Monday, May 24, 2010

The Little Nothing loved the Holy Spirit 聖神的忠僕

 

 

 

Article published at the Pax Sinica column of May 24 BC Catholic newspaper

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Yesterday (May 23) was the Solemnity of Pentecost. We celebrated the coming of the Holy Spirit to the Church. Blessed Maria of Jesus Crucified (1846-1878) was an ardent promoter of devotion to the Holy Spirit.

 

A difficult childhood

Her parents had 12 sons, but they all died in infancy. The sorrowful couple went to Bethlehem on foot and asked Our Lady for a daughter. Their prayers were heard and Blessed Mary was born in I’billin, Hazafon (Israel).

Two years after her birth another boy was born to the family. Then, when Blessed Mary was only 3, her parents both died within a few days of each other. The little brother was adopted by a maternal aunt and Blessed Mary was adopted by a paternal uncle. At the age of 8 she moved to Alexandria with her uncle’s family.

In 1858, without her knowledge, the uncle arranged a marriage for Blessed Mary. Determined to consecrate herself to God, Blessed Mary refused the arrangement. Filled with wrath, her uncle hired her out as a domestic servant, making sure she had the lowest and most menial of jobs.

A man with whom she worked treated her as friend, with the intention of converting her to Islam. When Blessed Mary realized his intention, she declared that she would never abandon the Catholic faith. The man, filled with rage, cut the throat of Blessed Mary, and dumped her in an alley. This took place on the night of Sept. 7-8, 1858.

Years later, when obliged by obedience to relate the incident, Blessed Mary affirmed that she was really dead. She said that the Blessed Virgin, the angels, and the saints had received her with great kindness, and she had also seen her parents. After the heavenly vision Blessed Mary found herself in a grotto being looked after by a nurse in azure clothing.

Later, Blessed Mary realized this nurse was actually the Blessed Virgin Mary, who outlined Blessed Mary’s life program, saying, “You will never see your family again; you will go to France, where you will become a religious. You will be a child of St. Joseph before becoming a daughter of St. Teresa. You will receive the habit of Carmel in one house, you will make your profession in a second, and you will die in a third, at Bethlehem.”

She worked as a servant girl and went to France. There, in 1865, she joined the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition. However, because of misunderstandings surrounding her mystical gifts, she was dismissed in 1867. She then joined the Discalced Carmelites in Pau, and received the religious habit there.

In 1870 Blessed Mary travelled with a group of Carmelites to found a monastery in India, where she made her profession. In 1875 Blessed Mary went to Bethlehem to found a monastery. On Aug. 21, 1878, Blessed Mary suffered a bad fall in the monastery garden at Bethlehem, and she died on Aug. 26 at the age of 32. Her last words were, “Oh, yes, mercy.”

 

Devotion to the Holy Spirit

Blessed Mary wanted to remain little. She loved to be called “The Little Nothing.” She often said, “Everything passes here on earth. What are we? Nothing but dust, nothingness; and God is so great, so beautiful, so lovable, and He is not loved.”

She never attended school, and remained almost total illiterate, but because of her union with God she was able to give sound and sublime theological counsel to others. The Holy Spirit had certainly filled her nothingness with sublime gifts!

As an ardent promoter of devotion to the Holy Spirit, Blessed Mary also had a great love for the Church and the Pope. She sent a message to Pope Pius IX, complaining about the lack of devotion to the Holy Spirit within the Church.

She composed a beautiful prayer: “Holy Spirit, inspire me. Love of God, consume me. Along the true road, lead me. Mary, my good mother, look down upon me. With Jesus, bless me. From all evil, all illusion, all danger, preserve me.”

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昨天(五月二十三日)是五旬節,我們慶祝了天主聖神降臨於聖教會。聖衣會的真福瑪利亞Bl. Maria of Jesus Crucified (1846-1878) 是一位熱心推動敬禮天主聖神的修女。

 

憂患童年

瑪利亞的十二位兄長都在襁褓中夭折,她的雙親特地步行到伯利恆,祈求聖母賞給他們一個女兒。果真不久,瑪利 亞在現今以色列的哈匝坊Hazafon 出生。之後,天主還賞給她一個弟弟。

好景不常,年僅三歲的瑪利亞,雙親在數天內相繼死去。弟弟得姑母收養,而另一位叔輩則收養了瑪利亞;八歲那 年,舉家遷居至埃及的亞歷山大Alexandria, Egypt。

一八五八年,瑪利亞因矢志守貞,堅拒叔輩安排的婚事,遂被罰當低薪家傭。一位曾和她一起工作的人有意讓她轉 皈伊斯蘭教,故待她甚為友善,但在瑪利亞嚴正聲明對聖教的忠貞後,那人老羞成怒,把她割喉,棄置後巷,時為一八五八年九月八日的凌晨。

若干年後,真福瑪利亞因聽命而憶述當年慘痛經歷:她確定她是經歷了死亡,且見到了天堂上的聖母、眾天使和諸 聖人,和藹地接待她。她的父母也在聖人的行列中。但當神視過後,真福卻發覺她身處一個岩洞,一位藍衣護士正在照料着她——後來她明白到那護士就是童貞聖 母。聖母簡畧地預言她的餘生,說:「妳將不會與家人重逢,而要轉到法國, 在那裏修道。妳先會是大聖若瑟的女兒,再成為聖德肋撒的女兒。妳將在一所會院穿上加爾默羅會衣,在第二所會院發聖願,並於第三所會院(在伯利恆)逝世。」

康復後, 福女當家傭並轉赴法國。一八六五年,她進入顯靈聖匠女修會Sisters of St. Joseph of the Apparition,惜因她奇妙的神恩而常被誤解,兩年後被迫離開。瑪利亞轉投赤足聖衣會,並如聖母預告,穿上該修會會衣。一八七零年,在印度幫忙建立 修會分院時,發了聖願。一八七五年,真福瑪利亞往伯利恆建立另一分院。一八七八年八月二十一日,她在伯利恆修院花園跌倒,五日後因傷逝世,享年三十二歲 ——臨終吐語:「噢,是, 慈悲!」

 

對天主聖神的敬禮

真福瑪利亞常願意自認渺少,喜愛被稱為「虛無的小東西」。她常道:「世上任何事情都會過去,我們又是什麼? 只不過是塵土、虛無,而天主是如此偉大、美侖美奐、可愛,卻又不被愛。」

瑪利亞雖從未上學,是文盲。但因與主的結合,能給人正確和深義的神學指導。天主聖神的神恩,的確充盈了她的 虛無!

福女積極提倡對天主聖神的敬禮。她熱愛教會並擁護教宗。福女曾向教宗庇約九世指出當時教會的人對天主聖神的 敬禮還不足夠。

福女寫了一首美麗的經文:「天主聖神,請啟迪我。天主的愛,請燃燒我。在真理的路上,請引導我。聖母瑪利 亞,我的好母親,請垂顧我;在耶穌內,福蔭我。請保守我免於所有凶惡、虛妄和危難。」