Friday, January 1, 2010

Mother of God (Jan. 4 Pax Sinica Article)

Happy New Year!

I am not feeling too well these few days, and so I “cheated” on my sermons today. I used my BC Catholic newspaper article for January 4 for my sermons today. But during the sermons, I inserted a good number stories not found on the article.

Let’s entrust this new year to the loving care of Our Lady.

English Sermon:

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Chinese Sermon:

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Here is my article for the BC Catholic (January 4):

Hail Mary, full of grace

We have just celebrated the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God on January 1. Catholics the world over have devotion to Mary. According to spiritual writer, Father Adolphe Tanquerey, the word devotion means devotedness and that means gift of self. We give ourselves to Our Lady and, through her, to God. Tanquerey teaches us to give her our intellect, will, heart, and whole being.

Profound Veneration

We honour Our Lady with our intellect by profoundly revering her. The dignity of the Mother of God is the foundation of veneration for Mary. When we pray the Hail Mary, we address her, “Holy Mary, Mother of God.”

In these words, we express our firm faith in the doctrine of the Catholic Church that she is truly the Mother of God. Mary brought forth Jesus Christ, who, in virtue of the hypostatic union, is true God and true man. St. Alphonsus urged, “May the two names so sweet and so powerful, of Jesus and Mary, be always in our hearts and on our lips.”

Absolute Confidence

We give our will to Mary by an absolute confidence in her. This confidence is founded on two facts: the power and the goodness of Mary.

As Mother of God, she is powerful over the heart of her divine Son. As our Mother, she has deep affection for us, and she is devoted to our well-being. In fact, the foundations of our devotion to Mary are her titles of Mother of God and Mother of men.

Our confidence to Our Lady should be firm and universal. It must be firm in spite of our sins and miseries. We call Our Lady “Refuge of Sinners” and “Comforter of the Afflicted.” Our confidence must be universal. According to Tanquerey, confidence to Mary “must extend to all the graces we need for conversion, for spiritual growth, for final perseverance, for preservation amidst dangers, trials and difficulties.”

The faithful invoke Our Lady with the titles “Mother of Perpetual Help” and “Mother of Divine Grace,” St. Alphonsus said, “Such is the compassion, such is the love which Mary bears us, that she is never tired of praying for us.”

Tender Love

We use our heart to honour Mary by the gift of a tender and childlike love. Tanquerey points out that our love for Mary should be complacent, benevolent, and filial.

Complacency is delighting in her greatness, virtues, and privileges.

Benevolence is the sincere desire she be better known and better loved.

Filialness is tenderness without reserve.

St. Alphonsus exhorted, “After the love which we owe Jesus Christ, we must give the chief place in our heart to the love of His Mother Mary.”

Imitation

We honour Mary with our whole being by copying, as much as humanly possible, all her virtues. St. Louis de Montfort teaches us to perform all our actions “through Mary, with Mary, and in Mary.” Through her intercession, we ask the grace to imitate her. We consider her as a model and a helper.

We should ask ourselves, ‘what would Mary do in this situation?’ We should ask her to help us to do the right thing. In her, we do things with dependence on Our Lady. We take her point of view and enter her plans, doing things as she did them for God's glory and honor. St. Alphonsus exclaimed, “Blessed are the actions enclosed between two Hail Mary’s.”

Let us enter this New Year under the maternal care of Our Lady, and resolve to practice devotion to her each day. St. Alphonsus promised, “If you persevere until death in true devotion to Mary, your salvation is certain.”

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萬福瑪利亞

我們剛在一月一日慶祝了聖母「天主之母」的瞻禮。全世界有天主教教徒的角落,都有對聖母的敬禮。據靈修書籍的作者亞道.鄧奎利Adolphe Tanquerey神父解釋,「敬禮」一詞,含有「奉獻」——等於把自己奉獻——之意。我們把自己奉獻給聖母,通過她,奉獻給天主。鄧奎利神父教我們,把個人的理智、意志、心靈,甚至整個人,都奉獻給聖母。

深切的敬禮

我們以理智深深地尊敬聖母。 「天主之母」是聖母品位尊榮的基礎,我們明白應予她致以崇高的敬重。當我們誦唸「聖母經」中的「天主聖母瑪利亞」,就是宣認聖教會奉聖母為「天主的母親」的當信道理:聖母把兩性(天主性和人性)結合的耶穌帶到世上來。聖亞豐索Alphonsus極力主張:「願耶穌、瑪利亞甘飴和大能的聖名,常在我們心內和口頌之中。」

絕對的信賴

我們把意志完全交付與聖母,皆因信賴她的大能及善良——作為天主的母親,在她聖子心中,具有一定的能力;作為我們的母親,她深愛我們、願意盡其所能,裨益我們。

事實上,我們對聖母的敬禮,建基於她是「天主之母」及「眾人之母」。

我們對聖母的信賴應該是堅定和全然的。不管我們的罪咎或憂傷有多大,對聖母的信賴應常是堅定的,因為她是「罪人之托」、「憂苦之慰」。我們對聖母的信賴,也應是全然的。正如鄧奎利神父說:「委於聖母的信賴,應包括我們皈依或靈性上的聖寵,也在我們陷危難、受試探、面困境,和處於臨終的時刻,完全交托給聖母。」聖母亦被譽為「永援聖母」、「天主寵愛之母」。聖亞豐索說:「因聖母瑪利亞對我們的愛,她會不厭其煩地為我們祈禱。」

親切的愛

我們要以心靈來恭敬聖母。我們對她的愛應該是親切及赤誠的。

鄧奎利神父指出,對聖母的愛,要

一)悠然自得:滿足於聖母的偉大,她的美德和優越;

二)願被景仰:祈望聖母被顯揚、被眾人愛戴;

三)心存孝愛:要毫無吝惜地、親切地愛聖母。

聖亞豐索提議:「僅隨着對耶穌的愛,對聖母的愛應置首位。」

效法聖母

當我們竭能效法聖母和她的德行, 就是以整個人來敬禮聖母。聖類斯.蒙福Louis de Montfort指出:我們的操守要「藉着聖母、偕同聖母、在聖母內」。「藉着聖母」:藉聖母的轉禱,得賞效法她所需的聖寵;「偕同聖母」:以聖母為我們的楷模與扶祐者;要常撫心自問『聖母在這情况下會如何處理?』祈求她幫助我們的行為,是無可指責;「在聖母內」:在任何事情上依賴聖母,尋求她的觀點和意願,全以光榮天主、敬愛天主為目的。

聖亞豐索推崇說:「在兩遍「聖母經」之間所做的事是福的!」

讓我們把這新的一年付托給聖母,每天敬禮她。聖亞豐索肯定「衷誠敬愛聖母至死者,必蒙得救之恩!」