Saturday, April 3, 2010

Pax Sinica Article (April 5): 痛苦五端:耶穌被釘在十字架上死 Jesus Dies on the Cross

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上週,我們紀念了耶穌的苦難、聖死和復活,今天,我們集中思攷一下玫瑰經的痛苦五端——耶穌被釘在十字架上死,亦完結對五端痛苦奧蹟的深思。

 

十字架的教導

全能的天主可藉任何方法或方式救贖人類,而十字架的苦難為天主是非絕對必要的;但天主卻偏偏選擇了這極刑作為救贖,正因為是合宜的:苦架上的耶穌,彰顯了天主的愛,顯示了罪惡的可怕,樹立了接受苦痛的模範。

在苦架上的耶穌,彰顯了天主對我們的愛,也是真愛的標準和榜樣。耶穌在若望福音15:13說:「人若為自己的朋友捨掉性命,再沒有比這更大的愛情了。」無疑,世界上的真愛,與犧牲不可分割。虛假的愛是以自我為中心和自私的;相反,真愛是以天主為中心和無私的。假如我們真的去愛,自會甘心付出。

苦架上的耶穌,利用其有形的肉身,承擔了所有的罪債,充份顯示了罪惡的可怕,當我們細觀基督的傷痕和血,不難想像到我們罪惡可怕的後果。辦告解之時,基督的聖血,洗濯我們的罪污。我們確實要感恩,不要犯罪,擯棄基督的寶血。

苦架上的耶穌,樹立了接受人世間苦痛的模範。耶穌雖是無罪,但為了救贖我們,自願擁抱了十字苦架。祂邀請我們效法祂,為自己和別人靈魂的得救,與祂一起奉獻現世的苦痛。

 

真愛犧牲的典範

納匝肋聖家女修會由真福方濟.薛妮嘉在一八七五年創立,她的格言是「承行爾旨」,以無比勇氣服務家庭為己任——修女門均願意為建樹社會各家庭而努力付出。真福向她的修女們說:「愛德!親愛的姊妹:愛德!」

第二次世界大戰,納粹德軍入侵波蘭。一九四三年七月,一百二十多名波蘭男人被德軍從諾禾谷特Nowogrodek逮捕並準備處決,當中很多是家庭中的骨幹。納匝肋聖家女修會的瑪莉修女Sr. Mary Stella和別的修女們得悉,便向天主祈求:「天主, 若性命的犧性是必要的, 請由我們處接受, 為挽救那些有家庭的人。」盛其華神父Fr. Zienkiewicz遇有危難,這些修女們重申:「世界需要神父多於需要我們。祈求天主,假如有此需要,我們願意代替神父捨棄性命。」

七月三十一日,修女們被告知要向納粹黨部報到。留下一位較年長的修女,其餘十一位修女齊往納粹黨部,準備以死刑代替那些被捕男人,讓他們得到釋放,免除苦役。八月一日,修女們被帶到樹叢中的一個大墓穴前,在瑪莉修女祝福其餘十位姊妹後,全體被槍决,同埋墓穴中。後來還是被留在修院的年長修女,標記下這墓穴。果然,真福薛妮嘉的十一位修女,以性命實踐了她們會祖的訓令。

公元二千年,教宗若望保祿二世對這十一位為愛德而致命的修女宣福時,祈禱說:「我們感謝諾禾谷特的致命真福們,以性命作了真愛的見證,為基督徒樹立了勇敢的模範,也教導了我們信賴天主聖神的力量。」

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Last weekend we commemorated the sufferings, death, and resurrection of Jesus. In this article, we are going to complete our reflections on the Sorrowful Mysteries by focusing on the Fifth Mystery--- Jesus died on the Cross.

 

Lessons of the Cross

God is all-powerful, and He could have saved us in whatever ways He wants. Hence, the Cross is not absolutely necessary for our salvation. But God decided to save us through the Cross, because it is fitting. Jesus on the Cross teaches us the love of God, the horror of sin, and the acceptance of suffering.

Jesus on the Cross is the expression of God’s love for us. It is also the model and standard of true love. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friend” (John 15:13). Here on earth, true love and sacrifice are inseparable. False love is self-centered and selfish, whereas true love is God-centered and selfless. If we truly love others, we must be willing to give ourselves.

Jesus on the Cross shows us the horror of sin. He accepted all the consequences of sin on His human body. When we contemplate the wounds and blood of Christ, we see the results of our sinfulness. Each time when we go to Confession, we are cleansed by the Blood of Christ. Let us be grateful, and not despise the Blood of Christ by giving in to sin.

Jesus on the Cross is our example in facing human sufferings. Though innocent, Jesus freely embraced the Cross for our salvation. He invites us to do the same. We can offer up of sufferings for the salvation of others.

 

Example Self-Giving Love

The Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth was founded in 1875 by Blessed Frances Siedliska. The foundress’ motto is “Thy will be done”. The charism of the Congregation is to serve the families to a heroic degree. The Sisters willingly sacrifice themselves for the building up of families in society.

Blessed Frances expressed her desire for her Sisters saying, “Charity, dear Sisters, charity.” In 1943, eleven Sisters in Nowogrodek, Poland, fulfilled the desire of their foundress by giving up their lives for the lives and families of others.

During World War II, the Nazis invaded Poland. In July, 1943 more than 120 men from Nowogrodek were arrested and were destined to be executed. Many of them were heads of the families. Aware of this tragic situation, Sister Mary Stella and her community offered their lives to God praying, “My God, if sacrifice of life is needed, accept it from us and spare those who have families. We are even praying for this intention.” When the life of a priest, Father Zienkiewicz, was in danger, the Sisters renewed their offering saying, “There is greater need for a priest on this earth than for us. We pray that God will take us in his place, if sacrifice of life is needed.”

On July 31, the Sisters were told to report to the Nazis Commissar’s office. An older Sister was chosen to stay behind, and the other eleven Sisters went to the Commissar’s office. The Commissar wanted the arrested men to work for him, but in order not to lose face, the Gestapo would not let the men go unless someone else would be executed in place of the men. The Sisters agreed to give up their lives for the lives of the arrested men.

Early August 1, the Sisters were taken out into the woods. Sister Stella blessed each of the ten Sisters. They knelt before an open hole--- a grave dug for eleven. The Sisters were shot and buried. The older Sister who left behind eventually discovered the spot of the execution and came back from time to time to tend the grave.

In 2000, Pope John Paul II beatified Sister Stella and her ten companions. During his homily he prayed, “We thank you, O blessed martyrs of Nowogródek, for your witness of love, for your example of Christian heroism and for your trust in the power of the Holy Spirit.”