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。

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