要杜絕莽斷,要先尋找莽斷的根源。很多時,我們只緣於難過或驕傲作祟,又會因感到不悅或自我解說自己的錯行,便容易犯下莽斷。最有效治療莽斷的慣罪,莫如愛德了。因為「愛是不作無禮的事,不求己益,不動怒,不圖謀惡事。〔聖保祿致格林多人前書13:5〕」

 

聖方濟寫道:「我們不應莽斷,懷有疑心卻又未必是錯事,只要合理和小心去懷疑,最好能再通過討論,才做判斷;否則,連懷疑或疑心,也屬於鹵莽。」

 

萬一沒有充足又缺乏合宜的理由,而去揭發別人的瘡疤,等於作了流言蜚語;以謊言誹謗,達到傷害他人的名聲,更明顯是犯罪。

 

聖人教導:不義地損害別人的聲譽,是犯了罪,需要按他所說的賠補。既然拿著偷得來的東西,不能進入天國,偷了別人的名聲,一樣進不了天國。

 

「誹謗等同於謀殺。每一個人有三種生命:超性生命依靠天主的聖寵,肉身的生命依賴靈魂,社會的生命在於名譽。罪破壞第一種生命,死亡破壞第二種生命,而誹謗破壞第三種生命。」

「但誹謗者而舌頭犯了三重的謀殺:他殺害自己的靈魂,也殺害聆聽者的靈魂,又致死誹謗對象的社會生命;正如聖伯爾納鐸所說:魔鬼坐擁誹謗者的口舌,同時攫取了聽信讒言人的耳朵。」

 

20140407 Mortification gives freedom 從克苦獲得自由

A spirit of sacrifice is essential for the Christian life. It is expressed by acts of penance and mortification. The chief purpose of acts of penance is to cleanse the soul from past sins, whereas the chief purpose of mortification is to safeguard us against sin in the present and in the future by weakening in us the love of pleasure.
Mortification is the struggle against our evil inclinations in order to subject them to the human will, and to the will of God. It is necessary for the avoidance of sin and for personal sanctification; it also allows us to co-operate with Christ in the salvation of mankind.
In 1916 an angel said to Lucia of Fatima, “Make of everything you can a sacrifice, and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners. You will thus draw down peace upon your country.”

Exterior senses
St. Vincent de Paul pointed out, “Mortification of the appetite is the A, B, C of spiritual life. Whoever cannot control himself in this will hardly be able to conquer temptations more difficult to subdue.”
The rules of fasting and abstinence prescribed by the Church help us to practise mortification. In our daily life, we can easily practise mortification at table by eating more of the food we like less and eating less of the food we like more.
Mortification in speech is essential for perfection. St. James wrote, “For we all make many mistakes, and if any one makes no mistakes in what he says he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body also” (Jas 3:2).
Commenting on this passage, St. Francis de Sales said, “One of things that keep us at a distance from perfection is, without doubt, our tongue. For when one has gone so far as to commit no faults in speaking, the Holy Spirit Himself assures us that he is perfect.
“And since the worst way of speaking is to speak too much, speak little and well, little and gently, little and simply, little and charitably, little and amiably.”
St. John Berchmans said, “I never say anything without first considering it, and recommending it to God, that I may say nothing which can displease Him.”
Christians practise modesty of the eyes by avoiding whatever is sinful or dangerous. The earnest Christian mortifies the sense of sight by repressing idle, curious glances and by duly controlling his eyes in all simplicity.
St. Francis de Sales said, “Believe me that the mortification of the senses in seeing, hearing, and speaking is worth much more than wearing chains or haircloth.”
We can also exercise mortification by going to bed and getting up at the proper time, and by being temperate in the use of the Internet and other devices of communication.

Interior senses
Memory and imagination are good, but if undisciplined, they can crowd the soul with distractions and temptations. The first step to mortify our interior senses is to expel all dangerous fancies and recollections the very moment we are aware of them.
Since frequent day-dreaming is a source of temptation, we must mortify ourselves against useless fancies, which constitute a waste of time and pave way to more dangerous thoughts. The saints tell us that mortifying idle thoughts deals death to evil ones.
A good method is to apply ourselves whole-heartedly to the fulfillment of our daily duties, and to apply our memory and imagination to spiritual things.
Mortification frees us from being dominated by our lower instinct, and allows us to be guided by sound reason and by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

犧牲精神是基督徒生活基本原素,這精神通過補贖和克苦去表達。補贖主要目的,是把靈魂從過往罪中洗滌過來;克苦主要目的,是現在和將來保守著靈魂,避免因肉慾快感而跌入犯罪的漩渦。克苦防止我們順應人性的犯罪傾向,卻把它們服膺於意志和天主的旨意之下。

 

避免犯罪以達致成聖,克苦善功不可或缺;同時,也使我們能與基督的贖世大業合作。一九一六年,天使給花地瑪的路濟亞說:「盡你所能將每一件事都作為犧牲,為罪人冒犯天主的罪作賠補,並為罪人的悔改而作祈求,這樣,你能為你的國家帶來平安。」

 

外在的克苦

 

聖文生指出:「克制食慾是神修的原理。誰不能在此自制的人,很不可能克服更難壓制的誘惑。」

 

教會克守大、小齋的規定,能幫助及鼓勵我們做克苦。在每日的生活中,餐桌上有機會給我們藉食慾做克苦:多吃不喜歡吃的食物,小嚐喜愛的食物。

 

言語的克制,是成聖其中一個重要原素。聖雅各伯宗徒在他的書信(3:2)內寫著:「實在,我們眾人都犯許多過失;誰若在言語上不犯過失,他便是個完人,他必能控制全身。」對這聖經章節,聖方濟.沙雷說道:「很明顯,不羈的口舌,是成聖的障礙。謹口慎言的人,天主聖神會確保他的聖善。既然最差的談話就是說話太多,那麼,讓我們說話小而良善、小而溫良、小而簡單、小而慈善,小而和藹。」

聖若望.伯爾各滿說:「我三思說話,並把所說的呈上天主,便避免在我的言語上,令祂不快。」

 

克制眼目能躲避犯罪、退避犯罪的危險:我們要避免游手好閑,和不適當好奇的張望,在諸事上要適當地管制眼睛。

 

聖方濟.沙雷說:「相信我,在視、聽、言方面的克制,比帶任何苦衣苦鏈,更有價值。」

 

管制自己健康的起居,定時有節地去睡眠和起床,克制自己使用互聯網和互聯通訊,都是克苦善功的方法。

 

內在的克苦

 

記憶和想像本來是好的,但切忌過度及過份,否則會向世俗分心,容易被誘惑侵佔。避免這禍害,首先要在我們醒覺的一刻,立即剔除全部不當的思像!

 

太多的白日夢是誘惑的來源,我們必需克制無謂的幻想,它只會浪費我們的時間,把我們導向犯罪的危機。聖人們告訴我們:管制閒散,等於置惡魔於死地。

 

最有效管制自己的方法,莫如善盡每天的本份,亦應該設法使我們的記憶和想像力,專注在超性的事情上。

 

克苦令我們從低俗的本能傾向,釋放出來,讓我們跟隨正確的理性,追隨天主聖神的啟示。

20140331 Charity grows in communication 愛德在交往中增長

Friendship is an interchange and a mutual communication between two persons. True friendship is a great means of sanctification, but false friendship is a serious obstacle to perfection.

True friendship
St. Francis de Sales wrote, “The more exquisite are the virtues which shall be the matter of your communications, the more perfect shall your friendship also be. If this communication be in the sciences, the friendship is very commendable; but still more so if it be in the moral virtues: in prudence, discretion, fortitude, and justice.
“But should your reciprocal communications relate to charity, devotion, and Christian perfection, good God, how precious will this friendship be! It will be excellent, because it comes from God; excellent, because it tends to God; excellent, because its very bond is God. Good it is to love on earth as they love in heaven; to learn to cherish each other in this world, as we shall do eternally in the next!”
Father Adolphe Tanquerey, author of The Spiritual Life, pointed out that “true friendship is an intercourse between two souls with the purpose of procuring each other’s good. It stays within the limits of moral goodness if the good mutually shared belongs to the natural order.
“Supernatural friendship, however, stands on a far superior plane. It is the intimate intercourse of two souls who love each other in God and for God with a view of aiding each other to attain the perfection of the divine life which they possess. The ultimate end of this friendship is God’s glory, the proximate end is their own spiritual progress, and the bond of union between the two friends is Our Lord.”
Supernatural friendship is marked by calm reserve and mutual trust. “Calm” means self-possessed affection rooted in the love of God. “Reserve”: instead of seeking familiarities and endearments like sentimental friendship, it is full of respect and reserve, for it seeks nothing but spiritual good. “Mutual trust” is confidence raised from mutual esteem and from seeing in the other a reflection of the divine perfections.
Counsel, comfort, and protection are the three important advantages of true friendship.
A friend can act as a sympathetic counsellor who helps to find solutions to life’s difficulties. A friend can comfort us by listening to us and by words of kindness and encouragement. A friend is a protector of virtue by allowing us to open our hearts in times of need and support, and by correcting us.

False friendship
In true friendship one truly loves a person, but in false friendship one mainly loves the pleasure of being with the person. True friendship is based on faith, will, and reason, whereas false friendship is based on feeling and pleasure.
Father Tanquerey wrote, “St. Francis de Sales distinguishes three types of false friendships: carnal friendship, in which one seeks voluptuous pleasure; sentimental friendship, based mainly on the appeal outward qualities make to the emotions, such as the pleasure of beholding a beautiful person, of hearing a sweet voice, of touch, and the like; and foolish friendship, which has no other foundation than those empty accomplishments styled by shallow minds virtues and perfections, such as graceful dancing, clever playing, delightful singing, fashionable dressing, smiling glances, a pleasing appearance, etc.”
False friendship distracts the heart from God and constitutes one of the greatest obstacles to spiritual progress. It can easily cause loss of time, discouragement, and impurity.
Sometimes our friendships may have elements of both true and false friendship. If it is the element of true friendship that predominates, we may continue such friendship while purifying it, but if it is the element of false friendship that predominates, we must renounce all special relations for a considerable period to allow sentiment to cool down.
“A loyal friend is a powerful defence: whoever finds one has indeed found a treasure” (Sir 6:14).

「友誼」是兩人互動及共同的交往。真正的友誼對成聖有極大的幫助;相反,虛偽的友誼,是成聖的一大障礙。

 

真正的友誼

 

聖方濟.沙雷寫道:「人互相的交往愈是包含著細膩的德行,友誼便愈瑧完美。假如這些交往是與學術有關,那友誼是可稱許的。若交往是在德行的層面: 智德、明辨、勇德和義德,友誼便更值得稱許。又假如這樣的交往與愛德、敬主和成聖融匯一起,這樣的友誼更見珍貴:它是優質的,因為來自天主;它是優質的,因為正邁向天主;它是優質的,因為是在天主內緊密地結合。去愛猶如在天堂上的愛,真有福!學習如何互相珍惜,就如同在天堂上一樣!」

 

《靈修生活》作者鍔道夫.鄧奎利神父指出:「真正友誼的交往,旨在靈魂上互相裨益。分享的善若是本性的,友誼便在道德的範疇內。超性的友誼屬於更上一層樓,藉天主、在天主內,兩靈密切交往,互相幫助,以祈達到成聖的境界。這樣的友誼最終是天主的光榮,兩人在成聖大道中邁進,天主促成他們的聯系。」

超性的友誼有平靜的保留和彼此的信任。「平靜」—–自主的情感建基於天主的愛。「保留」—–不只尋求親密和撫慰的快感,但充滿尊重和保留地專一去尋求靈魂的神益。「彼此的信任」—–因互相尊重而有的信心,並在對方身上見到神聖美善的反映。

 

另外,真正友誼有輔導、安慰和保護的好處。一個真正的朋友,可以提供富同情心的輔導,協助解決生命中的難題,又可以靜聽細訴,報以善言鼓勵和安慰;一個真正的朋友,在道德的守護下,容許我們在需要及要求支持時,敞開心扉傾訴,並糾正我們的錯誤。

 

虛偽的友誼

 

虛偽的友誼缺乏對人真正的愛,卻只是喜愛與人共處時的快感;真正的友誼,建基於信德、意志和理性上,而虛偽的友誼是建基於個人的情感和快感上。

 

鄧奎利神父寫道:「聖方濟.沙雷辨別了三種虛偽的友誼。肉慾的友誼:只尋求驕奢淫樂;觀感的友誼:只追求美麗的外表,或甜美的聲音,或類似的東西;愚蠢的友誼:建基於膚淺的善和成就,例如:善舞、善武、善唱、錦衣、聲色俏俊等等。」

 

虛偽的友誼使我們離棄天主,對成聖搆很大的障礙,浪費光陰,令人有不潔的危險。

 

不過,我們的友誼,有可能會混雜了真正友誼和虛偽友誼的成份。若以真正友誼的成份為主,我們可繼續該友誼,但要不斷淨化彼此的交往;若以虛偽友誼的成份為主,我們要將那特殊的關係擯棄一段時期,好能讓不良的情感冷卻下來。

聖經中的《德訓篇》(6:14)告訴我們:「忠實的朋友,是穩固的保障;誰尋得了他,就是尋得了寶藏。」