Friday, July 31, 2009

Little Pictorial Life of St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

These are antique pictures (ca. 1888) on the life of St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (Feast Day: August 1st).

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THE SAINT AS A YOUTH IN PRAYER.

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Once, when Alphonsus was at play with some comrades at a country-seat belonging to Prince della Riccia, one of them said to him angrily: “I thought you said, you did not know the game.” And he added an indecent word. Alphonsus was shocked, and said: “Why offend God for such a trifle? Here is your money.” So saying, he threw it on the ground and left his playfellows.

In the evening, after seeking him in every direction, they found him at length in a solitary part of the garden, kneeling before a statue of the Blessed Virgin, and so absorbed in God, that he heard nothing of what took place around him.

THE SAINT PUT HIS SWORD ON THE ALTAR OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN.

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 Without delay he entered the nearest church, that of the Redemption of Slaves, knelt down before the altar, and besought Jesus and Mary to accept the offer of his person. He renounced his right of primogeniture, made a resolution to enter a religious order, and placed his sword on the altar of the Blessed Virgin as a pledge of inviolable fidelity to his promise. This day of grace was a marked one in his life, and he always spoke of it afterwards as the day of his conversion.

THE SAINT TENDS THE SICK.

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Grace prevailed in him: his only pleasure was found in prayer, meditation, spiritual reading and visits to the hospital for incurables.

Once while visiting there, he heard a voice say: “Why remain any longer in the world?” At first he paid no attention, thinking it a track of the imagination   but, when about to leave the hospital, he saw himself enveloped in a splendid light, the house seemed to fall down, and he heard again the same voice saying: “Why remain longer in the world?” Then he stood still, and exclaimed, weeping, “O Lord, too long have I resisted Thy grace: here I am; do with me according to Thy will.”

APPARITION OF THE B. V. TO THE SAINT.

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Alphonsus was called by God to found a Congregation of Missionaries, who should assist the most abandoned souls. In spite of the greatest opposition he laid the foundation of his Congregation by erecting the first house at Scala, November 9th, 1732. He and his first companions devoted themselves to the work of their own sanctification and the instruction of ignorant sinners. In the neighborhood of their house was a grotto, where the Blessed  Virgin appeared to her Servant and bestowed on him the most exalted graces. In his old age he was heard exclaim: “O my grotto, my sweet grotto! Ah, might I but visit you again, since long before Mary revealed to me there so many delightful things.

THE SAINT PERSEVERES IN HIS VOCATION.

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Dear father,” said Alphonsus, “I see that you suffer for my sake. However, I must declare, that I no longer belong to this world: God has called me, and I am determined to follow his voice. I pray you, bless your child.”

On hearing this his father become silent from emotion. For three hours he clasped his beloved son in his arms, weeping and repeating these words: “My son, why will you leave me? Oh, my son, I don’t deserve this treatment. Never could I have believed such a thing of you. My son, do not leave me!”

It was a bitter struggle, and Alphonsus declared that he had never had such another trial; that but for his confidence in God, he would had been overpowered.

MORTIFICATION OF THE SAINT.

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Even when Alphonsus was ninety years old he still mixed bitter herbs in his food, and could not be persuaded to take meat on the days of fasting and abstinence ordered by the Church, nor on Wednesdays. Every Saturday he fasted, and abstained the whole day from drinking. In fear of making a mistake, he often asked Brother Antonio what day of the week it was. Once, on a Friday, while at Rome, he was harassed with pain and fatigue. His superior ordered him to be served with meat, but Alphonsus refused to eat it: then pronouncing a benediction, he made the sign of the cross over the meat, and at the same instant the meat was changed into fish.

 

THE SAINT’S LOVE OF THE POOR. 

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 In every poor and unhappy creature Alphonsus beheld the living image of Jesus Christ: hence arose his great charity. From the very beginning of his episcopate he resolved so to husband the revenues of his See so as to employ it all in the service of the church and the poor, keeping only a small portion for his on subsistence; even his patrimony and his personal income was used for that purpose. Very often he exhausted all, so that he had nothing left to give, and found himself in want. When, during the famine of 1763, he was at a loss what to do in order to assist his beloved poor, he sold his episcopal cross and ring.

 

APPARITION OF OUR LADY OF FOGGIA TO S. ALPHONSUS.

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Another event occurred, which raised still higher, at Foggia, the already high idea that they had of the sanctity of Alphonsus. He was preaching, one evening, in the presence of all the people, over the high altar. Whilst he was extolling the glory of the mother of God, his hearers thought that they saw an angel rather than a man. Suddenly they beheld a beaming ray of light detach itself from the countenance of Mary, shoot across the whole church, and come to rest on the face of Alphonsus. At the same instant he was ravished in ecstasy, and raised several feet above the pulpit: on seeing this the people burst into shouts of joy, which were heard at a great distance from the church and which drew thither a large number of spectators. More than four thousand persons witnessed the miracle, and several striking conversions were the happy result of it.

SAINT ALPHONSUS ON HIS DEATHBED.

imageNo sooner had the tidings of Alphonsus’ last illness spread, than all the Rectos and the Fathers and Brothers desired to receive the last blessing of their beloved and holy Founder, and the witness his happy death. God glorified his servant, who now, as during life, gave proof  of the highest perfection. Though quite insensible, he was ordered under obedience by Father Villani, his director, to give his blessing to the Congregation. At the word obedience he revived, and raising his hand blessed the Fathers and Brothers, then the physician who attended him, afterwards the king, princes, and all the magistrates; finally he blessed his former diocese and the Nuns of the order of the M. Holy Redeemer.

He died August 1st, 1787, surrounded by his weeping children.

ANGELS BEAR ALPHONSUS TO HEAVEN.

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It pleased God to glorify his servant immediately after his death, and to perform miracles at the invocation of his name. Among many facts, the following may serve to prove the truth of these words.

On August 2nd, Maria Fusco brought her nephew Joseph, a child one year old, who was almost dying to the body of Alphonsus, and made him touch the holy remains: the child was instantaneously cured. Next day some images were spread before little Joseph, among which was one of Alphonsus; on seeing it, the infant grasped it in its tiny hand, kissed it, and pressed it to its forehead, then pointing to Heaven, it exclaimed: “Alphonsus in Heaven, Alphonsus in Heaven!” The child had never uttered a word before, and had never heard the name of Alphonsus.

In order to ascertain the truth of this miracle they changed the image with another similar one, but the child would not take it, and called out: “No, no, it is not he!” It was soothed after receiving the image of Alphonsus in its hands, and cried out: “The saint in Heaven, Alphonsus in Heaven!”

This wonderful evidence of a child, as yet unable to speak, increased greatly the veneration for Alphonsus.

THE RELICS OF SAINT ALPHONSUS MARY, AT NOCERA DI PAGANI.

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The day after the holy death of the Saint, a painter, uninvited, came from Naples to take the portrait of Alphonsus; he also took a cast of his face in plaster. Then the body was put in a leaden coffin, provided with six seals of the Cathedral-chapter, four of the town council of Pagani, and two of the Congregation. Besides this, it was locked with three different keys, one of which was confided to the care of the Prince of Polleca, Don Joseph Capano Orsini, who represented the family at the funeral; another key was given to the municipal council, while the third remained with the rector of the house.

These precautions having been made, the coffin was laid at the left of the altar.

A Carmelite Nun, who died in the odour of sanctity at Ripa Candida, saw Alphonsus in the eternal glory, encircled by a radiant light.

Saintly Quote of the Day (2009年8月1日)

Christ Himself guides the bark of Peter. For this reason it can not perish, although He sometimes seems to sleep.---ST. ANTONINUS.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Saintly Quote of the Day (2009年7月31日)

Put not off till to-morrow what you can do to-day.---ST. IGNATIUS

 

Audio version of my Pax Sinica article

Here is the “audio version” of my article on St. John Vianney. 

There are different groups at St. Patrick’s that meet once of week. As spiritual director of these groups, I am giving them a small talk each week.

From now on, my weekly talk for them will base on the weekly article for Pax Sinica. The weekly talk will normally contain a bit more details than my weekly article.

Please enjoy this recording on St. John Vianney.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Saintly Quote of the Day (2009年7月30日)

It suffices not to perform good works; we must do them well, in imitation of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom it is written, “He doeth all things well.”---ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

 

I really like this Saintly Quote. It reminds me of a number of holy priests I have met. Especially Father Donald Neumann who died on September 6th, 2003.

A quiet day for Pax Sinica

Vancouver is still under the heat wave. It’s very hot outside. Today I spent most of the time in quiet prayer & writing articles for Pax Sinica. The B.C. Catholic is having a summer break now, the next issue will be August 24th. I am now a bit ahead of schedule, and am already working on the article for September 14th.  While I was praying and thinking about the articles, I felt that the Pax Sinica is like a “big pulpit” for me to preach to many people in both Chinese and English. I am praying for the readers of the articles, and I ask you please do pray for me that I may write what the Good Lord  wants me to write.

Today I was very happy to meet 2 Salesians (a priest & a brother) from Macau and had lunch with them. I toured them around St. Patrick’s Parish.

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Eucharistic Miracle in Buenos Aries

This is an amazing and great 9-minute video worth watching.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Power of Praise and Thanksgiving

This evening (under the heat wave), we gathered at St. Mary, and listened to a wonderful presentation by Jeff Cavins on “The Power of Praise and Thanksgiving”.

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Here are some things  I have learned this evening:

  • When faced with the battle of real life, praise should goes first.
  • To praise God, we must know Him and His plan.
  • Along with praise, we should have a thankful heart like Our Lady. 

Here are some “pointers” to  praise & thanksgiving:

1. praise as a form of discipline (not depend on feelings)

2. thanks for small & ordinary things

3. in all circumstances

4. should set aside time each day to thank God

5. publicly & corporally (esp. Holy Mass)

6. voluntarily fast from something that we take it for granted

7. keep a record of God’s blessings

8. show gratitude & thankfulness to people

9. if suffering from anxiety & worry, then raise and give thanks.

Saintly Quote of the Day (2009年7月29日)

They who voluntarily commit sin show a contempt for life eternal, since they willingly risk the loss of their soul.---ST. GREGORY THE GREAT.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Saintly Quote of the Day (2009年7月28日)

When you covet that which delights you, think not only of the sweet moments of enjoyments, but of the long season of regret which must follow.---ST. BERNARD.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My Sunday Sermon for 17th Sunday

Today I preached about right attitude towards the works of God, and right attitude towards friendship.

 

Attitude towards the works of the God

  • We should do whatever we can. If we do our best, God will do the rest.
  • We should try, like St. Andrew, to bring others to Christ.

 

Attitude towards friendship

  • Do not befriend God or others just to get something out of them.
  • Our love must be God-centered, not self-centered. Must be self-giving, not selfish.

 

The Sacrifice of the Mass helps to form right attitudes in our hearts.

Normally, our interior dispositions determine what our external expression of them shall be. Here [at the Mass] the external expression is given to us and we have to make our interior dispositions correspond to it.---DOM EUGENE BOYLAN, O.C.S.O.

 

My English Sermon:

Download

My Chinese Sermon:

 Download

 

Here is the website for my other sermons.

Saintly Quote of the Day (2009年7月27日)

How little is required to be a saint! It suffices to do in all things the will of God.---ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

Wouldst thou know what thou art? Thou art that to which thy heart turns most frequently.---VEN. BARTHOLOMEW OF MARTYRS.

3 Baptisms Today

Today I had the joy of baptizing 3 babies. As mentioned on my Sunday sermon: “you never know what these children may some day become.” We should do our best to bring them to God, and the grace of  God will do the rest. 

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Today is July 26th, hence I blessed the babies with the relic of St. Anne. I also gave them “baby size” brown Scapular.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Saintly Quote of the Day (2009年7月26日)

Charity requires us always to have compassion on human infirmity.---ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA.

 

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St. Anne, pray for us !

Baptism Celebration

This morning we had a beautiful Baptism cerebration for 2 babies. The baby girl was from Paris and the baby boy was from Gibsons. It was a lovely extended family. May the good Lord bless and protect these children and their family in years to come.

 

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I baptized the elder sister of the baby girl 2 years ago……

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Saintly Quote of the Day (2009年7月25日)

It is in vain that we cut off the branches of evil, if we leave intact the root, which continually produces new ones.---ST. GREGORY THE GREAT.

 

 

St. James, pray for us !

My 1st Article for The B.C. Catholic: Priestly Tasks (司 祭 職)

Beginning with this issue of The B.C. Catholic newspaper, I am writing for a new column, Pax Sinica (Chinese Peace 華之安).

Here is the Editorial section of this issue where the General Editor of the B.C. Catholic, Paul Schratz, explaining the reason of the initiative.

Here is my article in both Chinese & English at The B.C. Catholic website.

Below is my first article for Pax Sinica in honor of the 150th Anniversary of the death of St. John Vianney.

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司 祭 職

生命中,不少事情都和數目「三」扯上關係。首推當然是天主的「三位一體」;想不到,聖若翰.維雅納John Vianney的善牧工具,亦離不開與「三」有關——獻祭台、講道台和告解室。

甫進入天主教聖堂,我們便會注意到三件擺設,與神父的司祭職有莫大關連:獻祭台、講道台和告解室。神父秉承基督的司祭、先知和君王職,聖化、教誨和領導眾人的靈魂。聖若翰.維雅納則是這方面傑出的牧者。

獻祭台:聖若翰.維雅納神父任亞爾斯Ars本堂司鐸時,花了至少八年時間,勸勉教友守瞻禮主日及參與彌撒。主日彌撒聖祭是我們基督徒生活的中心,天主實在也應該佔我們心中的首席位;所以,我們應該藉參與每主日彌撒,與天主相遇,作為不可或缺的要事。很多人曾體驗在主日參與彌撒,祈求天主降福他們的工作,果然感到事半功倍。聖若翰.維雅納神父在這方面更具心得,皆因他常奉天主為先。

講道台:每天早上十一時,聖若翰.維雅納會在一個細小木做的講道台,教授要理。聖人並非雄辯舌滑之人,但他的言詞誠懇,發自肺腑,因此能感動眾人,激勵心靈,致使不少人被感化,更有意效法他晉鐸或修道者。聖若翰.維雅納並不止於口訓,亦身體厲行。他渡極樸素的生活,少餐少眠,為他的堂區教友齋戒祈禱。他的家訪,令教友們深感他們牧者的關愛。毋怪亞爾斯的人都公認:「我們的本堂神父是位聖者,我們要聽從他。」

告解室:聖若翰.維雅納長時間在告解室聽告解,即使在寒冬,他仍會每天用上十一至十二小時聽告解,炎夏更用上十六小時!聽告解時,聖人只消言詞一二,他的聖德足以轉化人心。隨着牧民經驗的增長,聖若翰.維雅納更趨親切溫婉。告解室內,聖若翰.維雅納神父撫慰痛苦者、善導迷茫者。有說道:「沒有一個無知的人,不被若翰.維雅納神父所啓發;沒有一個正直的靈魂,不被若翰.維雅納神父所鼓舞,以臻聖境。」

將到的八月四日,正是紀念聖若翰.維雅納神父一百五十週年的冥辰,是本年「司鐸年」的一個特別日子。

請為我們眾司鐸祈禱,讓我們效法聖若翰.維雅納和藉他的代禱,使我們以更大的愛和聖德,克盡鐸職。

Priestly tasks....

In life, a lot of things come in threes. The Holy Trinity springs to mind first, but less well known is the way St. John Vianney tended his flock with the altar, the pulpit, and the confessional.

The Year for Priests is under way. Aug. 4 will be the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Vianney. This will be a very special day in the Year for Priests.

When we enter a Catholic church, three things remind us of the works of a priest: the altar, the pulpit, and the confessional. Priests continue these priestly, prophetic, and kingly functions of Christ: to make holy, to teach, and to guide souls. St. John Vianney was an outstanding pastor of souls in this regard.

Altar
After St. John Vianney became the parish priest in Ars (or the cure of Ars), he spent at least eight years working for the proper observance of Sunday. Sunday Mass ought to be at the centre of our Christian life, he thought, and God should occupy the first place in our hearts. We express this by placing our weekly encounter with Him, Sunday Mass, at the top of our priorities.

Many people in the saint’s small French town experienced that; if they made time for God on Sunday, God would bless their works. Even though they did less, they could accomplish more. St. John Vianney was able to accomplish so much because he put God first.

Pulpit
Every day at 11 a.m. St. John Vianney would deliver a catechism lesson at the “catechism stall” (a small wooden pulpit). The saint had little human eloquence, but he preached from the heart, and his talks touched many souls. Some were converted; some were inspired to the priesthood or the religious life.

St. John Vianney preached not just by words, but also by deeds. He led a very austere life, with little food and sleep. He fasted and prayed for his people. He personally visited his parishioners, who sensed that they were loved by their pastor. The people of Ars would say, “Our parish priest is a saint, and we must obey him.”

Confessional
One of the most remarkable things in the life of St. John Vianney was his long hours in the confessional. During winter he would spend 11 to 12 hours a day there, and in summertime, up to 16 hours.

In the confessional the saint would often guide souls with just a few words or a sentence, but his words had the authority of holiness to change people’s hearts.

As St. John Vianney grew in pastoral experience he became more tender and less severe. In the confessional, St. Vianney also consoled the afflicted and counselled the doubtful. It was said the saint “never encountered an ignorant person whom he did not enlighten, or a just whom he did not encourage and urge on towards perfection.”

Please pray for us priests, that through the examples and prayers of St. John Vianney we may fulfil our priestly duties with greater love and holiness.

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St. John Vianney, pray for us !

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Saintly Quote of the Day (2009年7月24日)

The sufferings endured for God are the greatest proof of our love for Him.---ST. ALPHONSUS.

 

“Last Supper” with Fr. Justin

This evening, we had a “last supper” with Fr. Justin Huang. Fr. Justin will be leaving the end of this month for study in Italy. God willing, he will become a diplomat of the Holy See. I am certainly going to miss my good friend, Fr. Justin. Let’s keep him and his studies in our prayers.

From right to left: Fr. Aloysius Lou, Fr. Justin Huang & myself:

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Teresa (水媽) was the one who invited us:

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A group photo with Sr. Tang and friends:

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Please Pray for our New Project

Recently I am spending less time blogging because I am working with The B.C. Catholic Newspaper for a new project.

Beginning with the coming issue (July 27th) of The B.C. Catholic, I am going to write for a new weekly column: Pax Sinica (Chinese Peace) 華之安. The column will be in both Chinese and English.

My first article will be on St. John Vianney. And I will post the article in both languages in this blog as well. Please pray for this new project. I pray that the articles will help the readers to grow in their spiritual life.

Here is the post about our new column at the Busy Catholic Blog. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Another Powerful Pro-Life Ad.

Saintly Quote of the Day (2009年7月23日)

We should learn of Jesus Christ to be meek and humble of heart, and ask Him unceasingly for these two virtues. We ought, particularly, to avoid the two contrary vices which cause us to destroy with one hand what we seek to raise with the other.---ST. VINCENT DE PAUL.

 

St. Bridget of Sweden, pray for us!

Please Pray for a Baby

In your charity, please pray for the baby boy whom I baptized this evening in the hospital. May the Lord grant him health and grace.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Saintly Quote of the Day (2009年7月22日)

The reason why the lukewarm run so great a risk of being lost is because tepidity conceals from the soul the immense evil which it causes.---ST. ALPHONSUS.

 

St. Mary Magdalene, Pray for us!

Saintly Quote of the Day (2009年7月21日)

We should reflect on all our actions, exterior and interior, and before we commence, examine well if we are able to finish them.---VEN. JOHN TAULER.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Meeting Salesian Priests who taught my Parents

These few days, I am very happy to meet 2 Salesian priests from China: Fr. Ho (何廣凌神父) & Fr. Lau (劉志剛神父).

Fr. Lau taught my dad at Aberdeen Technical School (ATS)  香港仔工業學校 in Hong Kong. And Fr. Ho was the principal of my mom & uncle at Yuet Wah College (粵華中學) in Macau.

Together with Fr. Lou,we concelebrated a wedding Mass at Corpus Christi last Saturday:

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At the wedding banquet with Fr. Michael from Corpus Christi & my dad:

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This morning, Fr. Ho & Fr. Lau came to concelebrate Mass at St. Patrick’s. We went to Queen Elizabeth park:

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Here is the website of Don Bosco Alumni Association (BC) Canada.

 

Here is other photos of the visit of Fr. Ho & Fr. Lau.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

My Sunday Sermon for the 16th Sunday

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2 Main Points:

  • The rhythm of the Christian life: work & pray
  • The Good Shepherd guide, feed, & protect the sheep

Work & Pray:

  • Avoid extremes: activism and laziness.
  • Activism: too busy, not even have time for Sunday Mass or daily prayer
  • We must put God first by going to Sunday Mass. God will bless our works.
  • We need to pray, reflect, & read each day in order to grow spiritually.
  • To avoid laziness: our prayer life should influence the quality of t he fulfillment of our duties.

 

Guide, Feed, & Protect:

  • We need direction in this confused world. Christ gives us direction through the teachings of the Church.
  • Each Sunday we are fed by Christ with Word & Sacrament.
  • The graces of Christ protect us from the flesh, the world, & the devil.

My English Sermon:

Download

 

My Chinese Sermon:

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Here is the site of my other sermons.