日曆

三月紀念的聖人

3月1日: 聖曹桂英(殉道)

 聖曹桂英或名貴英,聖名依搦斯,生於1821年4月28日,貴州興義人,祖籍四川,數代信教。

 聖曹桂英十八歲時,有個農夫顏老四,求人說合,結為夫妻。 但是,丈夫雖然久已奉教,卻徒有其名,因此兩人並不和諧,而且夫家兄嫂態度冷淡。 兩年後丈夫去世,兄嫂竟狠心把她逐出家門,桂英逆來順受,決心為主守節,當傭工度日。

 不久,桂英邀孀婦丁金鳳同住數年。 金鳳虔誠敬主,又喜歡幫助別人,精通經言道理,每逢神父來,必熱心告解領聖体,桂英從她處得到很多教益。

 咸豐六年(1856年)正月中旬仇教風波大作。 縣衙派了一百多人,前往搜捕教友十餘人,可是只把桂英一人押到縣城,縣令張鳴風立命收監。 那時馬神父已自動交付地方官,被判站囚籠殉道後,才提桂英審訊。 縣官先說了一番好話,勸她背教。她絲毫不為所動,縣官遂以惡言恫嚇,桂英依然不從;官命動刑,她卻寧死不背萬有真主。

 審訊的經過是這樣的: 「何人引你奉教?」「我家奉教已經好幾代了。」「你來廣西所為何事?」「聽說這邊有數十戶人家奉天主教,特來教導他們熱心恭敬天主。 無非是教他們經言要理。」「為何白天不教,專在晚上教呢?」「白天大家要上山作工,沒有空。 晚上纔回來,所以在晚上教。」縣官又說:「你若不背教,本縣就要定你死罪。」「縱然死,也不能背主。」「那麼,你願意受何等刑罰而死?」 「願跟馬神父一樣死。」次日再審,聖曹桂英異常堅強,絕不屈服,縣官判站囚籠致死。

 農曆正月二十二日開始聖曹桂英站囚籠,虔心祈禱唸經,直到二十五日(陽曆三月一日)臨死時,一直呼求天主助佑,斷氣前還在唸: 「天主可憐我,耶穌救我!」享年三十五歲。聖曹桂英之殉道地:廣西西林。

 1900年5月27日,教宗良十三世宣布她為真福。2000年10月1日蒙教宗若望保禒二世在羅馬宣封為聖人。

Agnes Tsao Kou Ying was born in the Village of Wujiazhai in Guizhou Province in 1821. She came from a traditional Catholic family, originally from Sichuan. After her parents died, she went to work in the city of Xingyi where she met a Catholic woman who kindly let her live in her house. When Bishop Bai came to visit, he learned that she was without family and asked her to learn more about Christianity at the local parish. Blessed with a very bright mind, she learned quickly.

At the age of eighteen she married a local farmer, but her brother and sister-in-law treated her as an outsider, leaving her nothing to eat. Two years later, her husband died, and she was driven out of the house. She took odd jobs as a helper, just to earn a living. Then a pious Catholic widow invited Agnes to stay with her. Being a kind and generous woman, she loved to help others. She also had a good understanding of the Scriptures and the teachings of the Church. Whenever a priest visited them this widow received the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. With such an example before her, Agnes was able to cultivate her own spirituality.

One day, when Fr. Ma (Auguste Chapdelaine) was there, he discovered how well Agnes knew the faith and asked her to move to Guangxi for some missionary work, especially for teaching catechism to 30-40 Catholic families living there. In the winter of 1852, she went to the town of Baijiazhai in Xilan County, she made it her headquarters and taught catechism from place to place. She also taught the aborigines how to cook and manage a household, and during her spare time, did babysitting.

When she was helping out in Yaoshan in 1856, she was taken into custody with many others, but they were soon released while she alone had to stay in prison. Father Ma was also kept there until his death in prison for the faith. The county magistrate used the ploy of nice words to get her to deny the faith, but she was unmoved. Then he threatened torture, but she showed no fear. Finally, on January 22, he had her locked in a cage so small that she could only stand up, but her spirit never failed. She prayed repeatedly, "God, have mercy on me; Jesus save me!" Then, on January 25, she cried in a loud voice: "God, help me!" and expired.

Pope Leo XIII proclaimed her "Blessed" on May 27th, 1900, and Pope John Paul II canonized her as a Martyr-Saint on October 1st, 2000.

3月2日:Bl. Henry Suso

(1295 to 1366) German Dominican Mystic

Henry Suso was born Heinrich von Berg in Constance, Swabia, to a noble family on March 21, about 1295. He took his name from his mother’s family, Sus or Süs. He was creative, quick, highly imaginative and restless. He was of frail health and often ill. Perhaps because of this, his parents took him at age 13 to the Dominican convent at Constance, where he would spend a large part of his life. He was professed at age 14. At age 18, he had a mystical experience that propelled him to become “the Servant of the Eternal Wisdom.” He was flooded with divine light and joy and felt transported out of the world. This experience changed his thinking and opened the way for frequent visions and ecstasies throughout his life. He initiated a practice of severe austerities. Henry excelled in his studies, and in 1324 he was sent to Cologne to the Dominican house of advanced studies. There he had the privilege of studying with the great and controversial German mystic, Johann Eckhart, or Meister Eckhart, for three years, becoming his ardent supporter. He also studied the works of SS. Thomas Aquinas, Peter Lombard and Dionysius. After his return to Constance, he was named lector and pursued his writing. In 1329, Pope John XXII (r. 1316–34) condemned Meister Eckhart. Henry defended him, earning censure from his superiors and suffering the loss of his teaching job. In 1334 Henry began his apostolic career, earning an outstanding reputation for his preaching throughout Europe. In particular he worked with the Friends of God, whom he called the Brotherhood of Eternal Wisdom, helping to restore religious practices. He especially influenced Dominican convents of women, including the famous Katherinenthal, a home to mystics in the 13th and 14th centuries, and Toss, where Elsbeth Stagel preserved some of his writings and most of his letters. Throughout his life, Henry suffered the persecutions and ill will of others, despite his brilliance as a preacher. A woman accused him of fathering her child, and the gossip destroyed his reputation for a time. Henry was crushed by this defamation. At the height of the scandal, another woman came to him in secret and offered to destroy the child. She argued that unless the child was eliminated, he would be forced to accept it. Henry, of course, could do no such thing. He accepted the child as his and gave it to the care of the woman. This damaged his reputation even further. Friends deserted him and he was nearly expelled from the religious life. Henry was devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary and venerated the holy name of Jesus. He took a stiletto and carved the name into his chest above his heart, so that the name moved with every beat of his heart. He never revealed the carving to anyone, but once while in ecstasy, a brilliant radiance streamed from his heart. Henry died on January 25, 1366, in Ulm. Henry began writing while he was a student in Cologne. His early works, heavily influenced by Eckhart, were The Little Book of Truth and The Little Book of Eternal Wisdom. The latter is considered a classic, and was the most widely read meditation book in German until Thomas à Kempis produced Imitation of Christ. Kempis was influenced by Suso. Henry also wrote his autobiography, The Life of the Servant, which discusses his inner life. Extant are 28 letters and five sermons.

Eucharist quotes (3/2 Bl. Henry Suso)

“Nowhere does Jesus hear our prayers more readily than in the Blessed Sacrament.”

3月3日:聖女加大 利納.德 雷克塞爾(貞女) St. Katharine Drexel

(1858-1955) American born Saint, foundress of Sisters of The Blessed Sacrament

 一八五八年十一月二十六日,真福加大利納•德雷克塞爾在美國賓夕法尼亞州費城出生。她是天主教友富商安東尼的女兒,父親為人良善慷 慨,母親漢娜• 雅內•蘭斯特羅思是新教信徒,在加大利納出生後去世,父母的慷慨和慈善精神以及豐厚的家庭經濟來源使加大利納把全部精力放在了當時深受美國社 會排斥的北美 印第安人和美國黑人身上。

 儘管一八六五年頒發了奴隸自由和解放法令,但是世界民族的這一部分人民仍是種族歧視的物件。北美印第安人和美國黑人兩大部落徘徊在貧 窮落後之中。 一次,加大利納在前往美國西部途中看到了美國人生活的惡劣處境後,開始利用自己的資金,為解救他們和開發基督信仰教育而努力,並積極支持傳教 事業的開展, 美國主教團委員會負責人和西雅圖教區主教湯瑪斯•墨菲蒙席指出,加大利納是一位元運用基督信仰方式管理財務的典範。

 一八八三年領洗後,加大利納很快就已經表現出對獻身生活的渴望。一八九一年,為了實現創辦一個專務朝拜聖體的修會,並在痛苦的美國黑 人及印第安人 中傳播福音的理想,她進入了仁慈修女會的初學院。由她創立的為印第安人和痛苦者服務的聖體修女會於一九三一年得到教會的正式批准。在以後的四 十年裡,修會 在印第安人和痛苦者中間開展了大量的工作。

 加大利納一生中在美國西南部地區共創建了一座傳教中心和六十所美國黑人及印第安人學校。賽維爾大學是加大利納的畢生傑作之一,這是一 所坐落在路易 斯安那州新奧爾良市的美國黑人大學,最近兩年中,從這所大學畢業的美國黑人學生比其它任何大學都要多,賽維爾大學現任校長諾爾曼•弗朗西表 示:「加大利納 為印第安人和美國黑人的需求貢獻了自己。這遠遠超過了金錢的價值。」

 一九三五年,加大利納已經是七十多歲的病人,她離開了修會長上的工作,專心致力於祈禱生活。一九五五年三月三日,九十六歲高齡的加大 利納修女安息主懷。目前,她的追隨者共有二百六十一名,分佈在三十六個團體中。

 一九八八年十一月二十日,加大利納•德雷克塞爾被教宗若望•保祿二世封為真福品。二OOO年三月五日,教宗確認了使加大利納成為教會 聖人的聖跡,一名在一九九二年出生失去聽覺的兒童康復了,她於一九九四年借助真福加大利納的轉禱重獲聽覺。

March 3: Saint Katharine Drexel, Virgin and Foundress, L'Osservatore Romano

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. on 26 November 1858, Katharine was the second daughter of Francis Anthony Drexel, a wealthy banker, and his wife, Hannah Jane. The latter died a month after Katharine's birth, and two years later her father married Emma Bouvier, who was a devoted mother, not only to her own daughter Louisa (born 1862), but also to her two step-daughters. Both parents instilled into the children by word and example that their wealth was simply loaned to them and was to be shared with others.

Katharine was educated privately at home; she travelled widely in the United States and in Europe. Early in life she became aware of the plight of the Native Americans and the Blacks; when she inherited a vast fortune from her father and step-mother, she resolved to devote her wealth to helping these disadvantaged people. In 1885 she established a school for Native Americans at Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Later, during an audience with Pope Leo XIII, she asked him to recommend a religious congregation to staff the institutions which she was financing. The Pope suggested that she herself become a missionary, so in 1889 she began her training in religious life with the Sisters of Mercy at Pittsburgh.

In 1891, with a few companions, Mother Katharine founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People. The title of the community summed up the two great driving forces in her life—devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and love for the most deprived people in her country.

Requests for help reached Mother Katharine from various parts of the United States. During her lifetime, approximately 60 schools were opened by her congregation. The most famous foundation was made in 1915; it was Xavier University, New Orleans, the first such institution for Black people in the United States.

In 1935 Mother Katharine suffered a heart attack, and in 1937 she relinquished the office of superior general. Though gradually becoming more infirm, she was able to devote her last years to Eucharistic adoration, and so fulfil her life’s desire. She died at the age of 96 at Cornwell Heights, Pennsylvania, on 3 March 1955. Her cause for beatification was introduced in 1966; she was declared Venerable by Pope John Paul II on 26 January 1987, by whom she was also beatified on 20 November 1988.

Eucharist quotes (3/3 St. Katherine Drexel)

“My sweetest Joy is to be in the presence of Jesus in the holy Sacrament. I beg that when obliged to withdraw in body, I may leave my heart before the holy Sacrament. How I would miss Our Lord if He were to be away from me by His presence in the Blessed Sacrament.”

“I adore You, my Eucharistic God. You are there exposed in the ostensorium [monstrance]. The rays are the rays of Your love for me, for each individual soul. If it wasn’t for Your love, I would be in hell. I return You thanksgiving through Mary, through St. Joseph, through all the Apostles, Martyrs, Virgins and Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament in heaven. And lastly, I thank You through the sacred host on all the altars throughout the world.”

3月3日:Ven. Concepcion Cabrera de Armida

(1862 to 1937) Mystic and religious writer

“O Jesus of the Eucharist! O consecrated Host! O envied Monstrance! O blessed Ciborium, beloved of my heart! The Tabernacle is my Treasure, and, far or near, my eyes never lose sight of it, for it contains the God of Love.”

Jesus speaking to Venerable Concepcion - “I want souls who are dedicated with fervor, with determination and without looking for rest, to plead day and night (before the Blessed Sacrament) for my priests.”

She was born to Octaviano Cabrera Lacaveux and Clara Arias Rivera who had a respectable, but not lavish family life. She had a simple, happy and at times playful childhood. Although she recalled to have often disobeyed her parents as a child, she showed a special love for the Holy Eucharist from an early age.

In 1884 she married Francisco Armida and had nine children between 1885 and 1899. In 1901, when she was 39 years old, her husband died and she had to care for her children, the youngest of whom was two years old. Her life as a widow was not made any easier by the fact that the Mexican Civil War raged from 1910 to 1921 and took the lives of 900,000 of Mexico's population of 15 million. Yet her writings reflect an amazing tranquility, amid the chaos that surrounded her.

As a mystic, she reported that she heard God telling her: “Ask me for a long suffering life and to write a lot... That's your mission on earth”. She never claimed direct visions of Jesus and Mary but spoke of Jesus through her prayers and meditations.

Her spiritual life started before the death of her husband. In 1894 she took “spiritual nuptials” and in 1896 wrote in her diary: “In truth, after I touched God and had an imperfect notion of His Being, I wanted to prostrate myself, my forehead and my heart, in the dust and never get up again.” During her life her writings were examined by the Catholic Church in Mexico and even during her pilgrimage to Rome in 1913 where she had an audience with Pope Pius X. In all cases, Church authorities looked favorably on her writings.

Her writings were widely distributed and inspired the establishment of the five apostolates of the 'Works of the Cross' in Mexico: 'Apostolate of the Cross' founded in 1895, 'Congregation of Sisters of the Cross of the Sacred Heart of Jesus' founded in 1897, 'Covenant of Love with the Heart of Jesus' founded in 1909, 'The Priestly Fraternity' founded in 1912, and 'The Congregation of Missionaries of the Holy Spirit' founded in 1914. These apostolates continue today.

Conchita died on March 3, 1937, at the age of 75 and is buried at the Church of San José del Altillo in Mexico City. She had lived a multi-faceted life, being a mother, a widow, a mystic and a writer. Of herself she wrote:

“I carry within me three lives, all very strong: family life with its multiple sorrows of a thousand kinds, that is, the life of a mother; the life of the Works of the Cross with all its sorrows and weight, which at times crushes me until I have no strength left; and the life of the spirit or interior life, which is the heaviest of all, with its highs and lows, its tempests and struggles, its light and darkness. Blessed be God for everything!”

Her children report that they hardly ever saw her writing, but her religious writings and meditations total over 60,000 handwritten pages. The length of her religious writings thus approaches that of Saint Thomas Aquinas.

As a lay woman, she often aimed to show her readers how to love the Church. She wrote: “To love the Church is not to criticize her, not to destroy her, not to try to change her essential structures, not to reduce her to humanism, horizontalism and to the simple service of a human liberation. To love the Church is to cooperate with the work of Redemption by the Cross and in this way obtain the grace of the Holy Spirit come to renew the face of this poor earth, conducting it to its consummation in the design of the Father's immense love.”

Her book I Am: Eucharistic Meditations on the Gospel, was the results of meditations during Eucharistic adoration. It aims to clarify the words with which Jesus defines Who He is in a variety of statements beginning with the words: “I am”.

In Seasons of the Soul she viewed the maturation of spiritual life as an ongoing process through the various seasons until the soul has fulfilled its purpose on earth. It discusses how the Holy Spirit is at work gradually transforming the soul through its seasons in the image and likeness of Jesus.

The book A Mother's Letters reflects the fact that she was not a cloistered mystic but a busy mother with nine children and a widow during a turbulent time in Mexico's political history. The letters provide a glimpse of her warm, human side as she communicates with her family.

Her other books include: To My Priests, Holy Hours, Before the Altar, You Belong to the Church and Irresistibly Drawn to the Eucharist.

Her canonization process was started in 1959 by the Archbishop of Mexico City, at which time about 200 volumes of her writings were submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Pope John Paul II declared her venerable on December 20, 1999.

3月4日:聖加西彌 祿(殉 道) St. Casimir

 聖人生於一四五八年,是波蘭太子,勤修諸德,尤以貞潔、善待貧苦為著,又信心堅強,熱愛聖體與聖母。一四八四年死於肺結核。

3月7日:聖伯爾都 亞及聖斐 尼絲(殉道)(紀念) Ss. Perpetua & Felicity

 聖斐尼絲是聖伯爾都亞的女僕。兩人均是慕道者。於公元203年賽外黎王教難時,在非洲迦太基,連同其他三位慕道者一起殉 道。

 被捕時,聖斐尼絲是一位快要臨盆的孕婦;聖伯爾都亞則剛誕下孩子。兩人雖經家人勸阻,仍堅貞不屈,遂在聖斐尼絲生下孩子後,雙雙被投 入獸籠內受刑,後以斬決殉道。

 兩位聖婦與聖西彼廉主教,同為迦太基的著名殉道者,且於羅馬感恩經中同受紀念。

3月8日:聖若望由 天主者 (會士)St. John of God

(1495-1550) Founder of Brothers Hospitallers of St. John God

 聖人於一四九五年出生於葡萄牙,及長從軍。後在西班牙加諾大建立醫院,召集同志,一心為病人服務,繼而創立專為病人服務的醫療兄弟 會。聖人一生特別關注貧病,於一五五○年安逝於加諾大。

主保:書商、印刷業者、心臟病患、醫院、看護、病人、消防隊員

 聖人從八歲到死去的那天為止,都跟隨著內心的每個衝動而行;為他而言,最大的挑戰是如何隨著聖神的引導而行,而非跟著自己的偏情私欲 隨波逐流。聖人不像其他按衝動行事的人那樣,一旦他做了決定,就會堅持到底,無論它有多大的困難。

 八歲那年,聖人從一位司鐸的口中聽到:一個發現新世界的探險已經展開了。當晚,他隨即離家與那位司鐸遠行,之後,就再也沒見過他的父 母了。他們從 這一村莊一路乞討到另一村莊,直到小若望病倒了為止。聖人當時受到一位富有的農場負責人所照顧,痊癒後便被其所收養。以後,聖人為這位恩人在 山上看管羊 群,直到他27歲為止。主人願將其女許配給若望,但聖人對她卻僅有兄妹之情,因此倍感壓力。為了躲避這場婚姻,他便悄悄地加入了與法國交戰的 西班牙軍隊。 然而,在軍中他非但不是同僚的聖善榜樣,反而參與了他們最愛的賭博、醉酒與掠奪等活動。一日,聖人在法國前線從一隻偷來的馬上跌下,因為害怕 被俘或被殺, 於是,便在很快地回顧自己的一生後,發了痛悔。

 獲救後,聖人持守了許諾,妥善地辦了一次告解,並立即改變了他原有的生活。軍中的夥伴對聖人的改變都大肆嗤笑,且對聖人的衝動天性大 做文章。最 後,聖人被趕出軍營。他只好回到先前所寄養的家庭裡,作著牧羊人的工作,直到他聽到另一場回教徒入侵歐洲的戰爭興起為止。聖人再次因參戰而離 開寄養家庭, 但戰爭結束後,他決定回去尋找他的真正父母。但悲傷的是,他的雙親都在他離家的期間先後過世了。

 聖人38歲時,曾決定前往非洲營救被俘的基督徒。但卻因緣際會地遇到了一個悲慘的家庭,他們原是貴族,卻因政治陰謀而被流放非洲,聖 人得知後便自 願做他們的僕人。到非洲後,這一家人全病倒了,聖人便自己外出賺錢、養活並照顧他們一家人。當時,工人們常被自稱為天主教徒的工頭所虐待,聖 人因此大感不 解,差一點動搖了自己的信仰。一位司鐸勸告他別為這些人無理的行徑而怪罪教會,並勸告他回到西班牙去。

 回到西班牙後,聖人白天在碼頭工作,晚上則拜訪聖堂並閱讀聖書。閱讀聖書為他帶來很大的喜樂,因此他認為該把這項喜樂分享給他人。於 是他又很快地 辭去碼頭的工作,成為一個在各城鎮間販售信仰書籍與印有聖像書卡的書商。41歲那年,他前往格拉納達(Granada),經營一間小書店(為 此,他成為書 商與印刷業者的主保)。

 一日,在聽完若望‧亞味拉(Bl. John of Avila)關於悔改的道理後,聖人匆促地回到自己的小書店中,將所有世俗的刊物全部撕毀,並把全部的信仰書籍與金錢分送給鄰人,全城的人都 以為他瘋了。 之後,他撕裂衣服並為己罪哀哭,這使聖人成了他人羞辱、玩笑的目標。

 聖人的朋友將他送往皇家醫院去接受治療,在該處他被視同精神病患般地綑綁與鞭打。不久,若望‧亞味拉前來探視聖人,並告訴他四十日的 補贖為他已夠,因為主在曠野中也不過承受了四十日的試煉。隨後,聖人便轉往醫院的他處接受治療了。

 現在,聖人已獲行動的自由,他雖還是個病人,卻立即起身照顧身旁其餘的病患。院方很高興有這樣一位不需付費的看護者,但卻對聖人宣稱 將開始興建一座屬於窮人的醫院而感到不悅。

 聖人為了讓計畫付諸實現,便決定以販售薪柴來籌措資金,但杯水車薪如何能有助益?況且,他白天所賺的錢,晚上都拿去救濟住在街上的窮 人們了。因此,他的第一座醫院可以說就是格拉納達的街頭。

 一日,他租下一棟標示著:「為給窮人落腳」的屋子,好能在屋內照顧那些貧窮的病患。但是,他租了屋後就沒錢添購其他設施了。於是,他 在向人乞討病 床後,便走到街市上,以揹負過大石、木柴與書籍的肩膀,將患病的窮人一一揹回。他在夜裡一邊祈禱,一邊為他們清理、包紮傷口,並修補他們的衣 物。他以過去 作為一位小販的經驗在街道上乞求施捨,並以叫賣的嗓子呼喊道:「弟兄們!為了愛天主並自己的益處,做一些善事吧!」

 聖人的作風常遭到他人的批評,因為凡有需要的人,他從不過問原因,全以他的直覺之愛加以擁抱。一次,他設置了一個遊民收容所,但外界 卻藉此指責他 縱容滋生事端者。聖人對此的回應總是:「據我所知,院內唯一的麻煩人物就是我自己了。」確實,聖人急於回應他人需要的愛心,常為他帶來不必要 的麻煩。一 日,他在街上遇見一群饑民,便立即進入一間民宅,偷取一鍋的食物交給他們,為此愛德,他幾乎當場被捕!另一次,他在街上遇到一群衣衫襤褸的孩 童,他便帶他 們前往布店,為他們每一位製作新衣。當然,他只能以自己的名字賒帳。

 但是,他那不假思索的天性,也讓他在一次緊急事故中救了多人的性命。那時,皇家醫院失了火,聖人拿起救火器具便急奔該處,但他卻發現 群眾都只是站 著觀望,而讓火勢逐漸吞滅著醫院與裡面的病人。當下,聖人什麼也不想,一頭就衝進燃燒的屋內,將病人一一救出。當所有病人都得救後,他才開始 從窗口丟出院 內的毛毯、床單與被褥等物資。看來,聖人行事並非只是一味衝動,而是非常懂得輕重緩急的!就在最危急的關頭,聖人爬至屋頂,以斧頭分開著火的 部份,使醫院 的其他區域能倖免於難。他成功了,但卻從著了火的屋頂上跌落,眾人都以為他們的救火英雄將就此喪生。然而,聖人卻奇蹟地從煙霧中走了出來(為 此,聖人也是 消防人員的主保)。

 當聖人獲悉珍貴的浮木隨同氾濫的洪水被帶至他們的城鎮時,他正患著重病。然而,他卻起身前往洶湧的河邊撿拾浮木。當時有個小男孩不慎 跌入河中,聖 人為搶救他,不顧自己有病在身,毅然地跳入河中搶救孩童。不過,這次聖人未能救得這小男孩的性命,反而因此患了嚴重的肺炎。最後,聖人於3月 8日過世,享 年55歲;這直覺之愛可說是引導了聖人的一生。

 聖人的同伴們在他過世十年後創立了「Brothers Hospitallers」修會,並以聖人為其的會祖。

Eucharist quotes (3/8 St. John of God)

“Love our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist above all things in the world.”

3月9日:聖方濟 加.露雯 St. Frances of Rome

(1384-1440)

 聖方濟加的一生,很巧妙地將在俗與修道這二種生活型態結合了起來。她是一位既虔敬而又可愛的妻子,渴望過著一種祈禱與服務並重的生 活。 因此,她為服務困境中的窮人,在羅馬組織了一個婦女的團體。

 1384年,聖女誕生在一個富有的義大利家庭裡,11歲時非常嚮往修道的生活,渴望成為一位修女,並肯定天主就是要如此召喚她。但她 修道的渴望卻遭到父親嚴厲的反對,並在其12歲時,將其許配給一位貴族青年Lorenzo Ponziano。

 婚後,聖女發現,丈夫兄弟的妻子如他一樣渴望過著祈禱與服務的生活。因此,聖女與兄嫂(Vannozza)二人便在丈夫們的祝福下, 一起為城裡的窮人們服務。

 期間,聖女一度陷入重病,但她為窮人的工作卻沒有因此中斷,反而加深她與這些受苦之人一同受苦的決心。幾年後,聖女生了二個男孩和一 個女孩。這位 年輕的母親便開始將注意力轉向家庭,因為她意識到自己對家庭應有的責任,她說:「一位已婚的婦女該將天主留在祭台上,好能在她所操勞的家務中 尋找到祂。」 因此,全家都在聖女的照顧中得到滋養。但是,內戰加上瘟疫卻在此時橫掃義大利,整個羅馬都陷在戰火與疫情的摧殘陰影之下,聖女便在此時痛失了 當時才年僅九 歲的小兒子Evangelista。在戰亂的斷桓殘壁與疫情摧殘的哀號聲中,聖女為照顧有需要之人,便在自己家中開設一處收容所,好收納無家 可歸的難民 們。

 一年後,聖女在一次神視中被告知她的女兒Agnes也將過世,為了安慰她,天主差遣一位總領天使來引導她,並護守聖女的餘生。聖女能 很清楚地看見 這位天使,而他也總是一路陪伴並給予聖女靈性上的指引。當聖女力行嚴厲的補贖以致傷身時,這位天使便告訴聖女說:「妳如今該明瞭,天主為了妳 的靈魂而造了 肉體,是為要使它成為妳靈魂的僕役。這並不是說靈魂就可以恣意毀壞肉體,並在抽離肉體的情形下回歸天主。」

 為了能幫助城內受苦的病患,芳佳變賣了所有的財產,並以自己的金錢購置任何病患可能需要用到的物資。她自己常僅是以幾片乾麵包裹腹, 甚至常以較好的食物與窮人的碎屑交換自己食用。最後,當所有資源都耗盡時,芳佳與兄嫂便挨家挨戶地為窮人的生活所需乞討。

 聖女越來越肯定:這樣的生活方式為此世是有必要的。於是,她便計畫申請成立一個沒有三願束縛的婦女團體。很快地,她的請求就獲得了教 會官方的允 准。此團體(Community of Benedictine Oblate of Mary)的宗旨僅是單純地奉獻她們自己,並致力於服務窮人。團體成立後,聖女因有照顧病弱的丈夫之責(義大利內戰時,聖女的丈夫因貴族的身 份曾被充軍, 歸回後身形枯槁,極為虛弱),因此並未住在團體內,而是在家中照顧著丈夫,直至他過世為止。她丈夫死前留給聖女最後的話是:「我覺得,我的一 生就好似一場 美麗的夢一樣,那是一種最為純淨的幸福;因為天主在妳的愛中賞給了我好多、好多!」丈夫過世後,聖女便遷往會院居住,且被選為院長。52歲 時,也就是聖女 渴望成為一位修女的四十年後,她的夢想終於實現了;因此,她渴望作為一位修女的初衷仍是正確的,只是時間點不對而已。因為在這二種聖召之間, 天主對她有不 同的計畫。

 四年後,聖女也過世了,她最後的話語是:「我的天使已經完成使命了,他正召喚我隨他而去呢!」

3月9日:St. Gregory of Nyssa

(~330-395) Early Church Father and Doctor of the Church

Source: http://www.crossroadsinitiative.com/library_author/52/St._Gregory_of_Nyssa.html

Gregory of Nyssa was the younger brother of St. Basil the Great and St. Macrina. Born around 330 AD, Gregory married and spent several years of his life in secular employment before he entered the monastery founded by his elder brother. He was consecrated Bishop of Nyssa in 371 and fought tirelessly for the Trinitarian faith of Nicaea that was reaffirmed by the great Creed of the Council of Constantinople, which he attended. In the last few years of his life, he traveled a great deal since he was in great demand as a preacher, teacher, and spiritual writer.

St. Gregory of Nyssa was a theologian of great depth and originality. He wrote famous treatises against Trinitarian heretics Eunomius and Apollinarius and instructed new Christians about the Trinity, Incarnation, Redemption and Sacraments in his Catechetical Orations. But his theological reflections far surpassed controversy and catechesis--indeed, St. Gregory provides us with the first systematic presentation of Christian doctrine since Origen over 150 years earlier.

Gregory wrote many reflections and commentaries on Scripture, most notably his Life of Moses and homilies on the Lord's Prayer, the Song of Songs, and the Beatitudes. His most important contribution was in the area of spirituality. While his brother gave eastern monasticism its structure and organization, Gregory provided its heart and mystical vision. For this reason he came to be known as “Father of Mysticism.”

St. Gregory of Nyssa died around the year 395 AD and is revered as one of the greatest of the Eastern Church Fathers. He, his brother Basil and their friend St. Gregory of Nazianzen, are known as the Cappadocian Fathers, from the region in modern Turkey from which they came.

Eucharist quotes (3/9 St. Gregory Nyssa)

“He offered Himself for us, Victim and Sacrifice, and Priest as well, and 'Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.' When did He do this? When He made His own Body food and His own Blood drink for His disciples; for this much is clear enough to anyone, that a sheep cannot be eaten by a man unless its being eaten be preceded by its being slaughtered. This giving of His own Body to His disciples for eating clearly indicates that the sacrifice of the Lamb has now been completed.” (Orations and Sermons, Jaeger: Vol 9, p. 287, ca. 383 A.D.)

“Rightly then, do we believe that the bread consecrated by the word of God has been made over into the Body of the God the Word. For that Body was, as to its potency bread; but it has been consecrated by the lodging there of the Word, who pitched His tent in the flesh.”(The Great Catechism 37: 9-13)”

“The bread is at first common bread; but when the mystery sanctifies it, it is called and actually becomes the Body of Christ.” (Orations and Sermons, Jaeger Vol 9, pp. 225-226 ca. 383 A.D.)

3月12日:聖張大 鵬(殉 道)

 聖張大鵬,字程萬,乾隆十九年(1754)生於貴州都勻,自幼聰明正直,受人尊重,曾信奉清水教,後又信道教。四十歲遷居貴陽,和一 姓王的合夥經 營絲業;王之長子由京城帶回天主教信仰,力勸張大鵬入教,但因當時他有一偏房妻子,未能信教;嘉慶三年羅神父到隆平場傳教,他便跟他學道理, 並認識了吳國 盛。

 嘉慶五年,張大鵬在遵義隆平場領了洗,聖名若瑟。家中親友十分反對,逼他背教,他不但不背棄信仰,反而非常熱心,抓住機會便勸人信 主,也不時到孤老院慰問貧苦老人,饋贈財物,送終安葬。

 因白蓮教作亂,他多次出走逃難,最後於嘉慶二十年二月初二(1815年3月12日)被提交刑場,在路途中,兩個弟弟及姪兒都哀求他背 教,也曾用財 富來誘惑他,以保留性命;但他勇敢地否決了。臨到法場,他還問差役用何種刑,他回答說用絞刑,他歎說:『天主憐憫我,真是仁慈至極,我更願受 斬刑;但是, 隨天主安排吧。』家屬還想最後哀求他,但他回答說:『不要哭,我死是為天主,又不曾犯法;我一死,就升天享福了』。 貴陽的教友非常景仰他,許多人到墳上採草當藥服,據方主教作証,此草治病出乎意料的有效。

 宣統元年三月十三日(1909年5月2日),教宗比約十世宣報張大鵬為真福。教宗若望保祿二世於二○○○年十月一日宣布他為聖人。

3月17日:聖博德 (主教) St. Patrick

 聖人於三八五年左右,出生於蘇格蘭。幼年時曾被俘至愛爾蘭,為人牧羊。獲自由後,成為聖職人員,後被立為愛爾蘭區主教,竭力宣傳福 音,奠定愛爾蘭教會的信仰基礎。四六一年逝世。

3月18日:耶路撒冷的聖濟利祿(主教,聖師) St. Cyril of Jerusalem

(315-386)

 教會今日所面對的問題,相較於聖人的時代因亞略異端所造成的衝擊,算是輕微許多了。該異端的主張否認基督的天主性,帶給教會不小的傷 害與分裂。聖人曾多次被亞略異端誣告,以致被流放數次,備嘗艱辛。最後,他獲得平反,且在1822年時,被冊封為教會的聖師。

 聖人自小生長在耶路撒冷,受過極好的教育,特別是在聖經方面。年紀稍長時,由耶路撒冷的主教(St. Maximus)祝聖為司鐸,主要的職責是為預備領洗的慕道者講授要理。他所撰寫的教材,為教會在第四世紀中葉的神學與禮儀研究有著極大的價 值。

 當聖人被該省的其他主教祝聖為耶路撒冷主教的繼任者時,其中一位具有亞略背景的凱撒勒雅主教Acacius亦在祝聖的行列之中。為 此,聖人被夾在 二派的爭論之間:正統教義派質疑該祝聖禮儀的有效性,而亞略異端則以為他們又多了一位盟友,且期待聖人能跟隨他們並與其合作。但結果並未如 Acacius 所期待的那樣,因為聖人選擇了「中間路線」。

 當飢荒在耶路撒冷盛行時,窮人們前來尋求已是主教身分的濟利祿。面對蜂擁而來尋求救濟的人們,聖人感到心中不忍,於是變賣了教會裡的 一些物資來救濟他們。聖人此舉,亦可在同是主教的聖安博(St. Ambros)與聖奧斯定(St. Augustine)的身上看到,他們因此救了許多的生靈。然而,對聖人不利的謠言卻在此刻塵囂直上。

 後來,耶路撒冷與凱撒勒雅這二個教區的主教間起了激烈的衝突,起因不是信理的問題,而是在轄區的歸屬上。理論上,巴勒斯坦境內的所有 主教都歸屬於 凱撒勒雅主教的權下,但聖人卻認為耶路撒冷應不被包括在內,因為耶京是宗徒之座(Apostolic See),是由宗徒親自建立的聖座之一。因此,當Acacius傳喚聖人出庭備詢時,濟利祿拒絕出席。Acacius在震怒下,便在大會中控 告聖人不服從 教會訓導與販賣教會資產圖利自己的罪名。聖人最後被逐出耶路撒冷城,但稍後即在緩和派的亞略者(Semi-Arians)的協助下獲得平反 (或至少說,這 個平反與他們有所關聯)。他主教任期中的一半歲月都是在流放中度過的,因為前一次的流放事件,後來又再重演了一次,第二次流放的十一年後,聖 人才又回到耶 路撒冷。

 當聖人最後回到耶路撒冷城時,他只發現整城都已被異端、爭論與衝突所分裂,且處處充滿著罪惡,即便聖額我略‧尼沙(St. Gregory of Nyssa)遣人前往協助,也都只是無功而返而已。

 後來,這二位聖人皆參與了在君士坦丁堡舉行的第二屆大公會議,在該處通過並公佈了尼西亞信經的修訂版本。最後,聖人接受了 「consubstantial」的用字,亦即承認基督與天主父乃是同性同體(完全背離亞略否認基督天主性的主張)。有人認為,聖人此舉乃是 認錯的表示 (因為他曾在半亞略主張者的協助下獲得平反,致使有人將其貼上亞略者的標籤),但大公會議的主教們卻讚揚聖人才是正統教義對抗亞略異端的擁護 者。儘管當時 最偉大的正統教義護衛者-聖亞大納削(St. Athanasius)對聖人不甚友善,但他還是稱聖人為:「與我們有相同主張的弟兄,只是在『consubstantial』的用字上有所 不同而已。」

 主後386年,聖人於耶路撒冷過世,享年約七十歲。過世之前,他享有了八年的平靜生活。

 

 事實上,迄今為止,你們仍然留在門外。但願你們不久後都能說:「君王已把我領進祂的宮室。我要喜樂於上主,祂給我穿上了救恩的衣服, 和喜樂的長衣;使我有如頭戴花冠的新郎,有如佩戴珍珠的新娘。」

 願你們眾人的靈魂都純潔無瑕;我不是說你們在蒙受恩寵之前應該如此-這是不可能的,因為你們是為得罪赦而蒙召的。可是,你們的良心在 領受聖寵之後,應該是無可指責的,好能與聖寵合作。

 弟兄們,這的確是件大事!你們應特別加以注意。你們每個人在無數天使面前,都要侍立在天主台前,聖神要在你們的靈魂上蓋上印記,你們 將被錄取,並在偉大君王的軍隊中服務。

 所以,你們應該準備好,整齊打扮;你們要穿上的不是燦爛潔白的衣服,而是你們靈魂的虔誠,和無可指責的良心。

March 18: St. Cyril of Jerusalem (315?-386)

The crises that the Church faces today may seem minor when compared with the threat posed by the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Christ and almost overcame Christinity in the fourth century. Cyril was to be caught up in the controversy, accused (later) of Arianism by St. Jerome, and ultimately vindicated both by the men of his own time and by being declared a Doctor of the Church in 1822. Raised in Jerusalem, well-educated, especially in the Scriptures, he was ordained a priest by the bishop of Jerusalem and given the task of catechizing during Lent those preparing for Baptism and during the Easter season the newly baptized. His Catecheses remain valuable as examples of the ritual and theology of the Church in the mid-fourth century.

There are conflicting reports about the circumstances of his becoming bishop of Jerusalem. It is certain that he was validly consecrated by bishops of the province. Since one of them was an Arian, Acacius, it may have been expected that his “cooperation” would follow. Conflict soon rose between Cyril and Acacius, bishop of the rival nearby see of Caesarea. Cyril was summoned to a council, accused of insubordination and of selling Church property to relieve the poor. Probably, however, a theological difference was also involved. He was condemned, driven from Jerusalem, and later vindicated, not without some association and help of Semi-Arians. Half his episcopate was spent in exile (his first experience was repeated twice). He finally returned to find Jerusalem torn with heresy, schism and strife, and wracked with crime. Even St. Gregory of Nyssa, sent to help, left in despair.

They both went to the (second ecumenical) Council of Constantinople, where the amended form of the Nicene Creed was promulgated. Cyril accepted the word consubstantial (that is, of Christ and the Father). Some said it was an act of repentance, but the bishops of the Council praised him as a champion of orthodoxy against the Arians. Though not friendly with the greatest defender of orthodoxy against the Arians, Cyril may be counted among those whom Athanasius called “brothers, who mean what we mean, and differ only about the word [consubstantial].”

Comment:

Those who imagine that the lives of saints are simple and placid, untouched by the vulgar breath of controversy, are rudely shocked by history. Yet it should be no surprise that saints, indeed all Christians, will experience the same difficulties as their Master. The definition of truth is an endless, complex pursuit, and good men and women have suffered the pain of both controversy and error. Intellectual, emotional and political roadblocks may slow up people like Cyril for a time. But their lives taken as a whole are monuments to honesty and courage.

Quote:

“It is not only among us, who are marked with the name of Christ, that the dignity of faith is great; all the business of the world, even of those outside the Church, is accomplished by faith. By faith, marriage laws join in union persons who were strangers to one another. By faith, agriculture is sustained; for a man does not endure the toil involved unless he believes he will reap a harvest. By faith, seafaring men, entrusting themselves to a tiny wooden craft, exchange the solid element of the land for the unstable motion of the waves. Not only among us does this hold true but also, as I have said, among those outside the fold. For though they do not accept the Scriptures but advance certain doctrines of their own, yet even these they receive on faith” (Catechesis V).

Eucharist quotes (3/18 St. Cyril of Jerusalem)

"Once by his own will, he changed water into wine at Cana of Galilee; is he not worthy of belief when he changes wine into His Blood?..."

"`I have received of the Lord that which I also delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread, etc. [1 Cor. 11:23]’. This teaching of the Blessed Paul is alone sufficient to give you a full assurance concerning those Divine Mysteries, which when ye are vouchsafed, ye are of (the same body) [Eph 3:6] and blood with Christ. For he has just distinctly said, (That our Lord Jesus Christ the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks He broke it, and said, Take, eat, this is My Body: and having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, Take, drink, this is My Blood.) [1 Cor. 2:23-25] Since then He Himself has declared and said of the Bread, (This is My Body), who shall dare to doubt any longer? And since He has affirmed and said, (This is My Blood), who shall ever hesitate, saying, that it is not His blood?" (Catechetical Lectures 22, Mystagogic 4, 1)

“Do not, therefore, regard the Bread and the Wine as simply that; for they are, according to the Master’s declaration, the Body and Blood of Christ. Even the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm..... Having learned these things, and being fully convinced that the apparent Bread is not bread, even though it is sensible to the taste, but the Body of Christ; and that the apparent Wine is not wine, even though the taste would have it so,....”

"Therefore with fullest assurance let us partake as of the Body and Blood of Christ: for in the figure of Bread is given to you His Body, and in the figure of Wine His Blood; that by partaking of the body and blood of Christ you become one body and one blood with him. In such a way you become bearers of Christ, his body and blood spread through your limbs. In this way you become, in the words of St. Peter, 'partakers of the divine nature' (2 Peter 1:4)." (Catechetical Lectures 22, Mystagogic 4, 3)

“These things having learnt, and being fully persuaded that what seems bread is not bread, though bread by taste, but the Body of Christ; and that what seems wine is not wine, though the taste will have it so, but the Blood of Christ; and that of this David sung of old, saying, (And bread which strengths man’s heart, and oil to make his face to shine) [Ps. 104:15], `strengthen your heart’, partaking thereof as spiritual, and `make the face of thy soul to shine’. And so having it unveiled by a pure conscience, may uou behold as in a glass the glory of the Lord, and proceed from glory to glory [2 Cor. 3:18], in Christ Jesus our Lord:--To whom be honor, and might, and glory, forever and ever. Amen.” (Mystagogic Catechesis 4,1, c. 350 A.D.)

“Then upon the completion of the spiritual Sacrifice, the bloodless worship, over the propitiatory victim we call upon God for the common peace of the Churches, for the welfare of the world, for kings, for soldiers and allies, for the sick, for the afflicted; and in summary, we all pray and offer this Sacrifice for all who are in need.” (Mystagogic Catechesis 23: 5-7)

“Then we make mention also of those who have already fallen asleep: first, the patriarchs, prophets, Apostles, and martyrs, that through their prayers and supplications God would receive our petition; next, we make mention also of the holy fathers and bishops who have already fallen asleep, and, to put it simply, of all among us who have already fallen asleep; for we believe that it will be of very great benefit of the souls of those for whom the petition is carried up, while this holy and most solemn Sacrifice is laid out.” (Mystagogic Catechesis 23, Mystagogic 5, 10)

“After this you hear the singing which invites you with a divine melody to the Communion of the Holy Mysteries, and which says, ‘Taste and see that the Lord is good.’ Do not trust to the judgment of the bodily palate - no, but to unwavering faith. For they who are urged to taste do not taste of bread and wine, but to the antitype, of the Body and Blood of Christ.” (Mystagogic Catecheses 5 23, 20 ca. 350 A.D.)

“Keep these traditions inviolate, and preserve yourselves from offenses. Do not cut yourselves off from Communion, do not deprive yourselves, through the pollution of sins, of these Holy and Spiritual Mysteries.” (Mystagogic Catechesis 23, Mystagogic 5, 23)

3月18日:聖嘉俾額爾總領天使 Apparition of St. Gabriel The Archangel

﹝希伯來文,意指〝天主的人〞﹞

 聖嘉俾額爾總領天使顯示給達尼爾先知﹝達8:16;9:21﹞,派遣去見聖婦依撒伯爾的丈夫匝加利亞,宣佈聖若翰洗者的誕生,派遣去 見聖母瑪利亞宣告我們的救主的來臨﹝路1:18-26﹞

3月19日:大聖若瑟(聖母淨配)(節日) St. Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary

 除了聖母之外,大聖若瑟是耶穌在世上最愛的人,因為他是耶穌虔誠的保護者。如孝子一般,耶穌曾常敬服地聽他的命。這就是信徒特別恭敬 大聖若瑟的緣故。

 大聖若瑟是聖教會的主保,也是中國的主保。聖教會也把他選定為臨終、聖家、聖召、潔德、勞工的主保。這是給我們說明大聖若瑟轉求的能 力很大,我們應常多依靠他。在他瞻禮日我們可將自己的工作、家庭完全奉獻給他,求他的大能庇蔭、降福及轉求。

向大聖若瑟學習

 在所有關於聖若瑟的記載中,最為我們所熟悉的就是:聖瑪利亞因聖神而受孕後聖若瑟的疑惑以及因聖神的啟導而接受這一切的事實,在這些 記載中我們可以向聖若瑟學習的至少有下列三點:

﹝1﹞聖若瑟的謙虛,在所有四部福音中有關聖苦瑟的記載都是非常的少的,即使有記載聖若瑟的表現也多半是說明聖若瑟是一個沈默寡言,態 度也多半是忍 辱負重,言辭也多半是謙和恭敬的人,這些在在的除了顯示聖若瑟的身份所給予他的謙虛之外,更重要的是因?聖神的充滿而使得一個人的內在有了完 全的充實,因 而在他的外在表現上他似乎不需要依賴世俗的名利及虛禮來陳現他的禮貌;另一方面他的謙虛還是因為他是天主子的在世父親,他瞭解這一個任務的沈 重不是一個凡 夫俗子所可以承擔的,當他接受了做瑪利亞的丈夫時,他也同時接受了做天主子在世父親的責任,這一個責任使他瞭解人是無法完全承擔起來的,他除 了謙虛的承接 天使的託付、聖母的信賴外,他祗有以他有限的責任及謙虛讓天主來領導這一個家庭及完成這一個使命。

﹝2﹞聖若瑟的毅力,耶穌在世的使命不是一個簡單的使命,更不是一般人所能理解的困難,從耶穌的出生開始,誕生在牛棚中時就要忍受世俗 人奇異的眼 光,雖然有牧童的朝拜,東方三賢的敬禮,但更多的時候恐怕都是輕視或是奇特的眼光,而聖母產後的虛弱可能是更增加聖若瑟的焦慮,使他急於能為 這一對母子尋 找一個可以遮風避雨的所在,但是客觀環境的不許可,使他的心有外人所無法描述的辛苦及難受,而這些聖若瑟似乎都堅忍的忍了下來;而更不幸的卻 是在小耶穌生 後沒有幾天因著黑落總的恐懼而必須逃亡埃及,從伯利恆到埃及是一條相當長的路程;我們可以想像在以色列的冬天,天寒冬凍、單薄的衣服、簡單的 行裝、一步一 步的走到埃及,聖經上雖然沒有描述聖若瑟一家人走了多久才到埃及,在埃及待了多少天才回到拿匝勒,但以常理及聖若瑟的貧窮來衡量這一段時光, 顯然不是一段 甚麼愉快的時光,但聖若瑟以「冬天飲冰水,點滴在心頭」的心情及毅力來承受這一段時光。

﹝3﹞聖若瑟的修行、根据聖經的簡單描述中,我們可以想像下列的幾種情況來看看聖若瑟如何在人間來修行:首先是若瑟的貧窮及他的職業, 其次是以若瑟 的年齡居然要娶一個如花似玉的、家教又好的年輕小姐,再其次他必須忍受他人異樣的眼光,那就是他那未過門的妻子居然懷了孕,這是一種甚麼樣的 羞辱呀!他怎 麼可能會沒有一般人的想法呢?但因著天使的告知,他可以接受這樣的情況,甚至以他的生命來踐履他的諾言,力行他對家庭的責任及義務,這是一個 多麼大的修行 呀!在人間我們所有看到的修行榜樣中完全看不到這一種典範,即使在舊約的約伯也不如聖若瑟的情況,聖若瑟的修行不祗是一個將已有的完全奉獻出 來,也不是一 個把尚未有的也奉獻出來,而是把自己的「無知」完全的奉獻出來,這裡所謂的「無知」,不但包括了自己不懂的、懂不透的、甚至還包括了以為自己 懂的都奉獻出 來,這種完全的承行、完全的奉獻才是修行中最深刻、最深層、最能契合上主旨意的修行。聖若瑟的一生不但充滿了焦慮、隱痛、嘲笑,甚至還充滿了 貧窮及完全的 不確定感,但聖若瑟如何成為人間的楷模呢?耶穌眼中慈父、瑪利亞眼中的良夫、天主眼中的至寶?就是他的謙虛、毅力及修行使他贏得了永恆的冠 冕。

 天使顯現給他說:「達味之子若瑟,不要怕娶你的妻子瑪利亞,因為在她內受生的,是出於聖神。她要生一個兒子,你要給他起名叫耶穌,因 為他要把自己的民族,由他們的罪惡中拯救出來。」﹝瑪1: 20 – 21﹞

 大聖若瑟在教會內不屬很重要的人物,卻是很受人尊重的大聖人。他的不凡處就是無私地完成天主交托給他的使命,為瑪利亞及主耶穌營造一 健康、安穩的 家,好讓主耶穌能健康、愉快地成長。沒有聖若瑟的合作,在當時父系為主的社群內,由聖神受孕的瑪利亞及無父的主耶穌生活,將會受到歧視及排 斥,聖若瑟就是 忠誠地為他們預備了這一個平凡的家,一個充滿主愛及愛主的家。大聖若瑟的偉大就在於忠信地完成了天主交託給他的事,讓主耶穌能在普通的家庭下 健康愉快地成 長。

 當我們要把事情交托給一個人去處理時,我們必定要對這人有很強的信任,相信他必能完成才會放心交托給他。天主信賴聖若瑟因為他本來就 是一位義人, 意即善良、正直、虔誠,忠於守法的人。他的這特質從天主揀選他的一刻開始,直到生命的終結從未變改,他是主耶穌在世的鞠養之父,是天主忠信的 合作者。

 聖若瑟值得我們學習的,就是他願意跟天主合作完成天父交給托他的使命。將自己交托在主的手是信德的高峰。在人的世界內婚姻聖事也是一 種交托,婚姻 是天主所祝福的聖事,二人要在愛中將自己完全交托,相互間的愛情,是天主愛的延續,故成為反胦天主對人類絕對和永恆之愛的肖像。夫婦間愛的交 托使他們成為 彼此的助手,無分彼此地成為一體,永遠給合在一起。這愛情得到天主的祝福,更要他們不斷衍生,生育繁殖,充滿大地,治理大地。婚姻的使命是建 立在彼此決定 性地把自己交付給對方的意願上,其目的為活出一個忠貞和傳衍生命的愛情盟約。

聖若瑟將自己交托在主的手裡,天父將愛子耶穌及瑪利亞也交托在他的手裡,兩者的合作使人能體會到主對人的愛是如此無私,救主基督降世祇 為使人能透過祂的救贖重回天主的懷抱。婚姻聖事的交托就是要讓愛不斷延續,在相互交托中以互信及無私的犧牲建立自己的家庭,讓愛不斷繁衍。

大聖若瑟古老禱文

 吁!大聖若瑟,您在天主寶座前對我們的保護是 這樣偉大,有力和迅速,我把所有的旨意和慾望 都交給您。吁!大聖若瑟,藉您有力的轉禱,求 您在我們的主耶穌基督,您的兒子處,為我求得 神形恩寵;藉您的助佑,我可以對您這位最慈愛 的父親獻上感恩和敬禮。吁!大聖若瑟,我常願 默觀您及睡在您手中的小耶穌,當祂在您心旁睡 的時候,我沒膽走近。求您用我的名義擁抱祂, 為我親吻祂的聖容,求祂在我臨終時,送還親吻 給我,大聖若瑟,臨終者的主保,為我等祈。亞孟。

註:這禱文是在公元50年被發現,並在1500年間由教宗贈給將出發到戰場的查理斯皇帝。無論誰唸此經,聽別人為他唸此經,或攜帶此經 者,永不會遇到猝死,不會溺斃,不會被毒害,不會落入敵人手中,不會被火燒傷,亦不會在戰場上戰敗。

為你的任何意向連續九天上午唸此經的。

准 印 者 Most Rev. George W. Ahr, Trenton主教

﹝必定要用信德來祈求﹞

March 19 St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin and Patron of the Universal Church.

ST. JOSEPH was by birth of the royal family of David, but was living in humble obscurity as a carpenter when God raised him to the highest sanctity, and fitted him to be the spouse of His Virgin Mother, and foster-father and guardian of the Incarnate Word. Joseph, says the Holy Scripture, was a just man; he was innocent and pure, as became the husband of Mary; he was gentle and tender, as one worthy to be named the father of Jesus; he was prudent and a lover of silence, as became the master of the holy house; above all, he was faithful and obedient to divine calls. His conversation was with angels rather than with men. When he learned that Mary bore within her womb the Lord of heaven, he feared to take her as his wife; but an angel bade him fear not, and all doubts vanished. When Herod sought the life of the divine Infant, an angel told Joseph in a dream to fly with the Child and His Mother into Egypt. Joseph at once arose and obeyed. This sudden and unexpected flight must have exposed Joseph to many inconveniences and sufferings in so long a journey with a little babe and a tender virgin, the greater part of the way being through deserts and among strangers; yet he alleges no excuses; nor inquires at what time they were to return. St. Chrysostom observes that God treats thus all His servants, sending them frequent trials to clear their hearts from the rust of self-love, but intermixing seasons of consolation. "Joseph," says he, "is anxious on seeing the Virgin with child; an angel removes that fear. He rejoices at the Child's birth, but a great fear succeeds: the furious king seeks to destroy the Child, and the whole city is in an uproar to take away His life. This is followed by another joy, the adoration of the Magi; a new sorrow then arises: he is ordered to fly into a foreign unknown country, without help or acquaintance." It is the opinion of the Fathers that upon their entering Egypt, at the presence of the child Jesus, all the oracles of that superstitious country were struck dumb, and the statues of their gods trembled and in many places fell to the ground. The Fathers also attribute to this holy visit the spiritual benediction poured on that country, which made it for many ages most fruitful in Saints. After the death of King Herod, of which St. Joseph was informed in another vision, God ordered him to return with the Child and His Mother into the land of Israel, which our Saint readily obeyed. But when he arrived in Judea, hearing that Archelaus had succeeded Herod in that part of the country, and apprehensive that he might be infected with his father's vices, he feared on that account to settle there, as he would otherwise probably have done for the education of the Child; and therefore, being directed by God in another vision, he retired into the dominions of Herod Antipas, in Galilee, to his former habitation in Nazareth. St. Joseph, being a strict observer of the Mosaic law, in conformity to its direction annually repaired to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. Our Saviour, now int the twelfth year of His age, accompanied His parents thither. Having performed the usual ceremonies of the feast,they were returning with many of their neighbors and acquaintance towards Galilee; and never doubting but that Jesus was with some of the company, they travelled on for a whole day's journey before they discovered that He was not with them. But when night came on and they could hear no tidings of Him among their kindred and acquaintance, they, in the deepest affliction, returned with the utmost speed to Jerusalem. After an anxious search of three days they found Him in the Temple, discoursing with the learned doctors of the law, and asking them such questions as raised the admiration of all that heard Him, and made them astonished at the ripeness of His understanding; nor were His parents less surprised on this occasion. When His Mother told Him with what grief and earnestness they had sought Him, and asked, "Son, why hast Thou thus dealt with us? Behold Thy Father and I sought Thee in great affliction of mind," she received for answer, "How is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?" But though thus staying in the Temple unknown to His parents, in all other things He was obedient to them, returning with them to Nazareth, and there living in all dutiful subjection to them. As no further mention is made of St. Joseph, he must have died before the marriage of Cana and the beginning of our divine Saviour's ministry. We cannot doubt that he had the happiness of Jesus and Mary attending at his death, praying by him, assisting and comforting him in his last moments; whence he is particularly invoked for the great grace of a happy death and the spiritual presence of Jesus in that hour.

Reflection. -St. Joseph, the shadow of the Eternal Father upon earth, the protector of Jesus in His home at Nazareth, and a lover of all children for the sake of the Holy Child, should be the chosen guardian and pattern of every true Christian family.

Prayer to St. Joseph

(This prayer was found in the fiftienth year of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In 1505 it was sent from the Pope to Emperor Charles when he was going into battle. Whoever shall read this prayer or hear it or keep it about themselves, shall never die a sudden death, or be drowned, not shall posion take effect of them; neither shall they fall into the hands of the enemy; or shall be burned in any fire, or shall be overpowered in battle.

Say for nine mornings for what you desire.)

O St. Joseph whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the Throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below your Heavenly power I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the Loving of Fathers. O St. Joseph, I never weary of contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not approach you while He reposes near your heart. Press him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for us. Amen.

3月22日:Bl. Clemens August von Galen (1878-1946)

Bishop of Munster, Germany

Clemens August von Galen was born on 16 March 1878 in Dinklage Castle, Oldenburg, Germany, the 11th of 13 children born to Count Ferdinand Heribert and Elisabeth von Spee.

His father belonged to the noble family of Westphalia, who since 1660 governed the village of Dinklage. For over two centuries his ancestors carried out the inherited office of camerlengo of the Diocese of Münster.

Clemens August grew up in Dinklage Castle and in other family seats. Due to the struggle between Church and State, he and his brothers were sent to a school run by the Jesuits in Feldkirch, Austria.

He remained there until 1894, when he transferred to the Antonianum in Vechta. After graduation, he studied philosophy and theology in Frebur, Innsbruck and Münster, and was ordained a priest on 28 May 1904 for the Diocese of Münster by Bishop Hermann Dingelstadt.

Parish priest, concern for poor

His first two years as a priest were spent as vicar of the diocesan cathedral where he became chaplain to his uncle, Bishop Maximilian Gerion von Galen.

From 1906 to 1929, Fr von Galen carried out much of his pastoral activity outside Münster: in 1906 he was made chaplain of the parish of St Matthias in Berlin-Schönberg; from 1911 to 1919 he was curate of a new parish in Berlin before becoming parish priest of the Basilica of St Matthias in Berlin-Schönberg, where he served for 10 years; here, he was particularly remembered for his special concern for the poor and outcasts.

In 1929, Fr von Galen was called back to Münster when Bishop Johannes Poggenpohl asked him to serve as parish priest of the Church of St Lambert.

“Nec laudibus, nec timore”

In January 1933, Bishop Poggenpohl died, leaving the See vacant. After two candidates refused, on 5 September 1933 Fr Clemens was appointed Bishop of Münster by Pope Pius XI.

On 28 October 1933 he was consecrated by Cardinal Joseph Schulte, Archbishop of Cologne; Bishop von Galen was the first diocesan Bishop to be consecrated under Hitler's regime.

As his motto, he chose the formula of the rite of episcopal consecration: "Nec laudibus, nec timore" (Neither praise nor threats will distance me from God).

Throughout the 20 years that Bishop von Galen was curate and parish priest in Berlin, he wrote on various political and social issues; in a pastoral letter dated 26 March 1934, he wrote very clearly and critically on the "neopaganism of the national socialist ideology".

Due to his outspoken criticism, he was called to Rome by Pope Pius XI in 1937 together with the Bishop of Berlin, to confer with them on the situation in Germany and speak of the eventual publication of an Encyclical.

On 14 March 1937 the Encyclical "Mit brennender Sorge" (To the Bishops of Germany: The place of the Catholic Church in the German Reich) was published. It was widely circulated by Bishop von Galen, notwithstanding Nazi opposition.

“Lion of Munster”

In the summer of 1941, in answer to unwarranted attacks by the National Socialists, Bishop von Galen delivered three admonitory sermons between July and August. He spoke in his old parish Church of St Lambert and in Liebfrauen-Ueberlassen Church, since the diocesan cathedral had been bombed.

In his famous speeches, Bishop von Galen spoke out against the State confiscation of Church property and the programmatic euthanasia carried out by the regime.

The clarity and incisiveness of his words and the unshakable fidelity of Catholics in the Diocese of Münster embarrassed the Nazi regime, and on 10 October 1943 the Bishop's residence was bombed. Bishop von Galen was forced to take refuge in nearby Borromeo College.

From 12 September 1944 on, he could no longer remain in the city of Münster, destroyed by the war; he left for the zone of Sendenhorst.

In 1945, Vatican Radio announced that Pope Pius XII was to hold a Consistory and that the Bishop of Münster was also to be present.

Creation of a Cardinal

After a long and difficult journey, due to the war and other impediments, Bishop von Galen finally arrived in the "Eternal City". On 21 February 1946 the Public Consistory was held in St Peter's Basilica and Bishop von Galen was created a Cardinal.

On 16 March 1946 the 68-year-old Cardinal returned to Münster. He was cordially welcomed back by the city Authorities and awarded honorary citizenship by the burgomaster.

On the site of what remained of the cathedral, Cardinal von Galen gave his first (and what would be his last) discourse to the more than 50,000 people who had gathered, thanking them for their fidelity to the then-Bishop of Münster during the National Socialist regime. He explained that as a Bishop, it was his duty to speak clearly and plainly about what was happening.

No one knew that the Cardinal was gravely ill, and when he returned to Münster on 19 March 1946 he had to undergo an operation.

Cardinal von Galen died just three days later, on 22 March. He was buried on 28 March in the Ludgerus Chapel, which has become a place of pilgrimage to this defender of the faith in the face of political oppression.

3月23日:聖多利坡(道斌) St. Turibius of Bongrovejo

(1538-1606)

主保:拉丁美洲主教

 為「新大陸」來說,聖人與利馬的聖女羅撒(St. Rose of Lima),是最早為人所知的聖人,他們一同在南美洲的秘魯服事天主達26年之久。聖人誕生於1538年11月16日的西班牙 (Mayorga, León, Spain),在法律方面受過極好的教育,後來成了一位名聞遐邇的學者,並在撒萊芒加大學(University of Salamanca)擔任法學教授;爾後,甚至以平信徒的身份成為格蘭納達(Granada)教會法庭的首席判長,在事業上可謂是非常的成 功。儘管聖人自 幼即已被奉獻為司鐸,但他個人卻無成為一位神父的計畫。

 當西班牙殖民地 - 祕魯的利馬總主教職位懸缺之時,聖人便被西班牙國王菲力浦二世指定為該職缺的繼任者。聖人起先對此指派極為抗拒,並援引法典說明平信徒不堪擔 當此職的原 因,但抗議卻遭到駁回。為此,聖人後來便被祝聖為司鐸,並在1581年5月24日以主教的身分被遣往祕魯。這便開始了他在秘魯為印地安人宣講 福音,並為他 們爭取權益的事業。聖人剛抵達秘魯之時,便發現該地殖民主義的醜態已達至頂峰,但他強烈的人格特質與聖善的靈魂,卻有效地消弭了該地區不斷蔓 延開來的醜 聞。

 當時,祕魯殖民地的總督對印地安原住民所採取的是高壓控制的手段,因此在每一件事上,印地安人都遭到奴役般的不平對待;更有甚者,當 地神職人員的 濫權現象極為普遍,許多醜事幾乎是明目張膽而為的。為此,聖人在該地所致力的第一件事,便是革新這類的亂象,賦予他所屬的教區一個清新的面 貌。

 為能順利了解民情,並重整該地的亂象,聖人在偌大的教區中,開始他漫長與艱辛的探訪旅程;他開始學習當地的不同語言,並在每一處停留 二至三天,停 留之處往往沒有食物與床鋪能好好休憩。在18000平方英哩的教區範圍裡,第一次探訪的旅程,就花了聖人約七年的時間。然而,他任內便以此大 無畏的精神探 訪全教區達三次之多。他每早起床,都先與該堂司鐸辦理告解,而後以極大的熱誠舉行彌撒聖祭。在那些從聖人手中領受堅振聖事的人當中,有利馬的 聖女羅撒 (St. Rose of Lima)、聖若望馬西亞斯(St. John Massias)、聖方濟索拉努斯(St. Francis Solanus),波瑞的聖馬爾定(St. Martin de Porres)或許也是其中之一。1590年後,聖人才獲得聖方濟索拉努斯的協助,成為他在教務上得力的助手。

 聖人的羊群們儘管非常貧窮,但卻生性敏感,向來不願接受公開的接濟。聖人便以匿名援助的方式來解決此一困境。後來,聖人陸續地在該地 興建學校、聖堂、醫院,並成立了美洲的第一座修道院。

 在不斷地操勞與繁忙的牧靈工作下,聖人終於在帕卡斯馬約(Pacasmayo)病倒,然而他卻堅持完成自己的工作。當他抵達預定行程 之一的森塔 (Santa)時,聖人幾乎已呈瀕死的狀態。他拖曳著自己的身軀走到了祭台,在那領受了聖體後,全人已燈枯油盡了。於是,他將自己的隨身之物 留給了僕人 們,並將剩餘的財物分給了窮人後,便在1606年的3月27日辭世了。

 1679年的6月28日,教宗依諾森十一世(Innocent XI)宣佈他為真福品;1726年時,教宗本篤十三世(Benedict XIII)將其列為聖品。過去在拉丁美洲,聖人的敬禮是在4月27日隆重舉行,但當他的慶日被列在普世教會的年曆裡時,就改以3月23日來紀 念這位南美洲 的傳教先驅了。

 在聖像中,聖人常被描繪成一位跪在祭台階梯前的主教,身旁圍繞著許多的天使。聖道斌是拉丁美洲主教的主保。

3月25日:預報救 主降生 (聖母領報)(節日) Annunciation of the The Lord

 如本慶節適逢主日,則改於三月廿六日慶祝。

 如三月廿五日適逢聖週,本瞻禮便移至復活節的八日慶期後舉行。

 舊稱聖母領報瞻禮,紀念天使報喜,聖子因聖神降孕於瑪利亞胎中。

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 聖母領報瞻禮,是紀念當年加俾額爾天神向聖母瑪利亞預報天主聖子降生爲人的大喜訊。 天主的聖意,要頒賜一個救主給世界,一個贖罪的犧牲給罪人。天主聖子取了人的性體,祂同時是真天主,也是真人。 祂爲了世人的罪受苦受難,死在十字架上,以滿足天主的公義。

 天主聖神,不僅用奇妙的神工,使聖子降孕瑪利亞的淨胎,也使瑪利亞的靈魂,滿被聖寵。 所以加俾額爾天神,一見聖母,第一句話就說:「萬福,滿被聖寵者。」

 我們看看聖母是多麽謙遜。她絕不因她的卓越地位,而感到驕傲。她認爲一切奇恩殊寵,都出自天主所賜。 她獲悉了天主奇妙偉大的救世計劃,就謙恭地表示同意道:「主的婢女在此,請照您的話在我身上完成吧!」

 這 一刹那,為前古後今的普世萬民,是一個決定性的時刻。整個世界的命運都繫於聖母的答話。 假如那時聖母對天主聖子降孕的計劃,不肯表示同意,該發生什麽嚴重 的後果? 可是聖母同意了,就在她口中說出「請……完成吧」一語的時候,亙古以來,天主向人類預許的諾言,萬民翹望的救贖計劃,就在這時候開始實現。 就在那 時候,「天主聖子降生為人,天主第二位聖子,取了人的性體。人類有了救星了,由罪惡中解放出來。 天主特選瑪利亞,與這偉大的救贖計劃合作。

 耶 穌聖誕週期的計算,也以聖母領報瞻禮為出發點。 我們如以三月廿五日爲聖子降孕聖母淨胎的瞻禮日期,那麽,耶穌聖誕的瞻禮日期就應當是十二月廿五日了。 耶穌 誕生後第八日受割損禮,所以耶穌受割損禮瞻禮的日期應當是一月一日,聖母獻耶穌於主堂瞻禮日期應當是二月二日, 也就是牧童往白冷朝拜聖嬰後的第四十天。

 此外,既然在聖母領報的時候,聖婦依撒伯爾(聖若翰的母親)已懷孕六個月,那麼,聖若翰誕生的日期,應在六月底以前。

 本瞻禮在西方教會,係於第七世紀開始,東方的教會則在第五世紀開始。 按每年將臨期內四季齋期的瞻禮四,我們已照例紀念著這瞻禮的奧義。 但聖教會又特定本日為聖母領報瞻禮,囑信友慶祝,因為本日與耶穌聖誕瞻禮相距恰為九個月。