聖女傅天娜St. Faustina回憶神視寫道：「我看見耶穌被縛在圓柱，四個人輪流鞭打着祂，這個殘酷景象幾使我心跳停頓。我主給我說：『我實在所受的苦楚，比你眼見的 更甚。』祂告訴我，祂受皮肉之苦，是補贖我們犯不潔的罪。」
花地瑪Fatima的真福雅仙達Bl. Jacinta說：「下地獄的靈魂，最多是那些犯了情慾罪的人。」無疑，我們現今社會，犯情慾的罪甚是普遍。多年前，有一位神父製作了本小冊子，建議克服 情慾罪的五個步驟：一、默想大罪的可佈和天堂與地獄的永恆性，從而培育出克服罪惡的堅強意願。二、躲避和遠離犯罪的機會，包括蓄意發白日夢、看淫穢的書本 或瀏覽猥褻網站等。三、認清及改變負面的生命觀（例如自憐、慣於怠惰）和處世觀（例如嫉妒、憤世嫉俗）。四、實行一系列的神修活動；勤辦告解、領聖體，特 別敬禮聖母，都能有效地培育潔德。五、藉正當的日常生活活動和習慣（例如運動、身心嗜好、適量的社交），作為神修的輔助。
安道.鄧奎利Adolphe Tanquerey神父寫道：「潔德是天神之德，使我們肖似天神純潔的神性。潔德是樸實之德，是需要身心的克己節制始能修成。潔德是柔弱之德，只要意志稍 微薄弱便能摧毁；也因此，潔德是難守的德行，要長期抵制情慾才能保守。」潔德的荏蒻和幼嫩，需要同時修其它的德行，以作守護。安道.鄧奎利Adolphe Tanquerey神父建議這些輔助與守護性的德行，有：一、謙遜——自知軟弱，速離犯罪的機會。二、克己——約束對快感的追求，它是很多罪惡的根源。 三‧善盡本份——避免空閒引起犯罪的危機。四、全心愛天主——愛主的專注，省去不正當的愛念。
年輕的聖類斯.公撒格St. Aloysius Gonzaga (1568-1591)，是保守潔德的好榜樣，他一生從未犯過大罪，常以祈禱和克己渡日：每天用不少於一小時去默想，午夜跪在冰凍的石板上祈禱，每星期守 三日嚴齋，只以開水和麵包充飢，克制自己的眼目，從不注目異性。聖人當了皇后的侍從兩年，竟然承認「不知道皇后長相是怎樣的，只能以她的聲音辨認」！
Our sins hurt Jesus more than scourging
Last week we contemplated the First Sorrowful Mystery in this column. This week, the Second Sorrowful Mystery, the Scourging at the Pillar.
One night St. Faustina saw a vision regarding this mystery. She wrote, “I saw four men who took it in turns at striking the Lord with scourges. My heart almost stopped at the sight of these tortures. The Lord said to me, ‘I suffer even greater pain than that which you see,’ and Jesus gave me to know for what sins He subjected Himself to the scourging: these are sins of impurity.”
Blessed Jacinta of Fatima said, “More souls go to hell because of the sins of the flesh than for any other reason.” No doubt sins of the flesh are too common in our society today. A priest who wrote a booklet on overcoming sins of the flesh some years ago proposed five important steps:
- There must be a strong, persevering desire to overcome the sin. This desire can be fostered by meditating on the seriousness of one mortal sin and on the eternity of heaven and hell.
- All unnecessary occasions of sin (e.g. deliberate daydreams, obscene books or websites) must be given up.
- Wrong attitudes toward life (e.g. self-pity, habits of sloth) and toward others (e.g. envy, feelings of social inferiority) must be carefully analyzed and corrected.
- A positive program of spiritual activities must be undertaken. Frequent confession, frequent reception of Holy Communion, and personal devotion to Our Lady are powerful means to foster chastity.
- Use natural means (e.g. physical exercises, mental or artistic hobbies, reasonable social activity) as auxiliaries to the indispensable spiritual means.
A precious virtue
Father Adolphe Tanquerey wrote, “Chastity is rightly called the angelic virtue, because it likens us to the angels, who are pure by nature. It is an austere virtue, because we do not succeed in practising it unless we subdue the body and the senses by mortification.
“It is a frail virtue, tarnished by the least wilful failing. On this account it is a difficult virtue, since it cannot be observed except by a generous and constant struggle against the most tyrannical of passions.”
Chastity is a frail and delicate virtue that cannot be preserved unless it be protected by other virtues. According to Father Tanquerey, these other virtues are:
- “Humility, which produces self-distrust and prompts to flight from dangerous occasions.
- “Mortification, which by waging war against the love of pleasure, reaches the evil at its roots.
- “Devotion to the duties of state, which protects one from the perils created by idleness.
- “Love for God, which, by filling the heart, prevents it from giving itself over to dangerous affections.”
St. Aloysius Gonzaga (1568-1591) is a model of chastity. St. Robert Bellarmine, his confessor, was of the opinion that this young saint never committed a mortal sin in his life.
St. Aloysius combined prayer with mortification. He would meditate for an hour each day and would get up at midnight to pray on the stone floor. He fasted three days a week on bread and water.
He exercised custody of eyes: it was said that he never looked any woman in the face. After he had served the empress as a page for two years, a report was spread that she was coming into Italy, where he happened to be, and some congratulated him on the prospect of seeing his mistress again. He replied: “I shall not recognize her except by her voice, for I do not know her face.”
Some practices of the saints are more for our admiration than imitation, but we are all called to imitate their virtues. Let us imitate the virtues of prayer and mortification of St. Aloysius so as to be like him in purity of heart.