四十七年前的昨天，亦即一九六二年十月十一日，真福教宗若望廿三世召開梵蒂岡第二次大公會議The Second Vatican Council，所以聖教會以十月十一日為這位教宗的紀念日。
教宗年僅十四，已開始寫他個人的神修日記，後來他准許他的私人秘書，發行這些日記。他道：「這些日記寫下我靈魂的最深處... 在我死後，你可把它發行，希望能幫助那些有志作司鐸，及願意與天主更密切結合的人靈。」這就是教宗若望廿三世的「一個靈魂的日記」Journal of a Soul。藉着這書，我們可以看到，教宗若望廿三世是一個極其純潔和淳樸的人。
教宗若望廿三世（原名安哲盧.朗嘉肋Angelo Roncalli）出生於一八八一年，十四歲進入修院；他把特利騰大公會議Council of Trent給司鐸們的訓詞「連最小的過錯也要避免，在司鐸中小過錯也很嚴重」作為他生命的座右銘。安哲盧答應天主，連最微小的小罪也絕不會故意去犯！
安哲盧鍾愛聖善的純潔。為了保護潔德，他十六歲那年，把他為守潔德定的志向，託三位年青的聖人：聖類斯.公撒格St. Aloysius Gonzaga、聖達尼魯St. Stanislaus Kostka和聖若望.伯爾各滿St. John Berchmans轉禱，奉獻給至聖童貞瑪利亞。他所定的志向包括:每天為自己的潔德祈禱、克制偏情、緊守眼目，不看猥褻的海報或圖片，避免與異性較親切的接觸，節制食慾免陷貪饕。這些志向，提醒了我潔德的三大真素：第一，潔德是天主的禮物，我們要用祈禱去祈求和守護。第二，聖寵建於本性。因為我們本性的軟弱，所以一定要避開犯罪的機會。第三，純潔的身軀來自純潔的心。與別人交往時，內心要有純潔的情感和意願。
安哲盧. 朗嘉肋敬重聖方濟各.撒肋爵St. Francis de Sales。聖人的芳表，幫助安哲盧常保持謙遜、溫良、鎮靜。他感到天主要他完全效法聖方濟各。晉鐸前一年，一九零三年，聖方濟各瞻禮，安哲盧在他的神修日記預言似的寫下：「今天，我與最溫良的聖人，聖方濟各.撒肋爵一起，他是一位何等偉大的人物、神父和主教！如果我能像他，我不介意被選為教宗。」
Beloved Pope John XXIII
Forty-seven years ago, on Oct. 11, 1962, Blessed John XXIII opened the Second Vatican Council, so the Church commemorates him on Oct. 11.
Pope John began to write his spiritual diary about age 14. He told his personal secretary he could publish it. He said, “They are a more intimate part of me than anything else I have written; my soul is in these pages.”
“You may publish them after my death. They will do some good to souls who feel drawn toward the priesthood and more intimate union with God.”
In his book, Journal of a Soul, you can see that Pope John XXIII was a man of great purity and simplicity.
A man of purity
Born Angelo Roncalli in 1881, he entered the seminary at 14, taking as a rule of life words of the Council of Trent: “Let them also avoid minor faults, which in them would be very great.” He made a solemn promise to God to keep himself free from voluntarily committing the slightest venial sin.
Roncalli had a great love for holy purity. In order to protect this virtue, he made resolutions at the age of 16 and offered them to the Blessed Virgin Mary through the intercessions of three saintly youths: Sts. Aloysius Gonzaga, Stanislaus Kostka, and John Berchmans.
He resolved to pray every day for holy purity, to mortify his own feelings, to guard his eyes, to never look at posters or illustrations or visit shops that might contain indecent objects, to avoid familiarity with women, and to never be greedy or immoderate at the table.
These resolutions bring to mind three important truths regarding the virtue of purity. First, chastity is a gift from God, and we should obtain and preserve this gift through prayers.
Second, grace builds on nature. Because of the weakness of human nature, we should keep a distance from occasions of sin.
Third, purity of body comes from purity of heart. We keep our hearts pure by being watchful in regard to affections and intentions when dealing with others.
A man of simplicity
Roncalli had a great love for St. Francis de Sales. The example of this saint helped him to be more humble, gentle, and calm. On his feastday in 1903, a year before his ordination, Roncalli wrote in his diary: “I spent today in the company of St. Francis de Sales, my gentlest of saints. What a magnificent figure of a man, priest, and bishop. If I were like him, I would not mind even if they made me Pope.”
Roncalli resolved to follow the will of God through obedience to the Church. When he was ordained a bishop in 1925 he chose the motto Oboedientia et Pax (Obedience and Peace).
Bishop Roncalli was an apostolic delegate in the near east, then the nuncio to France. Some of his colleagues would “play politics,” but Bishop Roncalli chose sincerity and simplicity. He had deep faith rather than personal ambition.
In 1952 he wrote, “Simplicity of heart and speech! The older I grow the more clearly I perceive the dignity and the winning beauty of simplicity in thought, conduct, and speech: a desire to simplify all that is complicated and to treat everything with the greatest naturalness and clarity, without wrapping things up in trimmings and artificial turns of thought and phrase.”
When he became Pope John XXIII, he had great love for the Divine Office and the Rosary, and he urged priests to be faithful in praying the Divine Office.
He wrote, “The priest must shine as much in his doctrine as in his life, for doctrine without life makes a man arrogant, but life without doctrine makes him useless.”
Even with his busy schedule as a Pope, he prayed all 15 decades of the Rosary every day.
May Blessed John XXIII intercede for us, so that we may obtain that purity and simplicity of heart which leads to perfect love of God.
Here is my other Articles for Pax Sinica column of The BC Catholic newspaper