Monthly Archives: May 2014

20140505 Serving God in the world 在世上侍奉天主

One of the important messages of the pontificate of St. John Paul II is the universal call to holiness. St. Francis de Sales gave practical advice to people of different vocations for the sanctification their daily lives.

Holy matrimony
St. Francis exhorted married couples to have mutual love that is not merely natural and human, but supernatural. He said with St. Paul, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the Church…. Let women be subject to their husbands, as to the Lord” (Eph 5:22, 25).
The saint pointed out that the first result of the love of holy matrimony is the indissoluble union of the hearts. The second result of this love is inviolable fidelity.
He explained, “In olden times finger-rings were wont to be graven as seals. We read of it in Holy Scripture, and this explains the meaning of the marriage ceremony, when the Church, by the hand of her priest, blesses a ring, and gives it first to the man in token that she sets a seal on his heart by this sacrament, so that no thought of any other woman may ever enter therein so long as she, who now is given to him, shall live.
“Then the bridegroom places the ring on the bride’s hand, so that she in her turn may know that she must never conceive any affection in her heart for any other man so long as he shall live who is now given to her by Our Lord Himself.”
The third end of marriage is procreation and the bringing up of children. The saint wrote, “And surely it is a great honour to be permitted to increase the number of souls whom God will save, and who will serve Him through all eternity; your part being to bring forth those bodies, into which He will infuse an immortal soul.”

Love and life
St. Francis cautioned married couples not to turn love into jealousy. He wrote, “Of a truth, jealousy never arises where love is built up on true virtue, and therefore it is a sure sign of an earthly, sensual love, in which mistrust and inconstancy is soon infused.
“It is a sorry kind of friendship which seeks to strengthen itself by jealousy; for though jealousy may be a sign of strong love, it is certainly no sign of a good, pure, perfect attachment; and that because perfect love implies absolute trust in the person loved, whereas jealousy implies uncertainty.”
Children are the great blessing of God in marriage. The mother of St. Bernard offered her children to Christ as soon as they were born. St. Francis pointed out that as soon as children are capable of exercising reason, both parents should carefully seek to impress on their hearts the love of God.
St. Francis recommended the celebration of the anniversary of a wedding with confession, Communion, and fervent prayer.

Pure of heart
St. Paul said, “Honour widows that are widows indeed.” St. Francis pointed out that a true widow is a widow not only in body, but also in heart; that is, she will have an inviolable resolution to continue in the state of holy widowhood.
The saint also pointed out that the renunciation of a second marriage must be done in purity and simplicity, so as to centre all affections more wholly on God. Prayer should be the continual exercise of a woman in the state of holy widowhood.
The saint urged the unmarried to keep their hearts pure so that they can more fittingly give and commit themselves either in marriage or in the state of holy virginity.
“Have you noticed how human love consists of little things? Well, divine love also consists of little things,” said St. Josemaria Escriva.

教宗聖若望,保祿二世在位時的一重要的訊息是普世成聖的召叫。聖方濟沙雷給不同背景的人士們不少實用的忠告,讓他們能夠在日常的行活中去成聖。

 

神聖的婚姻

 

          聖方濟告誡已婚的伴侶們要能有相互的愛,這不僅是自然的和人性的,但卻要是超聖的愛。他跟聖保祿都說:『你們作妻子的,應當服從自己的丈夫,如同服從主一樣,…你們作丈夫的,應該愛妻子,如同基督愛了教會,並為她捨棄了自己』(厄5:22,25)

 

聖人指出神聖婚姻的愛就第一個效果是兩顆心不能拆散的結合。這份愛的第二個效果是不可違背的誠信。古時,配帶的指環,是刻成封印的形式。在婚姻禮儀中;教會以她司鐸的手降福了指環,首先交與新郎,象徵著新娘成了他心的封印,在她有生之年中,不可讓有關其他女人的思想闖進他的心中。隨後,新郎將指環為新娘戴上,這樣她也明白,上主把這男人交託給她,在這男人有生之年中,她心中不能戀慕其他任何男人。

 

婚姻的第三個效果是生育和培養子女。聖人寫作中說:『肯定地,能夠增加上主予以救贖的靈魂,讓這靈魂能夠永遠侍奉上主,是一份上主容許的偉大榮耀;你們孕育那些身體,而天主會為身體注入不朽的靈魂。』

 

生命和愛

 

聖方濟提醒已婚的夫婦們,不要把愛變成嫉妒。他這樣寫說:『在真誠中,如果愛是建基於真的德行上,嫉妒是永不會發生的;所以嫉妒明顯地顯示,那愛情只是世俗的和慾性的,失信和不穩不久便注入其中。』嫉妒可能是愛情強烈的標記,但嫉妒絕不是完美愛情的標記。完美愛情包含絕對的信任,而嫉妒顯示不肯定。

 

子女是婚姻中是上主的最大祝福。聖伯爾納鐸的母親在她的子女出世時,便立即把她們奉獻於基督。聖方濟指出,一當孩子明白事理時,父母們便要小心地將天主的愛灌於他們心中。

聖方濟建議,結婚周年應以修和聖事,聖體聖事和熱心祈禱的方式去慶祝。

 

心靈潔淨

 

聖保祿說:『尊重寡婦,特別是那些真正的寡婦。』聖方濟指出真正的寡婦是那些不單在肉體上的寡婦,而同時是在心內的;就是說她有一份不可反悔的定志去維持神聖的寡居生活。聖人更指出,以純潔和簡單的情操去拒絕第二次的婚姻,由此可以以全部的愛情集中投放於上主之中。祈禱便成了婦女在寡居生活中的一個持續的工作。

 

聖人也請求那些獨身者去保持內心的純潔。這樣他們可以更適合地去讓自己將來作婚姻的承諾或渡貞潔的獻身生活。

 

聖施禮華說:『你有否注意人性的愛怎樣包含細少的事物?同樣,至聖的愛也包含著細少的事物。』

 

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20140428 Serve God in daily life 每天侍奉天主

 

St. Francis de Sales teaches us to be faithful in small things, to have a just and reasonable mind, and to regulate our desires.

 

Faithfulness in small things

 

St. Francis wrote,Great occasions for serving God come seldom, but little ones surround us daily; and our Lord Himself has told us that ‘he that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.’ If you do all in God’s name, all you do will be well done, whether you eat, drink or sleep, whether you amuse yourself or turn the spit, so long as you do all wisely, you will gain greatly as in God’s sight, doing all because He would have you do it.”

 

The Bishop of Belley wrote regarding St. Francis, “He surely practiced what he preached, for he was the most faithful man I ever knew. Not only was he very precise and reverent in every ceremony no matter how small— at the altar, in choir or in public office— but also in his private devotions. It was the same in his social habits; he never omitted anything.”

 

Just and reasonable

 

St. Francis wrote, “Reason is the special characteristic of man, and yet it is a rare thing to find really reasonable men….We find fault with our neighbor very readily for a small matter, while we pass over great things in ourselves. We strive to sell dear and buy cheap. We are eager to deal out strict justice to others, but to obtain indulgence for ourselves. We expect a good construction to be put on all we say, but we are sensitive and critical as to our neighbor’s words…… If some inferior is unacceptable to us, or we have once caught him in error, he is sure to be wrong in our eyes whatever he may do, and we are for ever thwarting, or looking coldly on him, while, on the other hand, some one who happens to please us is sure to be right.”

 

The saint advises us to put ourselves into our neighbor’s place, and to put our neighbor in our place. He wrote, “Sell as you would buy, and buy as you would sell, and your buying and selling will alike be honest.”

 

Our desires

St. Francis reminds us to avoid evil desires and urges us not to desire things which are dangerous to the soul. The saint also warns us not to indulge in longings after events which as yet are far distant, for they only distract and weary the heart.

He wrote, “If a young man gives way to overweening longings for an employment he cannot obtain yet a while, what good will it do him? If a married woman sets her heart on becoming a religious, or if I crave to buy my neighbor’s estate, he not being willing to sell it, is it not mere waste of time? If, when sick, I am restlessly anxious to preach or celebrate, to visit other sick people, or generally to do work befitting the strong, is it not an unprofitable desire, inasmuch as I have no power to fulfill it? And meanwhile these useless wishes take the place of such as I ought to have,– namely, to be patient, resigned, self-denying, obedient, gentle under suffering,–which are what God requires of me under the circumstances….. I can never think it well for one whose vocation is clear to waste time in wishing for some different manner of life than that which is adapted to his duty, or practices unsuitable to his present position–it is mere idling, and will make him slack in his needful work.“

May we all have the ardent desire to serve God faithfully in the ordinariness of our daily duties.

 

聖方濟.沙雷教我們,即使在小事上也要忠信,常存有正義和達理的思想,管制自己內心的欲望。

 

 

 

小事上忠信

 

 

 

聖方濟寫道:「在大事情上侍奉天主,機會未必常有,但我們日常生活的小節,常有侍奉天主的機會。就如耶穌所說『在小事上忠信的,在大事上也會忠信。』無論起居飲食、娛樂或辛勞,皆因天主而守本盡職,都會做得很好;在天主內是偉大的,亦是祂要我們作的。」

 

 

 

貝萊的主教憶道:「聖方濟言行共濟,是我所見最忠信的人;在祭台上、歌詠團、辦公室,大小細節,他都謙恭仔細完成,從不苟且,私下做的敬禮如是。在他的交際往還,他亦不會忽略任何事情。」

 

 

 

公義和達理

 

 

 

聖方濟指出:通情達理是人的特性,但卻又似乎很少找到真正達理的人。我們很容易看到別人眼中的木屑,而不顧自己眼中的大樑。我們會設法高價出售,賤價購買;又會寬己責人;我們說話會自以為是,對別人片言斷句,則窮追猛打。曾使自己不快的人,便感到他萬事俱惡,冷眼相看,諸事挑剔;相反,曾令自己感到快慰的人,只覺得他事事都好。

 

 

 

聖人勸告我們,設法替別人易地而處去考慮,也嘗試把別人代入自己:「要出售時想想你在買,要購買時,想想你在出售,你的買賣便會是忠實的買賣。」

 

 

 

我們的欲望

 

 

 

聖方濟提醒我們,要避免歪念妄欲,擯棄有害靈魂的思慾;並警告我們,不要過份遠慮,會令我們分心,使我們疲累。

 

 

 

他教導:譬如一位年青人,常渴望著一個現在不能得到的職位,對他會有什麼益處呢?若一個已婚婦女常想著要做修女,或我時時心繫業主不願出售的物業,又是否浪費時光呢?又如果我生了病,內心卻急著想要去講道、舉行彌撒、探訪病友,徘徊於健康能做的事情上,而實在事與願違,空著急對我又有何用呢?我應該忍耐、休息,在天主面前自我棄絕,服從祂的旨意,在病苦中保持溫良。假如要浪費時間,強行所不能,偏離份內的事情,我不會認定是對的;這等於游手好閒,忽略該作的本份。

 

 

 

讓我們從每天恪守己職、克盡本份中,熱心侍奉天主。

 

 

 

 

 

20140421 Recreations refresh us 消遣抖擻精神

St. Francis de Sales devoted four chapters of his Introduction to the Devout Life to the topic of amusements and recreations. The saint wrote, “We must needs occasionally relax the mind, and the body requires some recreation also.
“Cassian relates that St. John the Evangelist was found by a certain hunter amusing himself by caressing a partridge, which sat upon his wrist. The hunter asked how a man of his mental powers could find time for so trifling an occupation.
“In reply, St. John asked why he did not always carry his bow strung. The man answered, ‘for fear lest if it were always bent, the bow would lose its power when really wanted.’ ‘Do not marvel then,’ the apostle replied, ‘if I slacken my mental efforts from time to time, and recreate myself, in order to return more vigorously to contemplation.’
“It is a great mistake to be so strict as to grudge any recreation either to others or oneself.”
“Walking, harmless games, instrumental or vocal music, field sports, etc., are such entirely lawful recreations that they need no rules beyond those of ordinary discretion, which keep everything within due limits of time, place, and degree.
“So again games of skill, which exercise and strengthen body or mind, such as tennis, rackets, running at the ring, chess, and the like, are in themselves both lawful and good.
“Only one must avoid excess, either in the time given to them, or the amount of interest they absorb; for if too much time be given up to such things, they cease to be a recreation and become an occupation; and so far from resting and restoring mind or body, they have precisely the contrary effect.”

Games of chance
St. Francis de Sales discouraged games of chance such as dice and cards. He wrote, “The winner in such games does not win on his deserts but according to chance, and the luck which often falls to those who have exercised neither skill nor industry.”
“Gain, which should be the reward of industry, becomes the reward of luck, which can deserve no reward since it is no way dependent upon us.”
“Although these games are called recreations, they are in truth most absorbing occupations…. Furthermore, the only gratification in play is to win, and is not that unrighteous gratification, which can only be obtained by the losses and harm of another? Surely such pleasure is an unrighteous one.”

Balls and dances
St. Francis de Sales pointed out that balls and dances are in themselves matters of indifference. However, he cautioned that “those who go to a ball carry vanity with them; and vanity has a great tendency to excite bad passions and blamable affections.”
The saint wrote, “I am inclined to say about balls what doctors say of certain articles of food, such as mushrooms and the like: the best are not good for much; but if eat them you must, at least mind that they are properly cooked.
“So if circumstances over which you have no control take you into such places, be watchful how you prepare to enter them. Let the dish be seasoned with moderation, dignity, and good intentions.
“The doctors say (still referring to the mushrooms), eat sparingly of them, and that but seldom, for, however well dressed, an excess is harmful. So dance but little, and that rarely, my child, lest you run the risk of growing over-fond of the amusement.”
“It is said that after eating mushrooms you should drink some good wine. So after frequenting balls you should frame pious thoughts which may counteract the dangerous impressions made by such empty pleasures on your heart.”

在他「熱心引」一書中,聖方濟.沙雷用四章節提到娛樂及消遣。他寫道:「不時,我們需要把心神放鬆,身體亦需要一些消遣。就如當初,有個獵人發覺,聖史若望有時會輕撫停在手腕的山鶉,奇怪這思想家會有閒情逸緻,去做這些看來沒意義的事。若望反問他們為何不常常帶上箭弓,他們答說:『保留箭弓的曲張力,方便需要時有效使用。』若望並不以為奇,向獵人們解釋道:『我間歇讓腦袋緩衝下來,作些消閑;當我繼續默想時,更精力充沛。』故此,我們不要拒絕或忽略抽閒消遣。」

 

聖方濟指出:漫步、益智遊戲、音樂、歌唱、運動等,沒有外來什麼規限,均可以按個人的能力、時間、地點、程度、方便及喜好去發揮。同樣,需要一些技巧的諸如網球、田徑、下棋等活動,都是合法和裨益,只不過切忌沉迷,以免過度消耗體力和時間;特別當有人把這些看做職業或競技,反而這不是消閑,卻變做壓力。

 

博彩遊戲

 

聖方濟.沙雷不鼓勵博彩遊戲如擲骰子、撲克。這類遊戲的勝方,非因他的勤奮,也不一定是技巧而賺得,主要靠的是運氣。運氣得來的不相等於應得;應得的要來自技巧和勤奮。

 

聖方濟指出:雖然有人將這些叫做消遣,但事實上是最浪費心神的職業。畢竟,要勝出是唯一目標,這目標卻又建築在別人的失敗與損失之上。肯定這不會是正確的娛樂。

 

舞會和跳舞

 

聖方濟.沙雷續指出,舞會和跳舞本身不好也不壞。他認為舞會活動,容易滲入虛榮和浮誇,會引發過度的熱情、不適當的情感。有關舞會,聖人喜用醫生論及草菇食物作比喻—–最好的也沒有多大價值;但如果必需吃,烹調草菇要適度,確保煮熟。若必需參加舞會,也要小心準備,懷着節制、端正、和良好的意向。正如醫生吩咐不要太多吃草菇,所以跳舞活動要適可而止。

 

有人推薦,吃過草菇後,要飲用些純酒。同樣,參加舞會後,要專注靈修的思想,抵消舞會帶給內心那些虛浮的歡樂。