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。

 

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