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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