Monday, September 7, 2009

Pax Sinica: 聖母瑪利亞的節日Feastdays of Mother Mary (September 7)

聖母瑪利亞的節日Father Anthony Ho

九月份是開學的月份:主角當然是學生,但請別忘了教師、神父的勞力。人類歷史中,最佳導師莫如耶穌基督,最優秀的學生莫如聖母瑪利亞。九月份內,我們會慶祝兩個聖母的節日 —— 九月八日是聖母誕辰瞻禮日,九月十五日是痛苦聖母瞻禮日。

聖母誕辰:

教會禮儀年曆中,只慶祝三個人的誕辰。第一個當然是耶穌在十二月二十五日的聖誕;第二個是九月八日的聖母誕辰;第三個是聖若翰洗者在六月二十四日的誕生。這三個人的共通,就是出生時,靈魂沒有原罪。

耶穌是天主降生成人,固然沒有原罪。因耶穌的功勞,聖母是始胎無玷(九個月前—— 十二月八日教會慶祝聖母無原罪瞻禮)。洗者聖若翰成孕時帶有原罪,但在母胎時已被赦免,致出生時沒有原罪。

聖母的身體實為天主的聖殿。此聖殿建始於其始胎無玷,在出生時則告完成。聖母自始已充滿聖寵,並成全完滿於聖寵。我們領受聖洗時也是充滿聖寵,亦應像聖母一樣成全於聖寵。

聖母的誕辰,等於向這失落的世界宣佈喜悅和救恩的臨近。本慶日早課的對經讚美着:「身為天主之母的貞女, 你的誕辰給普世帶來了喜訊, 因為由你生出了正義的太陽 —— 我們的天主基督; 祂為我們除去了咒罵, 帶來了幸福, 戰勝了死亡, 賜下了永生。」

痛苦聖母:

聖教會在九月十四日慶祝光榮勝利的十字架瞻禮,次日、九月十五日即為痛苦聖母瞻禮。兩個瞻禮日的相連,提醒聖母之苦,緣自她與聖子耶穌的愛和關係。耶穌和瑪利亞自生命的開始就亳無罪污。他們是帶給人類新生命的新亞當、新厄娃。耶穌以苦難聖死救贖整個人類,聖母以其憂苦協助將恩寵分施與人類。

我們在世逃躲不了痛苦憂患,但在痛苦憂患中,明白我們是被邀效法聖母,為眾靈的得救,把苦獻給天主。

聖女畢婕提議,每天虔唸七遍聖母經,向聖母七苦致意。

聖母七苦包括 ——

  • 第一苦:西默盎的預言,
  • 第二苦:逃難埃及,
  • 第三苦:找尋耶穌,
  • 第四苦:在苦路上與耶穌相遇,
  • 第五苦:站在苦架之下,
  • 第六苦:苦架上卸下耶穌聖屍,
  • 第七苦:埋葬耶穌。



Feastdays of Mother Mary

In this country September means back to school. The focus at this time of year, of course, is on the students, but we mustn’t forget the dedication and effort of our teachers and priests. In human history, the greatest teacher is Jesus Christ, and the best student is Our Lady. In this month the Church celebrates two beautiful feasts in Our Lady’s honour: the birth of Our Lady, on Sept. 8, and Our Lady of Sorrows, on Sept. 15.

The Birth of Mary

The Church celebrates the birthdays of three individuals in her liturgical calendar: the birth of Jesus on Dec. 25, the birth of Mary on Sept. 8, and the birth of St. John the Baptist on June 24. These three individuals were born without original sin. Jesus, the Son of God made man, was sinless. In view of the merits of Christ, Mary was free from original sin in the first moment of her life.

Nine months ago, on Dec. 8, we celebrated the sinlessness of Our Lady with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. St. John the Baptist was conceived with original sin, but he was sanctified in his mother’s womb, coming into the world sinless.

The body of Our Lady is a temple of God. The construction of this temple began at the Immaculate Conception and was completed at the birth of Mary. Our Lady was full of grace when she was born and she was perfected by grace. We were full of grace when we were baptized and we are going to be perfected by grace as well.

The birth of Mary announced joy and the near approach of salvation to a lost world. At the antiphon of Morning Prayer for the feast, we pray, “Your birth, O Virgin Mother of God, proclaims joy to the whole world, for from you arose the glorious Son of Justice, Christ our God; He freed us from the age-old curse and filled us with holiness; He destroyed death and gave us eternal life.”

Our Lady of Sorrows

On Sept. 14 the Church celebrates the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross. The next day we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. The closeness of these two feasts reminds us that the sorrow of Our Lady is the result of her love and closeness to her Son.

Jesus and Mary had no stain of original sin from the first moment of their earthly lives. They were to be the new Adam and the new Eve working for the salvation of the human race. Jesus won the grace of salvation for all people through His sufferings and Our Lady helped apply the grace of salvation to mankind through her sorrows.

Here on earth we cannot avoid suffering and pain. When we suffer we are invited to imitate Our Lady by offering up our sufferings to God. Thus the grace of salvation is applied to souls in need of God’s mercy.

Seven Sorrows

A good daily practice, recommended by St. Bridget of Sweden, is to say seven Hail Marys each day. This honours the Seven Sorrows and tears of Our Lady. These are:

  1. The prophecy of Simeon.
  2. The flight into Egypt.
  3. The loss Jesus in the temple.
  4. Meeting Jesus on the way to Calvary.
  5. Mary at the foot of the cross.
  6. Jesus being taken down from the cross.
  7. The burial of Jesus.

To read my previous Pax Sinica articles: please click here.