Thursday, April 15, 2010

The ABC of Divine Mercy - A: Ask for mercy 「第一部」——祈求慈悲

This article was published at the Pax Sinica column on The BC Catholic (April 12)

 

Last Sunday was Divine Mercy Sunday. Devotion to the Divine Mercy was proclaimed by St. Maria Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938), a Polish nun who received private revelations from Our Lord. These revelations were written down in the saint's personal diary.

They can be summed up with "ABC": A: ask for mercy; B: be merciful; and C: completely trust in Jesus. In these few weeks, we are going to explore each of these three elements.

 

A powerful prayer

On Sept. 14, 1935, the Lord Jesus taught St. Faustina a powerful prayer, the chaplet of Divine Mercy.

Here are the instructions given by Our Lord: "First of all, you will say one Our Father and Hail Mary and the I Believe in God. Then on the Our Father beads you will say the following words: 'Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.'

"On the Hail Mary beads you will say the following words: 'For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.' In conclusion, three times you will recite these words: 'Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.'"

 

Hope for sinners

The chaplet is a source of hope for sinners. Jesus said, "Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation. Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this chaplet only once, he would receive grace from My infinite mercy."

Our Lord told St. Faustina that He would grant great graces to souls who say the chaplet, and that it pleases Him to grant everything people ask of Him by saying the chaplet.

 

Comfort of the dying

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is a wonderful prayer for the dying. Jesus promised that those who pray the chaplet would be embraced by His mercy at the hour of death.

God the Father once said to St. Faustina, "At the hour of their death, I defend as My own glory every soul that will say this chaplet; or when others say it for a dying person, the indulgence is the same. When this chaplet is said by the bedside of a dying person, God's anger is placated, and unfathomable mercy envelops the soul, and the very depths of My tender mercy will be moved for the sake of the sorrowful Passion of My Son."

Jesus Himself said, "When they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the merciful Saviour."

St. Faustina experienced firsthand the power of the chaplet for the salvation of the dying. In the afternoon of Dec. 12, 1936, St. Faustina entered the ward of a dying person whose agony had begun at midnight. The saint heard a voice telling her to pray the chaplet. She prayed and the dying person suddenly opened her eyes and looked at the saint. Then she died with extraordinary peace.

A similar incident took place in the evening of March 22, 1937. A dying young man was in terrible agony. St. Faustina again heard a voice telling her to say the chaplet. Feeling the majesty and justice of God, the saint kept on begging for mercy for the young man.

She prayed God to grant him the grace of a happy death. Finally, his suffering ceased and he died peacefully. On some occasions the saint was able to see demons around the dying person, but while she prayed the chaplet the evil spirits fled and the dying died in the Lord with great trust and peace.

 

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上主日我們剛渡過了復活節第八天慶期,也就是眾所熟悉的「神聖慈悲主日」。神聖慈悲敬禮是由一位波蘭修女聖瑪利亞.傅天娜St. Maria Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938),得到主耶穌私人啓示後,向世界公告。私人啓示的詳情,均記載在聖人的日記中。整體而言,有關啟示可分三個部份:一、祈求慈悲;二、憐憫;三、信賴耶穌。我們就按次序,分週探討這三部份。

 

神效的禱文

一九三五年的九月十四日,主耶穌親自教授聖傅天娜一端具神效的祈禱經文——慈悲串經;耶穌指導說:「首先,妳要誦唸【天主經】一次,【聖母經】」一次,【信經】一次,然後在妳唸珠的【天主經】位置唸『永生之父,我把祢至愛之子,我們的主耶穌基督的聖體聖血、靈魂及天主性奉獻給祢,以賠補我們及普世的罪過。』在唸珠的【聖母經】位置唸『因祂的至悲慘苦難,求祢垂憐我們及普世。』唸到唸珠的末段,妳以唸三次『至聖天主,至聖全能者,至聖長存者,求祢垂憐我們及普世。』作為結束。」

 

罪人的希望

慈悲串經是罪人的希望。耶穌說:「司鐸們要向罪人們推薦這首經文作為得救的最後希望。即使是最心硬的罪人,只要他願意唸這首經文,他仍會從我無限的慈悲中,領受聖寵。」吾主更對聖傅天娜說,祂會賜予唸慈悲串經的人很大的聖寵,也樂於滿全人們藉唸慈悲串經所作的祈求。

 

臨終者的安慰

慈悲串經是臨終者很管用的經文。耶穌承諾,用祂的聖寵,擁抱着唸慈悲串經的臨終的人。聖父向聖傅天娜啟示:「在生命未刻,我會維護那些誦唸這串經的人,一如維護我的光榮。若是別人為臨終者唸這串經,所得恩赦也是一樣。在床榻旁為臨終的人誦唸慈悲串經的,能平息天主的義怒,我深邃的慈悲會籠罩着垂死的人,我聖子的苦難,會觸動我慈愛的深處。」耶穌亦說:「當他們在垂危的人身旁唸慈悲串經,我就會以慈愛救主, 而不是以判官的身份,站在天父和垂危者靈魂之間。」

聖傅天娜曾經親身體驗慈悲串經救靈的效能。一九三六年十二月十二日的下午,聖女進入一個瀕臨死亡的人的病房,病者自午夜已經痛苦難耐,呻吟不已;傅天娜聽見一個聲音,敦促她為這個臨終的人唸慈悲串經;在她唸慈悲串經之時,病人突然張開眼睛望着聖人,頓時寧靜下來,最後安然溘逝。

類似的事情發生在一九三七年三月二十二日。一個年青人因將死而感到極度痛苦,聖傅天娜又聽到聲音要她唸慈悲串經;聖人深感天主的威嚴與公義,殷切地為那青年祈求天主大發慈悲,她祈求天主賞給他善終之恩;最後,年青人安靜下來,平安地死去。

聖人亦曾經目睹邪魔圍繞着的臨終人,在她唸慈悲串經時,群魔四散,病者都能在信賴天主的平安中去逝。