日历

十二月纪念的圣人

12/1 Bl. Charles de Faucauld

(1858 to 1916) Martyr, Religious Priest

Charles de Foucauld (Brother Charles of Jesus) was born in Strasbourg, France on September 15th, 1858. Orphaned at the age of six, he and his sister Marie were raised by their grandfather in whose footsteps he followed by taking up a military career.

He lost his faith as an adolescent. His taste for easy living was well known to all and yet he showed that he could be strong willed and constant in difficult situations. He undertook a risky exploration of Morocco (1883-1884). Seeing the way Muslims expressed their faith questioned him and he began repeating, “My God, if you exist, let me come to know you.”

On his return to France, the warm, respectful welcome he received from his deeply Christian family made him continue his search. Under the guidance of Fr. Huvelin he rediscovered God in October 1886. He was then 28 years old. “As soon as I believed in God, I understood that I could not do otherwise than to live for him alone.”

A pilgrimage to the Holy Land revealed his vocation to him: to follow Jesus in his life at Nazareth.He spent 7 years as a Trappist, first in France and then at Akbès in Syria. Later he began to lead a life of prayer and adoration, alone, near a convent of Poor Clares in Nazareth.

Ordained a priest at 43 (1901) he left for the Sahara, living at first in Beni Abbès and later at Tamanrasset among the Tuaregs of the Hoggar. He wanted to be among those who were, “the furthest removed, the most abandoned.” He wanted all who drew close to him to find in him a brother, “a universal brother.” In a great respect for the culture and faith of those among whom he lived, his desire was to “shout the Gospel with his life”. “I would like to be sufficiently good that people would say, “If such is the servant, what must the Master be like?”

On the evening of December 1st 1916, he was killed by a band of marauders who had encircled his house.

He had always dreamed of sharing his vocation with others: after having written several rules for religious life, he came to the conclusion that this “life of Nazareth” could be led by all. Today the “spiritual family of Charles de Foucauld” encompasses several associations of the faithful, religious communities and secular institutes for both lay people and priests.

Source: http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/saints/ns_lit_doc_20051113_de-foucauld_en.htm

Eucharist quotes (12/1 Bl. Charles de Faucauld)

Jesus speaking to Blessed Charles - “In my unimaginable goodness, I did not merely give myself to you at my birth for a few hours or years: I am still in your hands, and shall be henceforth until the end of the world. Think of the unending good fortune I brought you in my birth: the ability to serve me—to serve me by serving your neighbor, to serve me myself, living there near you in the tabernacle. Not only can you serve me, you can also console me… How happy you should be to be able to console me at every moment of your lives! By becoming so small, so gentle a child, I was crying out to you: Have trust! Come close to me! Do not be afraid of me, come to me, give me what children need: loving embraces. Do not be afraid, do not be so frightened in the presence of such a gentle baby, smiling at you and holding out his arms to you. He is your God, but he is all smiles and gentleness. Do not be afraid”

“What a tremendous delight, my God! To spend fifteen hours without anything else to do but look at You and tell You, 'Lord I love You!' Oh what sweet delight!”

“The goal of every human life should be the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.”

12/1 Ven. Leo Dupont

(1806 to 1876) known as Apostle of The Holy Face

Leo Dupont was no ordinary man. God was first in his life. He was a man of prayer who had a wonderful devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus. Leo was also a very wealthy gentleman who was generous with his money and not selfish and greedy like so many rich people are.

Mme. Dupont came from a very noble and wealthy family. She married a very wealthy man named Nicholas Dupont and their marriage was blessed with two sons; Leo born in 1797, and Theobald born in 1801. But Mr. Dupont was not long for this world and he died in 1805, when his wife was only twenty two years old.

Not one to despair, Mme. Dupont rolled up her sleeves and put her best foot forward. She now had to put all her efforts into raising her boys, Leo aged eight and Theobald aged four. She was a very devout Catholic and instilled into her children a great love for virtue and a strong Catholic Faith.

Leo went to the village school in Martinique, a French Colony where the Duponts lived. He was a very honest and upright student. One day when his teacher Mr. Rochelle left the classroom for a short period, the boys started shouting and laughing and whistling. Mr. Rochelle heard the noise and returned asking who the rowdy boys were. Leo Dupont was the only boy who stood up and confessed to his teacher that he was the guilty one but all the other boys were too ashamed to admit that they were also to blame.

When Leo finished his studies at the village school, his mother sent him to the United States. The horrible French Revolution was raging and there was too much religious persecution going on in Paris. Mme. Dupont wanted Leo to have the freedom to practice his Catholic Faith. His stay in America was short, and two years later he returned to Pontlevoy, France to continue his studies.

In 1815, when Leo had finished his studies, he returned to Martinique to visit his mother. She was now married to Mr. Arnaud, a wealthy land owner. Leo was now twenty one years old. He was a real gentleman, handsome and well mannered. Mme. and Mr. Arnaud wanted to send Leo and Theobald to Paris, to continue their studies. But before leaving, Leo's mother warned him, “Leo my son, you are heir to half a million dollars and it is a grave responsibility but also a great privilege. You can use your fortune well, or you can use it wrongly. Remember God gave you life and an immortal soul and He will exact from you a strict account on the day you die!”

The two boys arrived in Paris and rented an apartment from a well known friend. Leo continued his studies in Law and Theobald continued his regular schooling. Because Leo was so well mannered, his friends called him, “The Marquis of Politeness.”

In Paris, many people were living sinful lives and without the grace of God, Leo would have been swept downstream with them. But God was watching over him and one day the young man received a very special grace. Leo had hired a boy to look after his horse. One day the boy arrived late saying that a man named Bordier had been teaching him Catechism lessons in a church basement. Leo checked out the situation and found Bordier instructing many boys. He became a good friend of Bordier and helped him to take care of the young boys.

When Leo finished his Law studies, he returned to Martinique, where he was appointed to the Royal Court. He was now twenty four and continued his works of piety and charity, just as he had done in Paris. His brother Theobald died and he was greatly saddened.

Soon after on May 29, 1827, Leo married a good Catholic girl named Caroline d'Andiffredi. They bought a place in St. Pierre and finally after five years they had a little baby girl and named her Henrietta. The happy couple were filled with joy but this joy did not last long. In less than one year after the birth of Henrietta, Caroline died. She had never been too strong and her death was a heavy cross for poor Leo.

Before long, Leo went back to France with his mother, now a widow again, and his little girl. This time he settled in a house in Tours, on St. Etienne St. He had promised his wife that he would send Henrietta to the school run by the Ursulines Sisters in Tours. Leo was very humble and did not care what people thought of him when he practiced his Catholic Faith openly. He would serve Mass and take part in other religious events. He went to Mass and Communion almost every day. He loved to talk about the Catholic Faith and he encouraged Protestants, pagans and fallen away Catholics to believe in the Blessed Sacrament.

One day in 1837, Leo gazed upon a holy picture of St. Teresa of Avila and suddenly realized that it was necessary to do penance in his life, and not waste his time riding and hunting. So as a penance, in reparation for the sacrileges committed by the Masons and Revolutionaries, Leo would often visit and pray at the broken down churches, which had been destroyed or abused. Later on he wrote a book on the various shrines of Our Lady, scattered throughout the world. This book caused many people to go on pilgrimages again, as they had done many years ago. Leo joined the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Tours, and became one of their great apostles. He gave this Society large sums of money, visited people and taught evening classes to workers and soldiers. Leo also provided amusement for his pupils and worked in a great amount of religious instruction when teaching his pupils, bringing many back to the practice of their religion.

Blasphemy and using God's name in vain, was a terrible sin being committed at the time by hundreds of people and even little children. Leo joined an association to stamp out blasphemy and handed out pamphlets that promoted this association. He even wrote a Little Office of prayers in honor of the Holy Name of God.

When Our Lady appeared at La Salette in 1846, Leo became a firm believer in the apparition and went there on pilgrimage. During this journey, he stopped in to see the famous Cure of Ars. St. John Vianney was surrounded by crowds of people and had never met Leo, but as soon as he saw this holy man, he went up to him saying, “O my dear friend, how sweet it will be for us to find ourselves in Heaven, singing the praises of God!”

Shortly after his pilgrimage to La Salette, Leo was given a very heavy cross. His daughter became ill with a serious disease that had broken out in the school. She was sent home and died a few days later. Leo was broken hearted at the loss of his only daughter but he was grateful to God. He had often prayed, “O God, if you see that Henrietta will stray from the right path, take her to Yourself rather than let her live.” After the girl's death, Leo lived only for God.

Wherever there was good to be done, Leo was there. He considered it an honor to help the poor, the sick, the prisoners, and anyone who needed help. Many times he would give away all the money he had in his wallet and he even gave away his own clothes.

In February 1849, night adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was started in Tours as a result of the efforts of Leo Dupont. In less than two months Leo had rounded up seventy four men to come and adore the Blessed Sacrament at night, and many of these came to adore after putting in a hard day’s work. Leo also wrote to people in different places and when they decided to set up night adoration, he would go and help them out.

It was Leo's personal desire to see night adoration started everywhere. He said, “When shall we see Our Lord honored day and night in every parish through the Catholic world? I love to cherish the hope!”

On one occasion, Leo had the honor of having three holy persons in his house at the same time: St. Peter Julian Eymard, Fr. Cohen, and Bishop de la Bouillerie, all great apostles of the Holy Eucharist.

St. Martin's Basilica in Tours was destroyed during the French Revolution. It had been dedicated to the great St. Martin, who was once a Roman soldier. He had divided his cloak and gave one half of it to a poor beggar. That same night, Our Lord wearing half the cloak that Martin had given away, appeared to him saying, “Martin, still a catechumen, has covered Me with this garment.” Right after this wonderful event he was baptized. A few years later he left the army and in time became the Bishop of Tours.

Leo made great efforts to have the Basilica of St. Martin rebuilt. He started a charitable society to help clothe the poor and encouraged others to help rebuild the basilica. God blessed the work, and by the end of the 19th century, St. Martin's was completed, a jewel in Leo's heavenly crown!

Mr. Dupont also distributed thousands of St. Benedict medals, and as a sign of respect for the holy Word of God, he had a vigil light burning night and day before his Bible. He also did this as an act of reparation for all the blasphemies committed against the Word of God.

One day Leo learned about the Carmelite Nun, Sr. Mary of St. Peter who had visions of Jesus. Our Lord told her to promote devotion to His Holy Face. At one time Jesus said, “Think of the outrages inflicted on me by the Society of the Communists, the enemies of the Church and of Christ. They have laid their hands upon the anointed of the Lord (priests). But their evil plans are vain and they will fail! I desire the establishment of the Work of Reparation! For it is the Work of Reparation to the Holy Face that will hold back God's justice.”

Always an apostle, Leo made great efforts to spread this devotion. He burned a vigil lamp continuously before a picture of the Holy Face of Jesus (Veronica's Veil), and cured many people of their diseases by having them put this blessed oil on their skin. Thousands of people made pilgrimages to his house and prayed before the picture of Veronica's Veil.

Leo's mother lived with him for many years and died in 1860, when Leo was 62 years old. From 1860 to 1870, he spent all his time before the image of Veronica's Veil; in prayer, in receiving the sick who came to be cured, and in writing letters. During this time he continued to wear a hair shirt under his clothes. He scourged himself almost every day, and sanctified himself by continual prayer and penance.

By 1873, Leo's health was failing. His eyesight was poor and he was unable to leave his room for three years, owing to gout and rheumatism. As his illness increased, he had to give up going to daily Mass and Communion. The Blessed Sacrament was brought to him once a week. He continued to suffer right up until his death on March 18, 1876, at the age of 79.

We should all practice the virtues of Leo Dupont; his Faith, Hope, and Charity, his gentle and apostolic ways, his perseverance in good works, his love for Holy Communion and his devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus. St. Pius X asked that a picture of the Holy Face of Jesus be placed in every Christian home. By this he meant that we should all have devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus. Beg Venerable Leo to help you have devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus and let us all pray that one day we can say, St. Leo Dupont, Pray for Us.

Source: http://www.sspx.ca/EucharisticCrusade/2003_March/Verable_Leo_Dupont.htm

Eucharist quotes (12/1 Ven. Leo Dupont)

Besides promoting devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus Venerable Leo promoted Eucharistic Adoration just as vigorously. In 1849 he helped set up night Eucharistic Adoration in Tours France and had a strong desire that this be established in every parish throughout the world: “When shall we see Our Lord honored day and night in every parish through the Catholic world? I love to cherish the hope!” He often would go and help establish this nocturnal adoration at various parishes.

“How short, above all, seems the (Eucharistic Adoration) hour which has fallen to our lot!...Some (read books) or simply say their rosaries, but the greater number place themselves as suppliants at the feet of our Lord, speak to Him, and receive good thoughts from Him; these last find the hour exceedingly short.”

12月3日:圣方济各• 沙勿 略(司铎)(纪念) St. Francis Xavier

忙碌仍朝拜圣体

圣方济各沙勿略在印度传教时,白天讲道,领洗劝人悔改十分忙碌。到晚上才能跪拜圣体,向耶稣诉心直到天明。

圣方济各沙勿略不少次在分送圣体时,觉得有一种倾向,朝拜手中的圣体,竟致双膝跪下来,就以那种姿态继续送了圣体。

圣方济各生平

 方济各•沙勿略生於一五O六年,原籍西班牙北部诺毕省。十八岁到巴黎读书,入巴巴拉学院。一五二八考取硕士学位。在这里结识了圣依纳 爵。

 一五三四年,以依纳爵为首的第一批耶稣会士七人在蒙马德集合,许愿献身事主。这七人中,圣方济各也在内。三年後,方济各在威尼斯领受 铎品。

 一五四O年,圣依纳爵派方济各随洛德利神父去东印度传教。方济各奉命到里斯本与洛德利会合出发。洛德利那时候寄宿在一家医院,给病人 讲解要 理。 方济各到了里斯本,也住在这家医院里。二人常到城内各区讲道。国王若瑟三世很钦佩这两位传教士的圣德,每星期日就召他们入宫听告解。 结果洛德利被国王苦苦挽留,无法启程。

 一五四一年四月七日( 方济各的生日 )方济各以教宗特使的身份,扬帆启程,前往东印度传教。国君临别依依不舍,送了许多礼物给他。 方济各原物奉还,只收了几本书。人们劝他带一个仆人去,路上方便一些。方济各不肯,他说道: 「一个人必须亲手洗衣服,煮饭烧菜,方能受众人的尊敬。」

 与方济各同船去东印度传教的司铎有二位:意大利籍的保禄神父和葡萄牙籍的马希拉神父。

 方济各搭的那艘船,是东印度总督苏沙的船。苏沙曾到东印度接任,船上有许多船员丶旅客丶士兵。 方济各没有放过传教的机会,他给众人讲解要理,每主日在甲板讲道,侍候病人,将自己的卧室改成诊疗室。 当时,海上风浪很大,方济各常患晕船病,所以他的工作,倍加吃力。 船上的人形形色色,每天有争吵发生,方济各就给他们排解,劝说他们戒绝发虚誓和赌博的恶习。

 在漫长的航程中,几乎全体旅客都患了坏血病。这位耶稣会士一天到晚忙着侍候病人。 经过了五个月的海上生活,船舶绕过了好望角,在莫桑比克过冬,然後绕着东非洲海岸,经过马林田和沙各大,一五四二年五月六日到达果阿。 总计这次的海上航程,历时十三个月。

 果阿自一五一O年由葡萄牙管理,当地教务很发达,有教堂丶有修院。 可是许多人对宗教没有深刻的认识,领圣事不大踊跃。方济各到了果阿,第一件工作是灌输宗教知识,激励教徒热心敬主,过标准教友生活。 他每天上午往医院丶监狱探视病人和囚犯,下午在街头召集儿童和奴仆,给他们讲解要理。他手里拿着一个铃铛,大家一听见铃声,就出来围住他。 方济各就给他们解释信德道理,教他们诵念经文。他每主日召集麻风病人,举行弥撒圣祭。他也向印度人传扬福音。 除了公开讲道外,还常到他们家里作个别访问。

 为了使不识字的文盲易於记忆圣教基本教理,他将要理用通俗的文字编成诗赋体的歌曲,教大家唱。这种新的教授方法,非常成功。 在街头丶在家庭丶在田野丶在工厂,到处都能听到方济各编唱的「要理歌」。

 方济各在果阿住了五个月,就转换目标,开始向巴拉华族传教。 巴拉华族在锡兰附近的宝鱼海岸,大部分都已领洗入教,但对教义一无所知,仍保持着旧日的迷信习惯。 方济各开始学习巴拉华方言,搭船出发,到了宝鱼海岸,一面给已领洗的土人讲道,一面劝化异教徒归正。 异教徒听了他的讲道,纷纷领洗入教,数量庞大。每次方济各付洗完,手臂都酸得提不起来了。方济各在那里显了许多灵迹。

 方济各每到一个地方,就和当地的人过同样的生活。 他吃的食物和穷人完全相同,是清水和粗米,夜间睡在地上。 天主厚赐他丰富的神慰神乐,酬报他的辛劳。 他说:「我常常听见在这葡萄园工作的人(指他自己而言)说道:主呀!请你不要在现世赏赐我这麽多快乐!」

 方济各对巴拉华族传教,收获丰富,超出了一般的理想。不久,他感到人手不足,必须增添工作人员。 他到果阿去请来了两位印度籍司铎,一位辅理修士,还有那位和他同船到达的马希拉神父。

 方济各顺利地对巴拉华族开展传教工作,足迹所到之处,人们成群结队地听他讲道,领洗入教。 方济各常用已领洗的儿童做他的助手,这些儿童常将他们所学习的要理转讲给别人听,这样互相传述,一般人都普遍认识教义的内容。

 方济各最痛心的是:在高木林和杜田,那些接受福音真光的巴拉华人,被邻族攻击,除了财产被洗劫一空外,一部分人还被掳为奴。 有一次方济各手持苦像,单身喝退暴徒。信德的种子深深地种入巴拉华人的心田,任何暴行,任何打击,都不能动摇他们的信仰。

 方济各一面劝化异教徒接受信德的真光,一面劝勉冷淡的教友悔罪改过。他的态度温和而诚恳,很容易感动罪人。

 方济各写信给葡萄牙国王说:「我已准备死在印度,今世不会与陛下见面。请你为我求天主,赏赐我们将来在天国相会。」

 一五四五年春季,方济各启程前往马来亚海峡的马六甲,在那里住了四个月,全力传扬福音。 他又到安波诺丶德诺帝丶祁六禄等地进行传教,一路上遭遇了许多困难。可是方济各有的是勇气和救灵的热火,他勇往直前,什麽都不怕。 他写信给圣依纳爵道:「这几个月来,我遭遇的危险,执行的工作,都给予我很大的神慰神乐。 我到了这些岛上,不禁狂喜流泪,身体越疲劳,到越觉得快乐。」

 十八个月後,方济各回到马六甲,他第一次听到日本的名字。 有几个葡萄牙商人到过日本,他们讲起在海洋的另一端,有这样的一个国家,福音的真光还没有传到。 方济各的脑海里就马上有了远涉重洋,在这块肥沃的土壤上,播撒福音种子的计划。

 一五四八年一月,方济各回到印度。 以後十五个月,他在果阿丶锡兰丶高木林海湾来往,巩固他的传教事业,同时进行前往日本传教的准备工作 (直到那时候,还没有一个欧洲传教士到过日本)。

 一五四九年四月,方济各启程向日本进发,他带了一位耶稣会司铎(多列神父),一位辅理修士(佛南田修士), 和三个日本籍的教徒(其中有一个名叫保禄)。 这年圣母升天瞻礼时,方济各在日本九洲登陆。

 方济各学习了日语,编写了一本日文的要理书。十二个月内,在日本加果劝化了一百多名日本人。 当局对传教士开始注意,禁止他们的活动,方济各将新奉教的人托日籍教徒保禄照管,自己带了别的传教工作人员去长崎一带传扬福音。 方济各临行时,到依喜堡屋,劝化了男爵夫人,男爵府的总管和当地的一些居民。 十二年後,耶稣会辅理修士到依喜探视那些孤独的教友,他们虽然一天到晚在外教圈子内生活,但还是热心保守信德,和十二年前一点也没有变化。

 方济各在喜拉多受到知府的欢迎,传教工作顺利展开。一个星期内的收获比加果一年内的收获还要多。 方济各将本区教务委托多列神父管理,自己带了佛南田辅理修士和一个日本人又到了洪州的斯木。 当地的人对方济各讲道的反映很冷淡,他就决定向京都进发。

 方济各在十二月动身,一路上风雪交加,道路泥泞难行,经过了两个月的旅程,才抵达京都。 可是京都的人民对福音并不表示热烈的欢迎,方济各改变计划,回到了野木和知府磋商。知府特许他城内传教,并拨了一座神庙给他作宿舍。 方济各在野木劝化了许多人领洗入教。

 那时候,有一艘葡萄牙商船到日本九洲,方济各决定搭这艘船回印度视察教务,同时准备来中国传教。 他将日本的教务委托多列神父和佛南田辅理修士管理 (其时,日本教徒的总数达两千人,後来日本大教难期内的殉道者就是他们的後裔),自己返回印度。

 方济各在印度住了四个月,拟定方案,整顿教务。 一五五二年四月二十五日,他又踏上旅程,带领了一名耶稣会司铎,一名修士,一名中国译员到了马六甲。 总督选派毕莱托为驻中国钦使,方济各随同钦使前往中国。这样入境时可以获得便利。不料马六甲的海港司令和毕莱托有宿怨,不准毕莱托搭船出发。 方济各一再解释,海军司令坚决坚持他的决定,最後毕莱托决定放弃到中国的计划,将自己的船借给了方济各。 可是毕莱托既然不去,方济各只能以普通外侨身份来中国。依照当时法例,中国当局严禁普通外侨入境。 方济各决定在中国附近的岛屿上岸,寻找机会偷渡入境。为了减少入境时的困难,方济各将那位耶稣会司铎送往日本, 自己带了中国译员到了上川岛(上川岛距中国大陆海岸仅有六哩,距香港约一百哩),那是一五五二年八月的事。

 在这个荒凉的上川岛上,方济写信给毕莱托说: 「这次我能够到这里,完全靠你的帮助。天主一定要重重地赏报你。」他和一只中国商船商量好,在黑夜带他入境。 方济立誓保守秘密,决不向任何人泄漏他的姓名。 十一月二十一日,方济突发寒热,岛上还有一艘船是马六甲海港司令的,司令和方济的感情不大融合, 船员不敢和方济太接近,以免司令不悦,所以他们就暗暗开船走了,让方济孤零零地躺在海滩上。 时值冬季,朔风怒号,发高热的方济躺在海滩上发抖。 後来有一个葡萄牙商人将圣人接到他的茅屋里去。 方济的病一天比一天重,放了几次血,但丝毫没有效果,有时体温太高,失去知觉。 可是一清醒,他就念经祈祷。这样一直到了十二月三日。那一天是星期六,方济的中国译员安多尼怕他要去世,就点了一支蜡烛,放在他手里。 方济口诵耶稣的圣名,瞑目安逝,享年四十六岁,他在远东传教共十一年,星期日下午安葬了遗体。

 十个星期後,方济各的棺柩从土里掘出。迎往别处安葬时,人们启棺检视,见遗体完整不腐。 人们将方济各的遗体迎到马六甲,数日後,又迎到果阿耶稣堂。经过数百年来的多次检视,方济各的遗体始终没有腐烂。

 方济各•沙勿略於一六二二年与圣依纳爵丶圣女德肋撒丶圣斐理伯•内利丶圣依西多禄等同时荣列圣品。

Eucharist quotes (12/3 St. Francis Xavier)

St. Francis Xavier after preaching and baptizing all day would often spend the night in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.

St Francis Xavier found refreshment in the midst of his many labors in India; for he employed his days in toiling for souls, and his nights in the presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

St. Francis Xavier at times when distributing Holy Communion felt so carried away by a sense of adoration toward Our Lord Who was in his hands, that he got on his knees and in that position continued giving Holy Communion.

12月4日:圣若望.达 玛森 (司铎丶圣师) St. John Damascene

 圣人在第七世纪末出生於大马士革的教友家庭,精通哲学,後在耶路撒冷附近的圣撒巴隐修院做隐修士,并领受铎品;他曾写过许多神学着 作,其中以 维护 圣像敬礼的辩论尤为着名。第八世纪中逝世。

12月4日:圣女芭芭拉 (殉 道) St. Barbara

 圣女芭芭拉的父亲是个残暴的城主,他敬拜邪神,为了强迫女儿背教,而将芭芭拉软禁在塔中。芭芭拉始终坚守信德,她的父亲就向当地官庭 检举。芭 芭拉 因此被逮捕,受了许多酷刑,最後被斩首致命。相传芭芭拉的父亲和当地恶官二人,同时被雷电击毙。所以後世教友奉圣女芭芭拉为避免雷电丶火灾和猝死等不幸事 件的主保圣人。

12/4 St. Clement of Alexandria

(150 to 216)

Titus Flavius Clemens was probably born a pagan in Athens about 150 A.D. He was one of the first great leaders in Christian Africa. After his conversion, he traveled to Italy, Syria and Palestine seeking Christian teachers. He met a most impressive one by the name of Pantaenus in Alexandria, became his pupil, associate and succeeded him as the head of a school for catechumens (converts) by 200 A.D. He speaks of the apostolic tradition he received from his teachers. He had no doubt, known some who recalled Ignatius and Polycarp or perhaps, even some who as children had heard St. John speak of our Lord's commands. He could claim to be in the next succession after the apostles. A persecution by Septimius Severus in about 203 forced him to close the school and flee to Egypt. His writings are the first to discuss the relationship between faith and reason. His great treatises constitute a moral and dogmatic theology as well as an apologetic (defense) of the faith. He died in Cappadocia between 211-216 A.D.

http://www.catholicfaithandreason.org/st-clement-of-alexandria-150-216-ad.htm

12/5 Bl. Nicholas Steno

(1638 to 1686) Italian Priest and father of the field of Geology

Nicholas Steno was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, on January 10, 1638. Bl. Nicolas settled as a young man in the Netherlands, before later moving to Italy. He first pursued his scientific research in northern city of Padua and subsequently in Florence. He also made great contributions to the fields of anatomy and paleontology.

In geology, he is best known for his “principle of original horizontality,” which states that layers of sediment are originally deposited horizontally due to gravity. He also discovered the “law of superposition,” which states that layers of sediment are deposited in such a way that the oldest reside on the bottom and the youngest on the top.

In his diaries Bl. Nicolas recounts how he refused to accept statements from a book and always preferred to undertake his own research. It was this inquisitive mindset that led him to study philosophy, theology and Church history.

On June 24, 1666, in Livorno, Italy, Nicholas Steno received the grace of conversion to the Catholic faith. His biographers wrote, “He observed with curiosity and perplexity the procession for the Feast of Corpus Christi and the fervor around it. The large Piazza d’Armi was bursting with colors and sounds. A loud, prolonged ringing of bells could be heard. The young man was recalling another procession he watched three years before in Lovanio, Belgium, where many students were lined up and dozens of black-robed professors were walking. He could perceive something different here. Maybe it was a sense of joy, a new warm feeling… or maybe his eyes had changed? Long lines of men in white tunics were processing and singing. Gonfalons and banners were swinging in the gentle breeze coming from the sea. Friars and priests were processing too, dressed in their white surplices adorned with laces and fringes. Even more priests were part of the procession, wearing their copes shining in the sun, and children holding incense burners. Finally, a big golden canopy passed by, and under it a minister of the Church, solemnly dressed, absorbed in his thoughts, carrying close to his chest the precious monstrance with the Sacred Host….

“People knelt as the Blessed Sacrament passed by and eyes were sparkling with love as they gazed upon the Host, all heads bowed down in adoration. Petals and flowers were showering from all corners. The young Nicholas Steno spent the whole day with a deep uneasiness in his heart. He remembered the Jesuit priest in Paris with whom he had discussed the Real Presence of Jesus in the consecrated Bread. The Jesuit priest had emphasized the value of Jesus’ words at the Last Supper, ‘This is my Body’, and then St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. That day Nicholas Steno decided to convert to Catholicism. He immediately entered the seminary, and after nine years of study he was ordained a priest. He described his conversion: ‘As soon as I attentively pondered God’s favors to me, these appeared to be so many that I couldn’t help but offer to Him the best of myself and in the best way, from the bottom of my heart… Therefore, having come to know the great dignity of priesthood… I asked and obtained that I may offer the Immaculate Host to the Eternal Father for my good and the good of others.’”

Bl. Nicolas was ordained to the priesthood and became a key figure of the counter-Reformation in the Lutheran regions of northern Germany. He was appointed auxiliary Bishop of Münster in 1680 and died in 1686 at the age of 48. His body was buried back in Florence.

His reputation for piety led to his cause for canonization being opened in 1938.

In 1988, he was declared “blessed” by Pope John Paul II

Sources: http://ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/US.php?id=4649 and www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/english_pdf/Steno.pdf

Eucharist quotes (12/5 Bl. Nicholas Steno)

Blessed Nicholas, in one Eucharistic procession, witnessed such reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament that he not only converted to Catholicism but also became a Priest.

12月6日:圣尼阁主教 (主 教) St. Nicholas of Myra

~343

主保:孩童丶航海员丶陷入困境者丶有需要者

 从圣尼阁倍受世人尊崇的现象可发现:即使圣人们的事迹缺乏史实的佐证,其受欢迎的程度,也不致受到影响。对於这位圣人,东丶西方教会 都给予极 高的 尊崇;并且,在基督教的艺术中,他是继圣母之後,出现在圣艺中最多的圣人。然而,就史实而言,我们只知道他是一位里溪亚的弥肋城(Myra, Lycia, 即今日土耳其地区)主教,生活於第四世纪。

 圣人约在第四世纪时,诞生在一处名为帕塔拉(village of Patara)的村庄,即今日的土耳其南岸。其家境非常富有,但父母却将其教养成一位虔敬的基督徒;後来,圣人的双亲都因瘟疫而过世。於是,年轻的尼阁, 为了遵守耶稣的教诲:「变卖你的财产,并分施给穷人」,便将所有的遗产,都用来賙济有需要之人,特别是病人与受苦之人。自此,他将自己的生命全奉献给了天 主,後来还成了弥肋城的主教。很快地,他对有需要之人的慷慨便已名闻遐迩,特别是他对孩童的爱,以及对船员的关切。

 在罗马皇帝打压基督徒的时代里,圣人亦因信仰而遭到迫害,甚至惨遭流放与囚禁;整座监狱里,全是主教丶司铎与执事,反而没有空间容纳 真正的罪 犯。 获释後,圣人参加了主後325年所召开的尼西亚大公会议(Council of Nicaea)。最後,343年的12月6日,於弥肋城自己的主教座堂里过世。该处有个被称为玛纳(manna)的特殊圣髑,构成了圣人的坟墓;那是一种 液态的物质,据说有特殊的医疗效能,这使得圣人的敬礼大为广传。後来,他过世的日子就成了纪念日,被称为「圣尼阁日」。数世纪以来,关於圣人的故事与传奇 从未间断过。这些故事能帮助我们了解他那不寻常的人格特质,以及他为何如此受人爱戴与尊崇的原因。

 有个传奇就这样描述:有位穷人,他有三个女儿。按当时习俗,父亲嫁女儿时,应提供有价值的财物作为女儿的嫁妆;价值越高,就越能为女 儿找到好 的丈 夫;若无,则根本不可能结婚。这位穷人的女儿因无嫁妆,因此注定是要被卖作奴隶了。就在这位父亲一愁莫展之际,奇迹出现了,因为三个女儿分别在出嫁前,都 各有一袋金币出现在家里,解决了无嫁妆的窘迫。据说,金币都是在柴火熄灭前,从打开的窗口掷入家中的,且被放在长袜或是靴子里。这後来就成了小孩在圣诞夜 里,在窗边悬挂长袜,期待圣诞老人馈赠礼物的典故。有时候,传奇中的故事内容会以金球取代金币,这也是为何现代的圣诞布置中,会有金球或橘子悬挂其上的原 因。橘子,後来也成了圣人的象徵之一;圣尼阁也因此成了礼物的施予者。

 另个故事则说道:有三个神学生,在前往雅典学习的途中,被一位邪恶的客栈老板所劫掠,最後惨遭杀害,并被藏在一个大型的木桶里。一 次,圣尼阁 主教 正好途经该处,并在该客栈中歇脚。当晚,他便梦到整个犯案的过程,於是便起身质问老板。这三位年轻人後来在圣人热切的祈祷中复活了,并且恢复了健康。在法 国,这故事的情节有些更动,三位年轻人成了三个孩童,他们在戏耍中迷了路,後来被一位邪恶的肉贩所拐骗。圣人出现後祈求上主,便恢复了孩童的生命,并将他 们送回家里。为此,圣人又是小孩的主保与保护者。

 另有许多圣人的传奇与海有关。圣人年轻时曾去圣地朝圣,他试图藉由行走耶稣曾走过的道路,来更深地体验耶稣的生命丶苦难与复活。当他 循海路回 程 时,途中船只遭到风暴的侵袭,圣人沉着祈祷。结果,众水手对风浪瞬间的止息都大感惊奇。为此,圣人也是水手或是航海员的主保。

 其他的故事,则诉说着圣人如何在饥荒中救灾,以及在不义的控诉中,如何拯救无辜者的事迹。他时常为善不欲人知,也从不求回报,因此圣 人常被视 为是 陷入困境者或有需要者的主保。数世纪以来,圣人依然广受天主教丶东正教,甚至是基督新教的教友所尊崇;因着他对有需要之人的慷慨,特别是对孩童的关爱,他 一直都是善度爱德生活者的榜样。

12月7日:圣安博(主教丶圣师)(纪念) St. Ambrose

主教丶圣师

 一位圣安博传记的作者曾这样说道:「在最後审判时,所有人都将被分成二边:一边是欣赏圣安博者;另一边则是由衷厌恶他的人。」圣人就 是那种会 在他 所身处的时代中,在人与人之间划下「界线」的行动者;即便是再尊贵的人物,也会在圣安博的面前,崩溃於神圣的审判之下的。圣人约在主後的340年,诞生於 义大利的特里尔城(Trier),父母皆是皈依基督信仰的贵族。相传,当圣人还在襁褓之时,有一天,来了数只蜜蜂,飞到他安睡的摇篮里,且还钻进安博的嘴 中。不久,它们便又钻出,往天际飞去了。世人将此视为是安博拥有过人口才的预兆,且还奉他为补蜂人的主保。

 年轻时,圣安博曾在罗马修习法律,并在希耳弥从事公职。主後374年的12月7日,意外地以望教者的身分被选为米兰的主教。在其牧职 任内,常 藉由 着作与教导捍卫正统信仰,亚略异端视其为死敌。

 有一次,当犹斯汀纳皇后(Empress Justina)企图将圣人的二座天主教大殿(Basilica)转送给亚略异端(Arians)时,宫廷里的宦臣竟畏惧圣人的威仪而未敢执行;天主子民 就聚在圣安博的身後,一同面对皇帝的军队;在人民的骚动中,他以动人且令人振奋的东方曲调,唱出激励并安抚着百姓的赞歌来。

 另有一次,他在与Auxentius的争论中,明白地表达了他在君权与神权上的原则,他说:「皇帝,是在教会内,而非在教会之上。」 他也曾公 开地 斥责Theodosius皇帝,因为他曾屠杀七千无辜之人。为此,皇帝在圣人的训诫下,不得不公开地表达悔罪,并寻求圣人的接纳。这就是信仰的斗士 - 圣安博。

 安博身性激昂,其个头虽小,却有一个很高的额头,还有一副有着大眼的抑郁长脸,并且时常手握着圣经;他虽身形消瘦,却常是散发出尊贵 与学者的 气 息,这就是他的形象。除此之外,圣人也有令人为之动容的一面,这表现在他与圣奥思定的关系上;奥思定便是在圣人的影响下皈依天主的;他对奥斯定的影响,总 是引起广泛的讨论。奥斯定在【忏悔录】一书中,就曾描述二人的相遇过程,虽有些唐突,但却掩饰不了奥斯定对这位博学的主教最深的敬意。

 另外,奥斯定也认为:安博的演说,虽然较欠缺慰藉性与娱乐性,但却比当代的其他学者更加博学与精湛;而他的道理架构,就如同当代的许 多学者一 样, 大多是以西塞罗(Cisero)为基础的,但观点却又相当有别於当代的其他思想家或哲学家。

 当然,因着奥思定的皈依,圣莫妮卡对圣人有更是敬爱有加,视他如一位天主的天使,因为安博不仅将她的儿子从先前荒诞不羇的生活中给救 拔了出 来,并 帮助他确认基督就是他一生所寻觅的永生天主;就是这位慈父般主教,在奥思定的洗礼中,将双手置放在奥思定赤裸的肩上,并亲自为他披上耶稣基督。

 圣人的道理丶着作,以及他的个人生命,都再再地显示他是一个身处「另一世界」,但却处理当代重大议题的人。除此之外,圣人对教会的主 要贡献, 还包 括撰写了弥撒礼仪用的咏赞曲,并且还将希腊教父的着作带到拉丁语系的世界里;另外,他也极力推崇守贞奉献的生活。最後,圣人於主後397年的4月4日,於 圣周六过世。他过世後,遗体就被安置在米兰的大殿里。

 谁若像圣史若望丶像伯铎和保禄一样,从这充沛的河里汲水,便会提高声音。又如同宗徒们提高声音,到处宣讲福音,同样,汲取这水的人也 会开始向 人传 报耶稣基督。所以,你要聆听基督的话,好使你的声音广博;你要汲取基督的水,就是那赞美上主的水。你要从各泉源中收集水,这是象徵先知们的云彩所降下的 水。

 无论谁收集山上的水,把水引向自己,或从泉里汲水,便也像云彩一样,滴下雨露。所以你要用这水充满你的心灵深处,为使你的心田湿润, 并被你自 己的 水源所灌溉。所以谁多读书并了解许多事,便是充满了水。充满了以後,才能灌溉他人。因此圣经上说:「当云彩充满雨水时,便把雨水倾注到大地上。」

- 节录自《每日诵祷》12月7日诵读 -选读圣安博主教书信集。

Eucharist quotes (12/7 St. Ambrose)

The “Oblationaires” of St. Ambrose were pioneers of Eucharistic Adoration outside of Mass. These were a group of 10 poor men and 10 poor women who, on feast days, would also bring the people’s oblation of bread and wine to the altar at the offertory at Mass.

“Let your door stand open to receive Him, unlock your soul to Him, offer Him a welcome in your mind, and then you will see the riches of simplicity, the treasures of peace, the joy of grace. Throw wide the gate of your heart, stand before the sun of the everlasting light.” “I adore and venerate you as much as ever I can, though my love is so cold, my devotion so poor. Thank you for the good gift of this your holy Body and Blood,...”

“The angels adore not only the divinity of Christ, but also the footstool of His feet. ... Or if they deny that in Christ also the mysteries of the incarnation are to be adored, in which the very marks of His deity are seen and where we note the sure paths of the heavenly Logos, they should read that the apostles also adored Him when He rose in the glory of His flesh (Luke 24:52). ... The prophet says (Ps. 99:5) that the earth which the Lord Jesus took upon himself, when he took on flesh, should be adored. Therefore by “footstool” we understand the earth, and by this earth we understand the flesh, which we today also adore in the mysteries and which the apostles adored in the Lord Jesus, as we have said above.”

“You perhaps say: ‘My bread is usual.’ But the bread is bread before the words of the sacraments; when consecration has been added, from bread it becomes the flesh of Christ. So let us confirm this, how it is possible that what is bread is the body of Christ. By what words, then, is the consecration and by whose expressions? By those of the Lord Jesus. For all the rest that are said in the preceding are said by the priest: praise to God, prayer is offered, there is a petition for the people, for kings, for the rest. When it comes to performing a venerable sacrament, then the priest uses not his own expressions, but he uses the expressions of Christ. Thus the expression of Christ performs this sacrament.” (The Sacraments, Book 4, Ch.4:14.)

“Let us be assured that this is not what nature formed, but what the blessing consecrated, and that greater efficacy resides in the blessing than in nature, for by the blessing nature is changed… . Surely the word of Christ, which could make out of nothing that which did not exist, can change things already in existence into what they were not. For it is no less extraordinary to give things new natures than to change their natures… . Christ is in that Sacrament, because it is the Body of Christ; yet, it is not on that account corporeal food, but spiritual. Whence also His Apostle says of the type: ‘For our fathers ate spiritual food and drink spiritual drink.’ [1 Cor. 10:2-4] For the body of God is a spiritual body.” (On the Mysteries, 9, 50-52, 58; 391 A.D.)

“His poverty enriches, the fringe of His garment heals, His hunger satisfies, His death gives life, His burial gives resurrection. Therefore, He is a rich treasure, for His bread is rich. And ‘rich’ is apt for one who has eaten this bread will be unable to feel hunger. He gave it to the Apostles to distribute to a believing people, and today He gives it to us, for He, as a priest, daily consecrates it with His own words. Therefore, this bread has become the food of the saints.” (The Patriarchs, Ch. 9:38)

“Thus, every soul which receives the bread which comes down from heaven is a house of bread, the bread of Christ, being nourished and having its heart strengthened by the support of the heavenly bread which dwells within it.” (Letter to Horontianus, circa 387 A.D.)

12/7 St. Mary Joseph Rossello

(1811 to 1888) Founder of the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy

St. Mary Joseph Rossello was born in Savona, Italy, to a poor grocer and his wife. She was a pious child who cared deeply for the less fortunate in her neighborhood. For example, there was a young girl that limped along the road who was her friend. One day, Mary Joseph and her friends were walking to a shrine and the young girl was lagging behind. Exercising heroic charity, Mary Joseph not only walked the two miles with her, but even carried her to the shrine. Such was the love of those that needed help.

When she was a teenager, Mary Joseph went to work for an old man and woman in the neighborhood, who had no children. She took such good care of them that the man promised that he would leave her some of his money. Mary Joseph, of course, refused it and the man understood.

It was after taking care of the elderly couple that Mary Joseph went around various convents wanting to become a nun. However, no convent would accept her. The reason was because she had no dowry and a dowry was deemed extremely important in those days. However, Mary Joseph continued to always repeat the phrase: “God will provide.”

It was around this time that Mary Joseph met with the bishop of her diocese, who asked her if there was something she could do for the poor young women that were in need of education and spent most of their time begging on the streets. Mary Joseph got together with three of her friends and they established a school.

Eventually, this school grew and Mary Joseph became superior of a group called the Daughters of Mercy. Coincidentally, Mary Joseph never asked for a dowry from the young women who entered her convent. Rather, she only asked for one thing: a charitable heart.

Eventually, Mother Rossello’s school had grown so much that she established others in nearby cities. She also established a seminary for young boys who couldn’t afford to go to a seminary.

Yet life was not easy for Mother Rossello. One day, the money ran out. Mother Rossello gathered the students, orphans from the House of Providence, and the sisters. She asked them to pray together. After a few minutes, she asked one of the Sisters to check the cash box. Sister came back with two coins and two buttons.

“We’re not praying hard enough,” Mother Rossello said. “We need to pray harder.” So they did for an hour. Once again, Sister went back to the cash box and found to her surprise all of the money that was needed for the Sisters to survive. Such was Mother Rossello’s belief in Divine Providence.

Yet like Mother Teresa of Calcutta and St. Therese of Lisieux, Mother Rossello also experienced spiritual dryness. In fact, she experienced it for the last decades of her religious life. Only on her death bed did she receive consolation from God. After her death, her body was found to be incorrupt.

In 1949, Mother Rossello was canonized by Pope Pius XII.

Eucharist quotes (12/7 St. Mary Joseph Rossello)

“Go to Jesus. He loves you and is waiting for you to give you many graces. He is on the altar surrounded by angels adoring and praying. Let them make some room for you and join them in doing what they do.”

12月8日:圣母无玷始 胎 (节日) The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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 公元1854年12月8日,教宗庇护九世颁布「圣母始孕无玷」为信道,隆重宣布:至圣童贞玛利亚在她始孕的第一瞬息,因着全能天主殊 异的恩 宠,仗 赖着人类救主耶稣基督的功勋,免染原罪的诸般玷污。那就是说:童贞圣母玛利亚从她在母胎受孕的最初一刹那起,灵魂上已有天主的宠爱。

 圣母无玷始胎瞻礼,正要表明基督的救恩超越时空。天主为他圣子降生成人,准备了母亲。圣母玛利亚也就是基督救恩的初果。
(以12月8日作为圣母无玷始胎的节日,是因为教会在9月8日庆祝圣母圣诞。)

 耶稣基督是默西亚,天主的受傅者,祂是克胜罪恶的君王。圣母充满恩宠,是因为她腹中孕育的是克胜罪恶的力量根源。圣母在优异的情况 下,获得 『先 赎』。即预防性的救恩,不再被原罪境况所困扰,圣母的无原罪不会减低耶稣救赎的价值,反而令其更为提升,使我们体会到天主对人的爱是先过罪恶。创造之初原 是这样,在这里我们得到更大的启示,有『先赎』才能有『後赎』。即治疗性的救恩;盾主的仁慈,在人类背叛堕落之後,立即许诺救赎的恩典,使人的缺憾得到补 偿的机会。

 我们可以藉此反省:

【1】 圣母给我们看到一个人得救前的原来样子,同时也看到天主的忠信彻底地表露无遗。〔默想 创 3:15〕

【2】 圣母是得救者的典范,我们虽是罪人,到最後也会像圣母一样达到完满,藉圣洗圣事,我们由原罪而来的罪根已一次而永久性地被赦免,但我们仍要日新又新,在诱 惑中不断跳越出来。救赎需要我们合作去成就的,天主的爱伟大就在於此,要人类发挥自己到极点。〔默想 路 1:28〕

 在天教教义里,『原罪』占有一个很重要的位置,因为救世主耶稣基督,就是为了这个『原罪』才降生成人。到底,什麽是『原罪』?按传统 的天主教 要理 这样解释:人类的原祖父母,亚当丶夏娃违背了天主的命令,犯下了大罪,这个罪遗留到我们〔亚当的後代子孙〕身上,就叫『原罪』。

 原罪带给我们什麽後果?按传统的要理,有这样的说法:因着原罪,不仅我们的原祖被天主逐出地堂〔伊甸园〕,失落了一切超性的恩典,而 且连累了 他们 的後代子孙,世世代代的人类,一生到世上来,都没有天主的宠爱,遭受私欲偏情的困扰,并招致死亡痛苦,及别的一切祸患。

 人人都有原罪吗?人类中除了圣母玛利亚以外,人人都染有原罪。圣母始胎无染原罪的信理,是在脱利腾大公会议〔1510─1516年〕 所钦定 的。

  圣母也是人,也是亚当丶夏娃的子女,照理她也该染有原罪的。怎麽说圣母无染原罪呢?这实在是一端极奥妙的信德道理。按传统天主教教义这样解释:因为天主圣 子降生成人,要提选一位纯洁无瑕,完全没有罪污,完全不受魔鬼控制的女人,才堪当做祂的母亲,於是天主以祂的全能,使圣母预先蒙受救主救赎的恩宠,使她配 作天主圣子的母亲。因此圣母便成为空前绝後,独一无二的,始胎无染原罪的人。

 圣母始胎无染原罪的信理,不是教会凭空捏造的,而是以圣经作为根据。原祖父母犯罪以後,天主在伊甸园应许派遣救世主的诺言,与应许这 位独一无 二的 贞女的诺言,是息息相关,彼此相连,而且是前者包含在後者之内的。天主咒骂那条诱惑夏娃的蛇〔魔鬼的化身〕之後,郑重地声明说:『我要把仇恨放在你和女 人,你的後裔和她的後裔之间;她的後裔要踏碎你的头颅。』〔创3:15〕。圣经上所预许的那位女人,毫无疑问,就是圣母玛利亚。她踏碎魔鬼的头颅,就是她 不受魔鬼的恶势力所控制,换句话说,就是圣母完全不受任何罪污的侵害──始胎无染原罪。

 时候到,天主的预言要应验了,天主要实践祂的救世计划,於是打发总领天使嘉俾额尔,来到人间,向这位天主早在伊甸园就预许了的贞女报 喜,要她 作救 主的母亲;天使向这位贞女〔圣母玛利亚〕请安说:『万福!充满恩宠者,上主与妳同在!』〔路1:28〕。这句天使祝贺圣母的话,是圣母始胎无染原罪最有力 的佐证。假如圣母只要有一瞬息曾受过罪的污染,那就不可能称为『充满恩宠』的了。

 传统教理对原罪的解释,对原罪的观念,很受圣师奥斯定的影响。以为原罪好像遗留给後代子孙的恶果,但近代对原罪有了新的解释,认为原 罪不算是 真实 的罪,可是它与罪却有着极密切的关系,因着原罪罪恶进入了世界,使世界的和谐秩序受到破坏,人人生到世上来,都不能避免陷入『罪的境况』中。

 因此,圣母始胎无染原罪,也有了新的解释:说圣母无原罪,并不是说,她没有生活在这个罪恶的境况中,而是说,她没有受到罪恶世界的伤 害。无论 是传 统的或是新的解释,与圣母始胎无染原罪的信理,丝毫没有冲突。

 按逻辑学来推理,圣母始胎无染原罪的信理,也是顺理成章,不容置疑的。

 假若你是一位艺术家,你要创造一件你所愿意见到的艺术品,而你也有这样的能力去创造这件艺术品,试问,你是否会去造这件艺术品呢?答 案当然是 肯定 的。同样的道理,『全能』的天主愿意提选一位玉洁冰清,纤尘不染,一生不受罪污影响的女子作自己的母亲,而『全能』的天主有能力做就一位这样的女子,使她 适合做天主之母的身份,试问,天主是否会这样去完成呢?答案同样也是肯定的。圣母得以免除原罪的遗害,是靠赖基督救赎的功劳。因此,她的无罪〔由於救赎〕 与基督的无罪〔出於祂本身〕截然不同。圣母无原罪,不仅没有排拒基督救赎之外,相反,更能彰显天主全能的伟大。圣母也是人,也须要基督的救赎,只是圣母是 天主以最优越丶最奇妙的方法所救赎的人。

 因着基督救赎的功劳,人在领洗的时候,同样也可获得原罪的赦免。刚领洗的基督信徒也相似圣母的情况,不同的只是:圣母获赦原罪,是在 她成为人 以 前,提前完成,而这项殊恩,也与圣母的终身童贞一样;与其说是圣母的殊恩,不如说是基督的殊恩,因为天主圣父为了保护祂的圣子不受人间污染而赏赐了圣母这 项特殊恩宠, 恩宠越大,使命也越大。圣母凭她本身,不可能获得这种超出一般世人的恩宠,可是由於她领有作救主之母的使命,她必须拥有相称这个重大使命的恩宠。

 一般人以为,所谓『圣母始胎无染原罪』,是指圣母在受孕之初,天主的恩宠一次而永远地降临於她,使她得以奇迹性地免受一切罪污。这种 解释无疑 是忘 记了天主的恩宠和人类回应的互动作用,其实即使天主赐给最大的恩宠,假若缺乏了人以爱去回应,恩宠也有竭尽的一天。而圣母因为以她最大的爱去回应天主赏赐 给她的这项殊恩,所以天主的恩宠得以毫无阻碍地在她身上发挥作用,於是圣母才能终身保持她的纯洁无玷。

 我们基督信徒,领洗时也获得原罪的赦免,灵魂上也纯洁无罪,便该效法圣母以最大的爱去回应天主的恩宠,使这恩宠能在我们身上产生作 用,能像圣 母一 般终身保持灵魂纯洁,日後能与她共聚天庭。

12月9日:圣若望.迪 达谷 (高乐多) St. Juan Diego

 圣人属於印第安族,约在一四七四年,生於现在被称为墨西哥的地区。相传圣母曾於一五三一年在名为泰匹雅的小山,四度显现给他。此後, 圣人信德 生活 卓着,以谦虚与热忱,努力促使在该处建造了圣堂,又得主教准许,在该处度隐士生活,并照顾到该地敬礼瓜达卢佩圣母的朝圣者。圣人於一五四八年在该处安逝。

12/9 Ven. Fulton Sheen

(1895-1979) Archbishop in USA, first radio and TV evangelist

Sheen was born in tiny El Paso, Illinois, in the north central part of the state, in 1895. His father was a modestly prosperous farmer in the Peoria region, his mother a hard-working and popular farm wife and mother of four boys. The Sheen children were gifted with high intelligence (one, Tom, had a photographic memory), trained to work hard (for most of his life Fulton would work a nineteen hour day, seven days a week), and encouraged to advance themselves through education. The parents also stressed the importance of their Catholic faith. The Sheen boys went to parochial schools, and the family attended church regularly and said the Rosary together nightly.

Fulton excelled in his school work from the start, and was an extremely popular youngster. Rather short (five foot seven) and slim, he was unable to compete effectively in athletics and so poured his energy into becoming a skilled collegiate debater. His beautiful speaking voice, penetrating eyes (inherited from his mother), pleasing personality, and outstanding academic preparation proved effective in competitions.

From Fulton's earliest years, there seemed to be a consensus of opinion in the family that he would become a priest. After graduating from St. Viator College in Bourbonnais, Illinois, he went to seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. From there he went to the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. to earn a doctorate in philosophy. After ordination in 1919 and receiving two degrees from CUA in 1920, Sheen went to the prestigious Louvain University in Belgium. Here he earned a Ph.D. in philosophy with the highest distinction and was invited to try for a "super doctorate," the agrege en Philosophie. He was the first American ever to receive such an offer. Sheen earned the honor in 1925, again passing with the highest distinction. He transformed his dissertation into a prize-winning book and won the respect and admiration of G. K. Chesterton, among others.

After a brief and successful stint in a slum church in Peoria (a test given by his bishop to see if he would be obedient), Sheen became an instructor at Catholic University. He was to remain on the CUA faculty, teaching philosophy and theology, from 1926 until 1950.

While proving to be a popular professor, Sheen's interests were primarily off-campus. After writing two scholarly books, he began publishing a lengthy list of more or less popular books and articles that would earn him honors and praise throughout the country. In 1928, he went on the “Catholic Hour,” a nationally broadcast radio program. He quickly became the program's most popular preacher and for more than two decades was asked to preach during Lent and at Holy Days. Vast quantities of letters and financial donations poured in on “Catholic Hour” officials whenever Sheen spoke.

Sheen was soon in demand throughout the country and Western Europe as a preacher, retreat leader, and teacher. He preached annually at St. Patrick's Cathedral, where he packed the huge church and received much attention in the press.

Francis Cardinal Spellman of New York, one of the most powerful figures in the Roman Catholic Church, took Sheen under his wing after World War II, and in 1948 invited him to join a world-wide tour and assume the bulk of the journey's preaching duties. The two men greatly appreciated each other's talents (the Cardinal was a superb administrator and fund-raiser), and in 1950 Spellman had Sheen named to head the American branch of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Church's principal source of missionary funds. The appointment came with a miter, and in 1951, Sheen was consecrated in Rome. Sheen flung himself into his new duties, revealing his great skill as a fund-raiser. He continued to produce books, articles, and newspaper columns at an astonishing rate, and accepted invitations to preach throughout the country and across the world. Sheen's personal success at winning converts—the list included writer Clare Boothe Luce, industrialist Henry Ford II, and ex-Communist Louis Budenz—attracted national attention. Unmentioned in the press were the thousands of average Americans who came into the Church because of Sheen's efforts.

When, in 1951, the Archdiocese of New York decided to enter the world of television, Sheen was a natural choice to appear on screen. The initial half-hour lectures were broadcast on the tiny Dumont Network, opposite big budget programs by comedian Milton Berle, "Mr. Television," and singer-actor Frank Sinatra. No one gave Sheen a chance to compete effectively. Soon, however, Sheen took the country by storm, winning an Emmy, appearing on the cover of Time magazine, and entering the "most admired" list of Americans. In its second year, "Life Is Worth Living" moved to the ABC Network and had a sponsor, the Admiral Corporation.

Sheen's talks, delivered in the full regalia of a bishop, were masterful. He worked on each presentation for 35 hours, delivering it in Italian and French to clarify his thoughts before going on television. He at no time used notes or cue cards, and always ended on time. The set was a study with a desk, a few chairs, and some books; the only prop was a blackboard. A four-foot statue of Madonna and Child on a pedestal was clearly visible. Sheen's humor, charm, intelligence, and considerable acting skill radiated throughout the "Life Is Worth Living" series, captivating millions eager to hear Christian (only indirectly Catholic) answers to life's common problems.

Some of Sheen's talks and writings dealt with Communism, which the Bishop, a student of Marxism and a personal friend of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, thought a dire threat to the nation and the world. But at no time did Sheen appear with or praise Senator Joe McCarthy (he had little use for politicians of any stripe) or directly support the Second Red Scare, which swept through the country during the early 1950s.

Sheen was also a student of Freud, and was consistently critical of Freudian psychology. Sheen's best-selling book, Peace Of Soul, presented his views on the subject forcefully. At about the same time, the bishop wrote a powerful book on the Virgin Mary, The World's First Love, followed a few years later by an equally impressive Life of Christ.

For all of his concerns about worldly issues, Sheen was above all a supernaturalist, who fervently believed that God is love, that miracles happen, and that the Catholic Church best taught the divinely revealed truths about life and death. As he put it in Peace of Soul, "nothing really matters except the salvation of a soul."

Still, Sheen was not a plaster saint. Vanity was a constant problem for him, and he knew it. As both priest and bishop, Sheen lived and dressed well and enjoyed the publicity he received in the media and the applause of adoring crowds... Sheen could also be difficult at times when his authority was challenged. In the early 1950s, he and Cardinal Spellman, a very proud man, engaged in a bitter feud largely over the dispersal of Society funds. The struggle led to a private audience before Pius XII, who sided with Sheen. In a rage, Spellman terminated Sheen's television series, made him a local outcast, and drove him from the Archdiocese. In 1966, Sheen became the Bishop of Rochester.

Bishop Sheen had been an active participant in the Vatican II sessions in Rome and thoroughly endorsed the reforms that followed. He tried to make his diocese the bridge between the old and new Catholicism, enacting sweeping reforms and making headlines in the process. Without administrative skills, Sheen alienated many in Rochester, and in 1969 he resigned and returned to New York.

During the last decade of his life, while battling serious heart disease, Sheen continued at a breathtaking pace to travel, speak, and write. During the course of his more than 50 year career in the Church, he wrote 66 books and countless articles. No other Catholic figure of the century could match his literary productivity. (Book royalties and television fees went almost exclusively to the Society. Sheen estimated that he gave $10 million of his own money to the organization he headed.)

In October, 1979 Sheen met John Paul II in the sanctuary of St. Patrick's Cathedral. Thunderous applause greeted their embrace. The Pope privately told the 84-year-old Archbishop that he had been a loyal son of the Church. Nothing could have been more pleasing for Fulton Sheen to hear. He died on December 9, in his chapel before the Blessed Sacrament.

Eucharist quotes (12/09 Ven. Fulton Sheen)

Archbishop Fulton Sheen was one of the first Radio and TV evangelists of our times and watched by millions. During his Priesthood he said a Holy Hour of Adoration everyday before our beloved Lord. In his autobiography he commented that this was one of the things that kept him so faithful to Jesus and the Church throughout his Priesthood.

A Holy Hour is not a devotion; it is a sharing in the work of redemption. The only time our Lord asked the Apostles for anything was the night He went into agony. Not for activity did He plead but for an Hour of companionship. During a Holy Hour we grow more and more into His likeness.

A Holy Hour becomes a magister and teacher. Theological insights are gained not only from the covers of a treatise, but from two knees on a prie-dieu before the Blessed Sacrament.

A Holy Hour of Adoration in our modern rat race is necessary for authentic prayer.

The best time to make a holy hour is in the morning, early, before the day sets traps for us.

By being faithful to our Holy Hour, and letting nothing interfere with it, we use it as the sign and symbol of our victimhood.

We are not called to great penances...but the Holy Hour is a sacrifice in union with Christ.

“Neither theological knowledge nor social action alone is enough to keep us in love with Christ unless both are proceeded by a personal encounter with Him. Theological insights are gained not only from between two covers of a book, but from two bent knees before an altar. The Holy Hour becomes like an oxygen tank to revive the breath of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the foul and fetid atmosphere of the world,”

The Holy Hour becomes like an oxygen tank to revive the breath of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the foul and fetid atmosphere of the world.

The most brilliant ideas come from meeting God face to face (at adoration). The Holy Spirit that presided at the Incarnation is the best atmosphere for illumination.

The purpose of the Holy Hour is to encourage deep personal encounter with Christ. The holy and glorious God is constantly inviting us to come to Him, to hold converse with Him, to ask for such things as we need and to experience what a blessing there is in fellowship with Him.

The secret (to my preaching) is that I have never in fifty-five years missed spending an hour in the presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. That’s where the power comes from. That’s where sermons are born. That’s where every good thought is conceived.

God gave us two weapons: knees and hands. Knees—to spend an hour a day in reparation for sins.

St. Paul tells us that faith comes from listening. In a daily Holy Hour, we wait for Him to speak—and He does!

12月11日:圣达玛稣 一世 (教宗) St. Damasus I

 圣人西班牙籍,生於公元三○五年左右。及长加入罗马神职班;公元三六六年,适值多难之秋,被祝圣为罗马教会主教。在位时,曾召开多次 会议,以 惩斥 裂教与异端。此外,曾广泛推行对殉道者之敬礼,以诗句美饰他们的坟墓。

12月12日:瓜达卢佩 圣母 (节日) Our Lady of Guadalupe

画 像

 我们天上的母亲於1531年12月9-12日期间,在墨西哥向一位印第安人农夫若望.田亚果(Juan Diego)四度显现,提醒他天主之母玛利亚同时也是世人的母亲。这位母亲关心我们,爱护我们,特别是那些贫苦病困和受压迫的人。圣母令农夫叔父的重病得 以痊愈,并嘱咐农夫往见主教,要求在当地建圣堂,让世人对天主和这位母亲有更多认识。

 但主教却要求一些徵兆,农夫得圣母指引,竟在隆冬时分,在荒凉的山坡撷取了盛放的玫瑰,带往见主教,当若望.田亚果打开披肩,花朵飘 落後,却 发现 在披肩上出现一幅身披太阳,脚踏月亮,一袭蓝袍,满缀星星的印第安少女像。主教立即相信,兴建了圣堂,此後短短四年中,就有大约六百万印第安人被感召入 教,墨西哥因而成为一个天主教国家,这幅画像存至四百年後的今天,仍然光彩丶鲜艳。

 该印有圣母容貌的斗蓬保存至今已差不多五百年,仍清晰栩栩如真,现藏於墨西哥的Basilica of Guadalupe 。) 事实上这类仙人掌纤维织成的披肩只能保持20年左右。更奇怪的是到1951年,被人发现画像中圣母的瞳孔内竟然印有若望.田亚果丶主教及翻译员的影像,这 证明圣母当年确实亲临主教府,圣母这样显现是为把各族裔,各种文化丶语言的团体联合在一起。

December 9th, 1531, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Juan Diego, a recent convert to the Catholic faith, was walking to attend the early morning Mass in Mexico City. Passing by Tepeyac Hill he heard the beautiful singing of birds, seemingly from heaven. Looking to see where the celestial music was coming from, he suddenly heard a young woman's voice affectionately calling his name, "Juanito." Reaching the top of the hill, he saw a radiant woman clothed in splendid light - the Ever Virgin Holy Mary, Mother of God. She told Juan that she desired him to be her special messenger to the Bishop of Mexico City. Juan was to tell the bishop that Our Lady wanted a church to be built where she could manifest her Son and hear the petitions of her spiritual children.

After being put off by the bishop's servants, Juan was finally granted an audience with Franciscan Bishop Fray Juan Zumarraga. The bishop didn't initially believe Juan Diego and asked him to return another day. Secretly, the bishop had been invoking the intercession of the Mother of God for help. The Spaniards had recently conquered the native Aztec people and were treating them harshly. Very few were willing to abandon their pagan gods and embrace the religion of their new dictators. All of this weighed heavy on the heart of Bishop Zumarraga, whom history now knows as the "Protector of the Native People." He wondered if Juan Diego's story was the answer to his prayers.
Dejected, Juan returned to Tepeyac and asked Our Lady to use someone else more worthy than himself. She assured him that he was personally chosen to be her ambassador. The next day he returned to plead with the bishop. Though impressed by Juan's persistence, he was still unsure. He sent Juan to tell the Lady he needed a sign in order to know if it was truly her.

Upon hearing the bishop's request, Our Lady told Juan to return the next day and she would give him the sign he needed. Returning home, Juan found his uncle ill and close to death. Instead of returning the next day, Juan stayed home and took care of his ailing uncle. Early on December 12th, Juan rushed to Mexico City in order to get a priest to administer the last rites to his dying uncle. On his way he went around the back of Tepeyac Hill in order to avoid Our Lady whom he knew would surely understand.

But Our Lady meet him anyway telling him not to worry, his uncle was already healed. He was to learn later that at that moment Our Lady had appeared to his uncle, who was restored to health. She urged Juan to go to the top of the hill where he would find flowers miraculously growing. Juan was astonished to see so many vibrant flowers during the frosty time of the year. He cut them and gathered them in his tilma (cloak). Our Lady arranged the flowers with her own hands, rolled up the tilma and ordered Juan not to unfurl his tilma until he was in the presence of the bishop.

After being harassed by the bishop's servants, Juan was finally brought in to see him. After recounting every detail of his conversation with Our Lady, he let down his tilma and the flowers fell to the floor. Juan was surprised when everyone in the room also fell to the floor on their knees. The image of Our Lady had miraculously appeared on Juan's tilma! Repenting for his unbelief with abundant tears, Bishop Juan Zumarraga promised to build the shrine that Our Lady had requested.

Soon the church was built and the holy image transferred. The story spread like wildfire and people began to stream in to see the heavenly image and hear the story from Juan Diego. Many miracles started happening and in the following years some 10 million were baptized and converted to the Jesus Christ! Pope John Paul II declared Blessed Juan Diego the greatest evangelist of all times.

12月13日:圣路济亚(贞女,殉道)(纪念) St. Lucy

主保:盲人与眼疾患者

 圣路济亚诞生在西西里岛叙拉古撒市(Syracuse)的一个贵族家庭里,自小受基督信仰的薰陶。父亲过世时,她还仅是个小女孩。然 而,当时 她就 已秘密地为基督誓许贞洁圣愿了。

 圣女之父过世後九年,其母强迫圣女嫁给一位外教青年。但圣女却藉故延迟了三年,只为拒绝这位热烈的外教追求者。後来,圣女的母亲 Euthychia,在小路济亚的说服下,为自己长年困扰的血漏病症,展开一趟向St. Agatha at Catania圣髑致敬的朝圣之旅,这让其母的病症奇迹般地痊愈了。圣女於是藉此机会说服其母,允许她将大部分的遗产分配给穷人,并允准她为天主而活的渴 望,也因此圣女成了与其母患相同病症者的主保。

 这位求婚者因圣女的拒绝,与她将遗产分配给穷人的举动而被激怒。於是,在罗马皇帝Diocletian迫害基督徒的期间,将圣女交付 给一位外 教的 判官Paschasius处置。迫害中,有一位判官命圣女到一处妓院行淫,但她却依然保持对信仰的忠诚。根据《The Golden Legend》的记载,圣女当时回答说:「宗徒曾说他们是天主圣洁的宫殿,圣神居住在他们内。」Paschasius随即愤而回覆说:「那麽,我要带妳到 妓院去使妳失去贞洁,如此一来,圣神便会离妳而去了。」

 然而奇迹的是,兵士们却无法移动圣女的身子半分,即便他们以套牛犊的绳索拖她。最後,Paschasius只好命人当下杀了圣女。在 一段包括 将眼 珠挖出的折磨之後,罗马兵丁在圣女的身旁围绕着点燃的柴火,之後便离开了圣女。圣路济亚说了一些关於她的迫害者的预言之後,便被兵丁以刀剑刺死(或说以长 茅穿喉而死)。

 按《The Golden Legend》的描述:就在圣女预言关於Paschasius结局的当下,罗马的官长们随即从京城前来逮捕Paschasius,因为当时他被罗马议员们 控以掠夺该省的罪名。於是,这位邪恶的官长自食恶果,被处以敲击脑袋至死的罪罚。当时,圣女在该处仍未致命,直至一位司铎来将她的身体交付耶稣基督後,圣 女才断气。另一传说的版本则是:一位贵族青年因圣女美丽的双眸而愿与她结亲,圣女却将自己的双眼挖出,交给这位青年并说:「那麽,让我现在只为天主而活 吧!」

 圣女的圣髑目前被保留在威尼斯;有部分声称是圣女遗体的骨骸仍未腐朽,目前被收藏在the Church of Saint Geremia and Lucia的一具玻璃石棺内。在圣像中,圣女常被描绘成一手拿着棕榈树枝,另一手托着以盘子丶书本或贝壳装盛着自己双眼的少女;有时,她会被描绘成一位手 持着灯台,或同时拿着一把利剑的女孩;她亦曾被描绘成一只有着燃烧触角的牛犊,身旁站着几位试图以绳索拖曳她的男子,颈上则带有深长的刀痕,或以刀剑抵住 颈项的样子。有时,圣女也会以一妇人的妆扮与St. Agatha丶St. Agnes of Rome丶Barbara丶Catherine of Alexandria和St. Thecla等圣女一同出现在圣像中;有时则被描绘成一跪在St. Agatha墓前祈祷的妇女。

 圣女除了是盲眼与患眼疾者的主保外,在欧洲还是患血漏症丶作家丶刀具匠丶腹泻者丶玻璃工人丶殉道者丶农夫丶马具商丶推销员丶喉咙发炎 者的主 保;当 然,她也是自己的诞生之地-西西里岛的叙拉古撒市的主保。在瑞典,12月13日是全年最短的一日之一,各地都会在此日庆祝「光明节(Festival of Light)」。这样的庆祝相当适切,因为「Lucy」一字的拉丁文字根正是「Lux」,也就是「光明」之意。当天清晨,家中最小的女儿都要穿得有如 「Sankta Lucia」一样的白衣,以长青的树叶为头饰,戴上点燃的蜡烛作为头冠,然後在咖啡和一首特殊的歌曲之中唤醒家中的所有成员。瑞典人就从此日开始庆祝他们 的圣诞节庆;传统上,此日也是他们结束收成的日子。

Rich, young Christian of Greek ancestry. Raised in a pious family, she vowed her life to Christ. Her Roman father died when she was young. Her mother, Eutychia, arranged a marriage for her. For three years she managed to keep the marriage on hold. To change the mother’s mind about the girl’s new faith, Lucy prayed at the tomb of Saint Agatha, and her mother’s long haemorrhagic illness was cured. Her mother agreed with Lucy’s desire to live for God, and Lucy became known as a patron of those with maladies like her mother’s.

Her rejected pagan bridegroom, Paschasius, denounced Lucy as a Christian to the governor of Sicily. The governor sentenced her to forced prostitution, but when guards went to fetch her, they could not move her even when they hitched her to a team of oxen. The governor ordered her killed instead. After torture that included having her eyes torn out, she was surrounded by bundles of wood which were set afire; they went out. She prophesied against her persecutors, and was executed by being stabbed to death with a dagger. Her name is listed in the prayer “Nobis quoque peccatoribus” in the Canon of the Mass.

Legend says her eyesight was restored before her death. This and the meaning of her name led to her connection with eyes, the blind, eye trouble, etc.

12月14日:圣十字若望(司铎,圣师)(纪念) St. John of the Cross

神秘神学的圣师
主保:默观者丶神秘神学丶西班牙诗人

 「灵魂啊!你还渴求什麽呢?在你内已拥有你的所爱与渴求──祂是一切富足丶喜乐丶满足与国度的来源,那麽你在外头还找寻什麽?在你内 渴望祂丶 朝拜 祂吧!别在你自己以外追寻祂;你会在你内因追寻祂而更加感到喜乐,否则你会找不到祂并失去祂。」

 圣十字若望是位精深的默观者,更是位洞悉人灵的灵魂导师;他的生命不仅标记出了「十字架」的真义,更为世人留下信德炼净超升的典范。 若望诞生於西班牙的一个清苦家庭里,其父虽生於贵族世家,但为了迎娶若望的母亲而甘愿放弃贵族身份。其父过世後,家境更显贫苦。因此,14岁时,若望便必 须外出为家计而谋生。当时,他在医院中找到了一份照顾绝症病患的工作。因着若望自身所经验的贫穷与苦难,他学会了不在此世追寻美丽与幸福,而是在天主的身 上追寻完满。

 若望20岁时进入加尔默罗会,领了「十字架」的会名,25岁时晋铎。该年,圣女大德兰与其会晤,并在改革修会上请求圣人的协助。十字 若望支持 大德 兰的信念,认为修会应回复到原始会规的严格祈祷生活中。然而,许多同会弟兄却对此改革感到威胁,甚而绑架了他,将其囚禁在水牢里,且每周鞭打三次。不断兴 起的反对声浪丶误解,甚至是迫害与囚禁,就是圣人坚持改革所偿付的代价;在黑暗丶潮湿与狭窄的囚室内,圣人除了天主外,一无所有;「十字架」的真义-即耶 稣的受苦与死亡经验,正逐步地渗透进圣人的灵魂里。然而,黑暗与枯竭却激发了圣人对天主的爱与信德,使它们像火与光那般地燃烧着。当下,天主成了圣人在巨 大的黑暗与孤寂中的唯一喜乐。

 吊诡的是:垂死的经验,使他找到了生命;外在的黑暗处境,却使他的灵魂找到真正的生命之光,圣人也因此在这种景况中写出了经典的神修 巨作;圣 人自 述,他的许多神秘经验与灵感,几乎都在那囚禁的九个月时领受的。《灵歌--Spiritual Canticle》,表达的正是他在囚室的十架中,与天主神秘结合的神拔经验。

 正是出於相同的经验,十字若望在他的着作《攀登加尔默罗 - Ascent to Mt. Carmel》中指出,与天主神秘结合的神魂超拔,是在痛苦中被导引而出的。因此,作为一位加尔默罗会士,他在自己的痛苦中,体验到一份净化的超升 (purifying ascent );作为一位神师,他同样在他人的经验中意识到这份真实;作为一位神学家,他将此真实描述并分析於他的着作之中。於是,圣人认为:严格的自律丶自我弃绝以 及必要的净化过程,为作一位门徒并与天主结合是必须的。圣人的生命本身就突显福音的这种吊诡性:即十字架导引出复活丶痛苦导引出神拔丶黑暗导引出光明丶自 我弃绝导引出与天主的结合。

 若望深信:真实的喜乐只会从天主而来。因此,若有人在此世寻求幸福,那无异於「一个张开口企图从空气中寻求饱足的人。」他还教导我 们,唯有破 除欲 望的捆绑,我们才能够奔向天主。圣人尤其关切在灵性生活中遭受神枯与沮丧的人灵,他会以天主的爱来激励他们,并引导他们走入更深的信德之中。他一生的故 事,正好是「谁若愿意跟随我,该弃绝自己,背着自己的十字架,跟随我」(谷八34b)的最好注解。从死亡到生命的巴斯卦奥迹,标记出了圣人作为一位改革 者丶神秘神修作家与神学家的生命来。

 圣人於1591年的12月14日逝世於乌伯达(Ubeda)。其留下的着作影响後世甚巨,是度默观生活者的祈祷指引。主要的着作计 有:《攀登 加尔 默罗山--Ascent to Mt. Carmel》丶《心灵的黑夜--The Dark Night of the Soul》丶《灵歌--Spiritual Canticle》丶《爱的活焰-- The Living Flame of Love》。

St. John of the Cross, Feastday: December 14

"What more do you want, o soul! And what else do you search for outside, when within yourself you possess your riches, delights, satisfaction and kingdom -- your beloved whom you desire and seek? Desire him there, adore him there. Do not go in pursuit of him outside yourself. You will only become distracted and you won't find him, or enjoy him more than by seeking him within you." -- Saint John of the Cross

Born in Spain in 1542, John learned the importance of self-sacrificing love from his parents. His father gave up wealth, status, and comfort when he married a weaver's daughter and was disowned by his noble family. After his father died, his mother kept the destitute family together as they wandered homeless in search of work. These were the examples of sacrifice that John followed with his own great love -- God.

When the family finally found work, John still went hungry in the middle of the wealthiest city in Spain. At fourteen, John took a job caring for hospital patients who suffered from incurable diseases and madness. It was out of this poverty and suffering, that John learned to search for beauty and happiness not in the world, but in God.

After John joined the Carmelite order, Saint Teresa of Avila asked him to help her reform movement. John supported her belief that the order should return to its life of prayer. But many Carmelites felt threatened by this reform, and some members of John's own order kidnapped him. He was locked in a cell six feet by ten feet and beaten three times a week by the monks. There was only one tiny window high up near the ceiling. Yet in that unbearable dark, cold, and desolation, his love and faith were like fire and light. He had nothing left but God -- and God brought John his greatest joys in that tiny cell.

After nine months, John escaped by unscrewing the lock on his door and creeping past the guard. Taking only the mystical poetry he had written in his cell, he climbed out a window using a rope made of strips of blankets. With no idea where he was, he followed a dog to civilization. He hid from pursuers in a convent infirmary where he read his poetry to the nuns. From then on his life was devoted to sharing and explaining his experience of God's love.

His life of poverty and persecution could have produced a bitter cynic. Instead it gave birth to a compassionate mystic, who lived by the beliefs that "Who has ever seen people persuaded to love God by harshness?" and "Where there is no love, put love -- and you will find love."

John left us many books of practical advice on spiritual growth and prayer that are just as relevant today as they were then. These books include: Ascent of Mount Carmel, Dark Night of the Soul, and A Spiritual Canticle of the Soul and the Bridegroom Christ

Since joy comes only from God, John believed that someone who seeks happiness in the world is like "a famished person who opens his mouth to satisfy himself with air." He taught that only by breaking the rope of our desires could we fly up to God. Above all, he was concerned for those who suffered dryness or depression in their spiritual life and offered encouragement that God loved them and was leading them deeper into faith.

12/16 Bl. Clemente Marchisio

(1833-1903) Founder of the Institute of The Daughters of St. Joseph

Clemente Marchisio was born on March 1 1833 in Racconigi (archdiocese of Turin), the first of nine children of a craftsman and his wife, and very early on he sensed his calling to the priesthood. He entered the seminary at Bra and, after completing his theological studies, was ordained a priest on September 20, 1856, in Turin. At the Ecclesiastical Institute in Turn, he deepened his theological knowledge through a further two-year course in moral and pastoral theology, under the direction of the saintly priest Joseph Cafasso. To him Blessed Clemente Marchisio in later years would gratefully attribute his entire priestly formation.

The young diocesan priest Clemente Marchisio first served as an assistant in Cambiaso then in Vigano; finally, he became a pastor in Rivalba, where he worked tirelessly in a zealous and fruitful ministry for forty-three years, until his death. A wise spiritual guide, he took special care of young women. He had observed that many of the girls who came to the city of Turin seeking work went astray and were ruined. Therefore, he founded in his parish a shelter for girls and set up a workshop for them, a weaving mill. To look after the girls he first brought nuns from the Institute of Vincentian Sisters of the Immaculate Virgin Mary (founded by Blessed Frederico Albert) into his parish. These nuns, however, were withdrawn; after making a pilgrimage to Lourdes and seeking the advice of Archbishop Gastaldi of Turin, he set about founding his own congregation of women religious, the Institute of the Daughters of Saint Joseph. While helping out a s a preacher and a confessor in the great archdiocese of Turin, Father Clemente Marchisio was in a position to observe that quite often there was a lack of cleanliness in the linens and vestments used in the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, that bread and wine of poor quality were consecrated, and even that invalid matter were used occasionally. So he made it the special duty of his nuns, the Daughters of Saint Joseph, to foster a great reverence and love for the Holy Eucharist and to look after the hosts and the altar wine, the linens and vestments, as well as the candles and cloths used on altars in the rural churches. While employed in these beautiful tasks, the sisters not only met with approval of the clergy in the archdiocese, but also received the income necessary to support themselves. In this way, furthermore, they gained many novices and eventually were able to found communities throughout Italy. Their founder, Father Clemente Marchisio, taught the sisters his own distinctive spirituality; leading a life of poverty and simplicity in the service of our Lord in the Most Holy Sacrament, one must server him with a strong faith and the greatest reverence. Four years after the death of Father Clemente Marchisio, which took place on Dec 16, 1903, in Rivalba, the religious institute of the Daughters of Saint Joseph of Rivalba obtained definitive approval from Pope Pius X, the saintly pope of the Eucharist. While he was still bishop of Mantua, he had come to know and respect the rural pastor Don Clemente Marchisio, and, as a patriarch of Venice, he had continued his benevolence toward him. Pope John Paul II characterized this simple, zealous, and quite Eucharistically minded diocesan priest as follows at the beatification on September 30 1984: The image of Christ the Good Shepherd … shines in Blessed Clemente Marchisio: always concerned to be “an example to believers in speech and conduct, in love, in faith” (1 Tim 4:12), he was careful to progress in the grace with which every priest is endowed in Christ, thus becoming every day a more valid and living instrument of Jesus, the Eternal Priest. A man of prayer, as every priest must be, he was aware of the duty to invoke God, the Lord of the universe and of his life, but he was also aware that true adoration, worthy of the infinite sanctity of God, is attained above all through the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ. Therefore he always had great zeal in devoutly celebrating the Eucharistic mystery, in assiduously making adoration, and in taking care of the beauty of the various liturgical celebrations. He was in fact persuaded that the Church is built up above all by the Eucharist; by their participation in it, the members of the Christian community identify themselves mystically with Christ and become a single body among themselves. Source: Ferdinand Holbock, “New Saints and Blesseds of the Catholic Church: Blesseds and saints canonized by Pope Paul II during the years 1984-1987”

Eucharist quotes (12/16 Bl. Clemente Marchisio)

“You see, I too find myself sometimes overwhelmed by the weight of trials; but after five minutes in front of the Blessed Sacrament, which is our all, I feel entirely invigorated. Do the same when you are depressed and discouraged.”

12月21日:圣加尼修 (司 铎,圣师) St. Peter Canisius

圣师 1521-1597

 是祢命我从祢敞开的心中泉源畅饮,我好像亲眼看到祢至圣之体的圣心;我的救主,祢曾邀请我从祢的泉源汲取救援之水。那时,我切愿那 信丶望丶爱 的激 流,从祢那里流注到我的心中;那时,我渴望贫穷丶贞洁丶服从。我求祢把我整个的洗涤,给我穿上新衣,并装饰我。在我胆敢接近祢及温柔的圣心,并切望在祢圣 心中满足我的口渴之後,祢便许诺,要赏我一件用三部份织成的衣服,用以遮掩我赤裸的灵魂,也完全适於我发的圣愿。这三部份就是:平安丶爱情与恒心。我穿上 了这救恩的衣服後,便有了依恃:深信我将一无所缺,而一切都将为了光耀祢而顺利成功。

 圣人生於荷兰,1521年的5月8日诞生。他因为参与了真福伯多禄·法伯(B. Peter Faber)所带领的退省,最後也成了耶稣会的会士。在他矢发隆重圣愿的那日,吾主耶稣向其彰显祂的圣心。从那时起,圣人就总是将其工作都奉献给耶稣圣心 了。圣人身处於中世纪宗教改革的狂潮之中,是德国天主教对抗新教(Reformation,或称改革宗丶抗议宗)最重要的人士之一;正因为伯多禄常扮演关 键性的角色,因此他常被称为「德国的第二位宗徒」。尽管圣人曾自承年轻时过於闲散,但也不可能闲赋过久,因为他19岁时,便已在科隆大学获得硕士学位;稍 後更与圣依纳爵的第一位门徒伯多禄·法伯相遇;法伯影响圣人甚深,以至於圣人後来也加入了这才刚成立的耶稣会。

 圣人年幼之时,即已养成一个好的习惯-即学习丶反省丶祈祷与写作,这成了他一贯的学习程序,而且终其一生皆保持如此。1546年晋铎 之後,因 为修 订圣济利禄St. Cyril of Alexandria与圣良一世St. Leo the Great的着作而声名大噪;除此之外,圣人也非常热中於使徒工作,在病房与监牢里,都常能看到圣人的身影,即便其他指派的工作已耗尽他的心力,他仍不忘 探视病人与囚犯。1547年,圣人参与了特利腾大公会议(Council of Trent)的几次议程,并且向大会说明圣体圣事的重要性;之後,他也被指定执行该公议会所颁订的法令。有一段时期,他受命任教於耶稣会在Messina 的大学;但稍後,他便被委任对德国进行福传使命,他一生中最重要的工作便就此开始。

 到德国後,他陆续在多所大学里任教,并且协助创办许多大学与神学院;他还以普罗大众能与理解的方式,撰写了一套解释天主教信仰的要理 教材,後 来还 被译成多国语言发行。这为教义混乱的当代而言,实有迫切之需。圣人在宣讲上颇负盛名,因着他那卓越的讲道天赋,圣堂里挤满的往往是渴望聆听他宣讲的人潮; 此外,他还有过人的外交天份,常是二个争论团体中的协调者。至於他的书信(计有八卷),则常是情意真挚丶充满圣善的灵感,读者常能在他的字句中找到智慧, 各阶层的人士也定能在当中找到安慰。另外,针对教会领导阶层的腐败,他也曾史无前例地予以批判,但也总是在爱丶同理与关切的前提下,提出他的看法。

 就在伯多禄70岁的时候,他因病瘫痪了。然而,直到1597年的12月21日,病逝於瑞士的富里堡为止,他一直是在秘书的协助下,继 续宣讲与 写作 的。1925年,教宗碧岳十一世将其册封为圣人,并宣布他为教会的圣师。

Born in Holland in 1521, Peter had edited and written several volumes on Church history and theology, been a delegate to the Council of Trent, and reformed the German universities from heresy. Called to Vienna to reform their university, he couldn't win the people with preaching or fancy words spoken in his German accent. He won their hearts by ministering to the sick and dying during a plague. The people, the king, and the pope all wanted to make Peter bishop of Vienna, but Peter declined vigorously and administered the diocese for a year.

For many years during the Reformation, Peter saw the students in his universities swayed by the flashy speeches and the well-written arguments of the Protestants. Peter was not alone in wishing for a Catholic catechism that would present true Catholic beliefs undistorted by fanatics. Finally King Ferdinand himself ordered Peter and his companions to write a catechism. This hot potato got tossed from person to person until Peter and his friend Lejay were assigned to write it. Lejay was obviously the logical choice, being a better writer than Peter. So Peter relaxed and sat back to offer any help he could. When Father Lejay died, King Ferdinand would wait no longer. Peter said of writing: "I have never learned to be elegant as a writer, but I cannot remain dumb on that account." The first issue of the Catechism appeared in 1555 and was an immediate success. Peter approached Christian doctrine in two parts: wisdom -- including faith, hope, and charity -- and justice -- avoiding evil and doing good, linked by a section on sacraments.

Because of the success and the need, Peter quickly produced two more versions: a Shorter Catechism for middle school students which concentrated on helping this age group choose good over evil by concentrating on a different virtue each day of the week; and a Shortest Catechism for young children which included prayers for morning and evening, for mealtimes, and so forth to get them used to praying.

As intent as Peter was on keeping people true to the Catholic faith, he followed the Jesuit policy that harsh words should not be used, that those listening would see an example of charity in the way Catholics acted and preached. However, his companions were not always as willing. He showed great patience and insight with one man, Father Couvillon. Couvillon was so sharp and hostile that he was alienating his companions and students. Anyone who confronted him became the subject of abuse. It became obvious that Couvillon suffered from emotional illness. But Peter did not let that knowledge blind him to the fact that Couvillon was still a brilliant and talented man. Instead of asking Couvillon to resign he begged him to stay on as a teacher and then appointed him as his secretary. Peter thought that Couvillon needed to worry less about himself and pray more and work harder. He didn't coddle him but gave Couvillon blunt advice about his pride. Coming from Peter this seemed to help Couvillon. Peter consulted Couvillon often on business of the Province and asked him to translate Jesuit letters from India. Thanks to Peter , even though Couvillon continued to suffer depression for years, he also accomplished much good.

Peter died in December 21, 1597. He is known as the Second Apostle of Germany and was named a Doctor of the Church.

Eucharist quotes (12/21 St. Peter Canisius)

St. Canisius was ‘on fire’ for the love of the Eucharist and would spend hours in Eucharistic Adoration. His love for the Blessed Sacrament is reflected in his writings: “Why do we speak of someone being ‘on fire with love?’ The answer is simple. Fire not only strives for union with what it embraces, but seeks to transform whatever it embraces into itself. Love does likewise. As it happens to a coal, to be changed and totally converted into fire, so by a worthy reception of the Eucharist, we become changed in a wonderful manner into Christ, are made partakers of His divine nature, and grow somehow to be the very blood-brother (blood-sister) of Him (Jesus Who is), Our Head.” St. Canisius was the instigator in having the Council of Trent pass a little known decree urging the daily reception of Holy Communion.

12月23日:圣若望. 甘迪 (司铎) St. John of Kanty

 圣人於公元一三九○年,在波兰克拉阁教区甘迪城出生;晋铎後,曾在克拉阁大学执教多年;後任伊耳古本堂,竭力传扬正道,修德立功,尤 以慈爱待 人为 最,成为同道及弟子的表率,一四七三年逝世。

12月26日:圣斯德望 庆日(首位殉道)(庆日) St. Stephen

主保:执事丶头痛患者丶石匠

 圣人之名,在希腊文中是「冠冕」之意。关於圣人的事迹,我们所知甚少,就只有《宗徒大事录》的记载而已,特别是在第六丶第七章。然 而,为了解 他是 怎样的一个人,这样的叙述也就足够了。当时,门徒的数量不断成长,外邦的基督徒向犹太基督徒抱怨说:他们的寡妇,在日用供需的分配中被忽略了。於是,宗徒 召聚了所有的门徒,向他们说:「让我们放弃天主的圣言而操管饮食,实在不相宜。所以,弟兄们!当从你们中检定七位有好声望,且充满圣神和智慧的人,派他们 管这要务。至於我们,我们要专务祈祷,并为真道服役。」《宗徒大事录》继续描述:「这番话得了全体的服悦,就选了斯德望,他是位充满信德和圣神的人…。」 (宗六1-5)

 《宗徒大事录》还说:斯德望是一位充满恩宠与德能的人,在百姓中常显大奇迹,行大徵兆。当时有些犹太人,包括被称为「罗马自由人」会 堂的一些 成 员,起来与圣人辩论,但众人却都敌不过他的智慧,因为圣神与他同在。於是,这些人只好煽动群众,捏造假罪证控告斯德望亵渎之罪。最後,圣人被众人押解到公 议会里接受审问。

 在答辩中,斯德望藉着回顾以色列历史,告诉众人:以色列虽然背叛与天主的盟约,且转而崇拜偶像,但是天主还是要引领以色列子民。然 後,圣人在 圣神 的感动下,向他的迫害者说:「你们时常反抗圣神,你们的祖先怎样,你们也怎样。」(宗七51b)。

 圣人的言论显然激怒了群众。《宗徒大事录》这样描述道:「斯德望却充满了圣神,注目向天,看见了天主的光荣,并看见耶稣站在天主右 边,且说 道: 『看,我见天开了,并见人子站在天主右边。』…於是,群众将圣人拉出城外,用石头砸死了。…当群众用石头砸斯德望时,圣人大声呼喊说:『主耶稣,接我的灵 魂去吧!』…『主,不要向他们算这罪债!』」(宗七55-56,58a,59,60b)圣人成了教会的首位殉道者。

Theirs was a wordless profession of faith in Jesus. They died because they bore the likeness of the Christ Child, and are crowned with life eternal.

12月27日:圣若望(宗徒,圣史)(庆日) St. John the Evangelist

小亚细亚地区的主保

 召唤的是天主,回应的是人。关於若望与他兄弟雅各伯的蒙召,福音中的记载相当简洁:就仅是单纯地随着伯多禄与安德肋回应耶稣的召叫而 已──耶 稣一 召唤,他们即跟随。他们答覆召叫的绝对性,在福音中很清楚地被记载了下来:「那时候,耶稣往前行看见了另外两个兄弟:载伯德的儿子雅各伯和他的弟弟若望, 在船上同自己的父亲载伯德修理他们的网,就召叫了他们。他们也立刻舍下鱼船和自己的父亲,跟随了祂。」(玛四21-22)

 为伯多禄丶雅各伯与若望这三位「前渔夫」而言,与耶稣的特殊友谊,成了他们信德的赏报:因为唯有他们享有特权,能参与耶稣显圣容(玛 十七1- 13)丶复活雅依洛之女(谷五21-43)和山园痛苦祈祷(玛二六36-)中的场合。然而,若望与主的关系却似乎更加特殊。传统将第四部福音归於这位宗徒 的名下,然而,现今的圣经学者却普遍认为:若望宗徒与第四部福音的作者应非同一人。若望福音的作者称他为「耶稣所爱的门徒」(参阅若十三23;十九26; 二十2),是在最後晚餐中斜依在耶稣怀里的那一位;他还是站在耶稣的十架旁,享有照顾圣母殊荣的那一位门徒「女人,看,你的儿子!然後又对那门徒说:看, 你的母亲!」(若十九26b-27)。

 因着福音本身的深度,後人以四圣兽中的老鹰作为若望神学的象徵,因为他的福音就如老鹰一样,在其他圣史无法迄及的领域中翱翔着。然 而,即便如 此, 这部福音还是为我们揭露了一些极为人性的片段:如耶稣曾给雅各伯与若望一个别名叫「雷霆之子」,尽管我们很难知道它的确切意含,但从以下二个事件中可找到 一些线索。首先,玛窦福音告诉我们,这二位兄弟要求能在耶稣的光荣中立座於其左右。当耶稣问他们,他们能否喝祂必须饮的苦杯丶领受祂必须承受的痛苦之洗 时,他们毫不犹豫地回答:「我们能」。於是耶稣回答他们确实该分享祂的苦杯,然而设座在其左右则不是祂能给的,而是天父愿给谁保留,就给谁的。福音描述, 其它宗徒们便极为恼怒这对兄弟。耶稣藉此机会教导宗徒们「权威」的真正本质:「谁若愿意在你们中间为首,就当作你们的奴仆;就如人子来不是受服事,而是服 事人,并交出自己的生命,为大众作赎价。」(玛二十27-28)

 另一场合则是,这二位「雷霆之子」因撒玛黎雅人不愿接待取道该城而前往耶京的耶稣,於是要求耶稣准许他们召唤天火焚毁该城。然而,耶 稣的回应 却是 「转过身来斥责他们」(路九51-55)。在第一个复活节的早晨,玛丽亚玛达肋纳「跑去见西满伯多禄和耶稣所爱的那另一个门徒,对他们说:『有人从坟墓中 把主搬走了,我们不知道他们把祂放在哪里』。」(若二十2)若望在福音中回忆,或许还带着微笑说道:「两人一起跑,但那另一个门徒比伯多禄跑得快,先来到 了坟墓那里。」(若二十4b)他并未进入,而仅是在墓口等候伯多禄,好让他先进去。「那时,先来到坟墓的那个门徒,也进去了,一看见就相信了。」(若二十 8)

 耶稣复活後,伯多禄治好胎生瘸子的这一伟大奇迹发生时,若望是与伯多禄在一起的,这也使得他们同时被捕入监。或许,《宗徒大事录》里 的文字, 最能 说明他们所经历的「复活」神秘经验:「他们看到伯多禄和若望的胆量,并晓得他们是没读过书的平常人,就十分惊讶;他们既认出他们是同耶稣在一起的…。」 (宗四13)

 圣史写了一部伟大的福音,三篇书信以及一本《默示录》。他的福音是一本非常个人化的记载,但却在耶稣还在世上的事迹中,即已看出光荣 与神性的 耶稣 了;在若望的记载里,耶稣在最後晚餐中所讲的话,就好似祂已是身在天国一样。因此,我们可以说:《若望福音》是一部描述耶稣光荣的福音。

 在耶稣受难的时刻,唯独这位「耶稣所爱的门徒」没有舍弃主,且还与圣母忠信地陪伴在耶稣的苦架之旁。若望晚年大多是在耶路撒冷与厄弗 所中度过 的, 并在小亚细亚建立了许多教会。传统说,多米仙(Dometian)在位时,圣人曾被丢入滚烫的油锅之中,但出来时却毫发无伤,因此被流放到巴特摩岛上一 年。当时,他是唯一仅存在世的宗徒,最後约於主後一百年时逝世於厄弗所。

 圣若望素来有「仁爱的宗徒」之称,这德行是从不断琢磨耶稣的言行中习得的。按照圣传的记载,当若望准备离世之时,他被带到厄弗所教会 的会众之 中, 逝世前对众人留下的唯一劝勉是:「孩子们,要彼此相爱!」

12月28日:诸圣婴孩 (殉 道)(庆日) Holy Innocents

祈求终止堕胎Pray for an end to abortion.

他们是无声地在耶稣内为信仰作证。他们的死是因为他们相似婴孩耶稣,所以被冠以永生的皇冠。

 东方贤士朝拜耶稣圣婴後,黑落德王为了除去新生的『犹太人的国王』,曾屠杀当地两岁以下的婴儿。教会常把这些婴儿视作殉道者,因为他 们是为了 耶稣 的缘故而遭杀害的。

 『贤士们离去後,看,上主的天使托梦显於若瑟说:『起来,带着婴孩和祂的母亲逃往埃及去,住在那里,直到我再通知你,因为黑落德即将 寻找这婴 孩, 要把祂杀掉。』若瑟便起来,星夜带了婴孩和祂的母亲,退避到埃及去了。留在那里,直到黑落德死去。这就应验了上主藉先知所说的话:『我从埃及召回了我的儿 子。』

 那时,黑落德见自己受了贤士们的愚弄,就大发忿怒,依照他由贤士们所探得的时期,差人将白冷及其周围境内所有两岁及两岁以下的婴儿杀 死,於是 应验 了耶肋米亚先知所说的话:『在辣玛听到了声音,痛哭哀号不止;辣黑耳痛哭她的子女,不愿受人的安慰,因为他们不在了。』〔玛2:13-18〕

Holy Innocents

The children mentioned in St. Matthew 2:16-18:
Herod perceiving that he was deluded by the wise men, was exceeding angry; and sending killed all the men children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremias the prophet, saying: A voice in Rama was heard, lamentation and great mourning; Rachel bewailing her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

12月圣诞节八日庆期内 主 日:圣家节 The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

 圣家节在圣诞节八日庆期内主日,若遇上圣诞节在主日,圣家节则移於12月30日。

 教会建立了圣家节,为强调基督降世成人,带给我们家庭的最佳模范,让我们效法圣家的榜样。

12/28 St. Caterina Volpicelli

(1839-1893) Foundress of the Congregation of the Servants of the Sacred Heart

Caterina Volpicelli was born into an upper middle-class Neapolitan family on 21 January 1839 from which she received a sound human and religious formation. She was taught literature, languages and music at the Royal Educational Institute of St Marcellino by Margherita Salatino (the future foundress, with Bl. Ludovico da Casoria, of the Franciscan Grey Sisters of St Elizabeth). She belongs to that array of “apostles of the poor and marginalized” who in 19th-century Naples were a sign of the presence of Christ, the Good Samaritan, who comes close to all who are injured in body and spirit.

Caterina had been trying to outshine her sister in society, frequently going to the theatre and the ballet, but prompted by the Lord's Spirit who revealed God's plan to her through the voice of wise and holy spiritual directors, she soon gave up the transient pleasures of an elegant and carefree life, to adhere with generous decision to a vocation of perfection and holiness.

Her chance meeting with Bl. Ludovico da Casoria on 19 September 1854 at La Palma, Naples, as she herself says, was “a rare stroke of prevenient grace, charity and favor from the Sacred Heart, delighted by the poverty of his servant”. Bl. Ludovico led her to join the Third Order Franciscans and indicated to her the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus as the one goal of her life, inviting her to remain in society to be a “fisher of souls”. Guided by her confessor, the Barnabite Fr Leonardo Matera, on 28 May 1859 Caterina entered the Perpetual Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament, but she soon left, for serious health reasons. Caterina's confessor showed her the monthly leaflet of the Apostleship of Prayer in France; from him she received detailed information about this new association with the diploma of Messenger, the first in Naples. In July 1867, Fr Ramière visited the palace of Largo Petrone in Naples, where Caterina was considering establishing her apostolic activities “to revive love for Jesus Christ in hearts, in families and in society”. The Apostleship of Prayer would be the cornerstone of Caterina's whole spiritual edifice and would permit her to cultivate her ardent love of the Eucharist and her outreach to others.

With the first messengers, on 1 July 1874, Caterina founded the new institute of “Servants of the Sacred Heart”, at first approved by the Cardinal Archbishop of Naples, the Servant of God Sisto Riario Sforza, and later, on 13 June 1890, by Pope Leo XIII who granted the new religious family the “Decree of praise”.

Concerned about the lot of the young, she then opened the orphanage of the Margherites, founded a lending library and set up the Association of the Daughters of Mary, with the wise guidance of Venerable Mother Rosa Carafa Traetto (d. 1890).

She soon opened other houses: in Naples, in the Sansevero Palace and then at the La Sapienza Church in Ponticelli, where the Servants distinguished themselves in nursing cholera victims in 1884 and in Minturno, Meta di Sorrento and Rome. On 14 May 1884, the new Archbishop of Naples, Cardinal Guglielmo Sanfelice, osb, consecrated the Shrine dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus which Caterina Volpicelli had had built next to the Mother House of her institutions. She built it specifically for adoration in reparation, as requested by the Pope, to support the Church in difficult times for religious freedom and Gospel proclamation.

Caterina's participation in the first National Eucharistic Congress celebrated in Naples in 1891 (19-22 November), crowned the apostolate of the Foundress of the Servants of the Sacred Heart. Caterina Volpicelli died in Naples on 28 December 1894, offering her life for the Church and for the Holy Father.

http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/saints/2009/ns_lit_doc_20090426_volpicelli_en.htm

Eucharist quotes (12/28 St. Caterina Volpicelli)

With a great devotion to the Eucharist, and to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, St. Caterina founded the Congregation of The Servants of the Sacred Heart and, at the request of Pope Leo XII, built a shrine in Ponticelli Italy for adoration and reparation. Throughout her life she strongly supported Eucharistic Adoration and took part in the first National Eucharistic Congress in Italy in 1891.

12月29日:圣多玛 斯.百 克(主教丶殉道) St. Thomas Becket

 圣人於一一一八年在伦敦出生。及长,先任坎特伯雷教区神职,又任英王掌玺大臣,一一六二年被选为主教。竭力保卫教会权利,不惜与亨利 二世冲 突;因 此被迫充军至法国,达六年之久;返国後,仍多方受苦;一一七○年,为国王侍兵所杀害。

Eucharist quotes (12/29 St. Thomas Becket)

St. Thomas Beckett, in his writings, indicates he was often in adoration before the Most Blessed Sacrament: “If you do not harken to me who have been wont to pray for you in an abundance of tears and with groanings not a few before the Majesty of the Body of Christ.”

12/30 Ven. Andrew Beltrami

(1870 to 1897) Salesian Priest

Andrew Beltrami was born in Omegna, in the province of Novara, on June 24, 1870. In his family he received a bountiful education in Christian values. Andrew, with his lively character, was tempted in his virtue during adolescence by a bad companion, but his frequent reception of the sacraments, together with his firm will, made him a lad whom many held in high esteem.

“Make him a saint” said his mother

His parents wanted to enroll him at the Salesian College at Lanzo, where he entered in October 1883. He distinguished himself in his studies and the exercise of Christian virtue. His vocation matured during this time. Later he would say: “The Lord set an intimate conviction in my heart, that the only way forward for me was to be a Salesian”. His mother, entrusting him to the Novice Master, said: “Make him a saint”. In 1886 he received the clerical habit at Foglizzo from Don Bosco, who said of him: “There is only one Beltrami”. In the two years, 1888-1889, he spent in Turin-Valsalice he completed two three year subjects. Cztaroryski among his acquaintances

During this time he came to know the Polish Prince Augustus Czartoryski, who had recently entered the Congregation. He soon became ill with tuberculosis, and it would be Fr Beltrami - who quickly became his spiritual friend - who would be his guardian angel at Valsalice and in those places where he was in convalescence. He wrote: “I am aware that I have been looking after a saint, an angel”. Later, Fr Andrew himself took ill and, like his holy confrere, experienced his suffering with inner joy.

Sacrificial dimension of the Salesian charism He offered himself as a victim of love for the conversion of sinners and for the consolation of those who suffered, living out his motto: “Neither recovery nor death, but live to suffer”. Fr Beltrami fully accepted the sacrificial dimension of the Salesian charism, as desired by its founder, Don Bosco. The Salesian Cleric Louis Variara, then a student of philosophy at Valsalice, was struck deeply by Fr Andrew, and here discovered the roots of the spirituality of the future Daughters of the Sacred Hearts: Living joyfully with Jesus one’s vocation as victim.

Ordained four years before he died

Ordained priest by Bishop Cagliero, he gave himself to contemplation and the apostolate of the pen. His very strong desire for holiness took over his whole existence including the pain and ceaseless work. He was exact in his observance of the Rule, and had a burning love for Don Bosco and the Congregation. In the four years of life that were his after his ordination, he continued praying and writing.

It is worth noting his Italian translation of the first volumes of the critical edition of the works of St Francis de Sales. When he died on December 30, 1897, he was 27 years of age. His body is laid to rest in the church at Omegna, his native village.

The ordinary process began on April 21, 1911. He was declared Venerable on December 5, 1966.

Eucharist quotes (12/30 Ven. Andrew Beltrami)

“Wherever I may be I will often think of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. I will fix my thoughts on the holy Tabernacle — even when I happen to wake up at night — adoring Him from where I am, calling to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, offering up to Him the action I am performing. I will install one telegraph cable from my study to the church, another from my bedroom, and a third from our refectory; and as often as I can, I will send messages of love to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.”

12月31日:圣西物斯 德一 世(教宗) St. Sylvester I

 圣人於公元三一四年被祝圣为罗马教会主教,在君士坦丁大帝时代治理教会.当时多纳特裂教与亚略异端猖獗。三三五年逝世,葬於撒拉里亚 路普利西 拉坟 地。

 圣人诞生於罗马,生年不详。年纪渐长时,从当时的教宗St. Marcellinus的手中领受铎品,当时刁克先皇帝(Diocletian)正准备大兴教难。圣人经历过恐怖的迫害时期,也见证过刁克先与马西米盎 (Maximian)在政争中的衰败,并且还目睹了君士坦丁大帝於312年时所获得的伟大胜利。二年後,圣人继St. Melchiades之後,被选为罗马的主教,亦即教会的首牧。尼西亚大公会议就是在他教宗的任内召开的(First Council of Nicaea, AD 325),但当时因年事已高,无法亲自主持会议,於是便差遣宗座大使代他前往与会。该议会所签署所有法令,其名都列在亚历山大黎雅与安提约等宗主教 (Patriarchs)的签署之前;他还曾在罗马召开公议会谴责亚略(the heresies of Arius)等异端。

 一般人提起这位教宗的同时,都会联想到「米兰诏书」(Edict of Milan)丶教会合法化丶尼西亚大公会议丶以及几座包括圣若望拉特朗(St. John Lateran)等宏伟的大殿(basilicas)等事件。然而,这些关键性的事件,大多都与君士坦丁大帝有关,或是由他所策划的。因此,很多圣人和这 位罗马皇帝的传奇便开始流传着,但大多无历史根据。

 不过,从历史来看,教会若要在政治强势的君士坦丁大帝面前,保持立场的超然与独立,那麽就非得要有一位坚强且充满智慧的教宗来领导不 可;圣人 就是 这样的一位伟大教宗,他从314年(314年的1月)担任宗座职务以来,直到335年过世(335年的12月31日)为止,都致力於使教会超然於罗马帝国 的政治影响之外。关於圣人教宗任内的所有行实,则都记载在《Liber Pontificalis》一书里。

 至於传奇中提及,他曾亲自为君士坦丁付洗,则纯属虚构。史实显示:君士坦丁大帝是在Eusebius主教的手中,在靠近名为 Nicomedia的 城市里领受圣洗的。不过,圣人与君士坦丁之间的微妙关系,常为世人所乐道,是中世纪学者的主要关切之一,因为它直接牵涉到宗教与政治互动的议题。教宗思维 二世(Pope Silvester II , 999-1003)亦因与当时的皇帝奥图三世(Otto III)过从甚密,因此为效法圣人,沿用了这个名号。

 圣人担任圣教会首牧之职达24年又11个月之久,最後於主後335年的12月31日过世。由於他的庆日是在12月31日,因此近代也 常称除夕 为 「Sylvester」。