Monday, June 7, 2010

Bl. Maria of the Divine Heart, a new St. Margaret Mary 新的「瑪加利大」

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This coming Friday (June 11) will be the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the conclusion of the Year for Priests. On June 11, 111 years ago, Pope Leo XIII consecrated the whole human race to the Sacred Heart. He did so in response to the private revelations of Blessed Maria Droste zu Vischering (1863-1899), called the second St. Margaret Mary (Alacoque).

 

Imitating the Heart of Jesus

Blessed Maria was born to a noble family in Germany, one of seven children. She had a will of iron and an explosive character, yet she was also generous, and sensitive to the needs of others.

Maria was raised in a castle. She later willingly gave up this luxury for the poor and simple environment of a convent of Good Shepherd Sisters.

At 12 Maria received the sacrament of confirmation and began to feel drawn to religious life, but her poor health prevented her from joining a religious order. She therefore made a private vow of chastity and led a life of prayer at home.

When her health improved in 1888, Maria started to think seriously of a religious vocation. She befriended an unhappy girl in hospital, and this experience helped her to realize her vocation to become a Good Shepherd Sister.

The Congregation of Good Shepherd Sisters was founded by St. Mary Euphrasia in 1835 in France. They work zealously for the salvation of souls, and their aim is to work for the conversion of fallen women and girls needing refuge from the temptations of the world.

Maria began her novitiate in 1889 and received the name Sister Maria of the Divine Heart. She became a very successful youth worker. The humble nun attributed all her success to the Sacred Heart. She said, “When you are appealing to His Divine Heart for a soul, He will never refuse you, although sometimes He demands much prayer, sacrifice, and suffering.”

Sister Maria believed that love of the Sacred Heart and a spirit of sacrifice are inseparable. In 1894, with a spirit of sacrifice and obedience, Sister Maria left her beloved Germany for a new assignment in Portugal.

She wrote, “Lord, I have left all, yes all, that I might love You until the last moment of my life, and that with all my energy I might spread devotion to Your Sacred Heart.”

Sister Maria was appointed superior of a troubled convent. With her administration skills and selfless dedication she transformed the convent into a center of spiritual radiation.

 

Ambassador of the Sacred Heart

Two years after her arrival in Portugal Sister Maria was afflicted by a spinal disease. In spite of her pain, she continued her work as superior. It was at that time that Jesus gave her private revelations regarding the consecration of the world to His Sacred Heart.

Our Lord told Sister Maria that the exterior devotion to the Sacred Heart had spread far and wide through St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, and now He wanted to see the interior devotion more firmly established. He wished souls to get into the habit of uniting themselves more and more interiorly with Him and of offering Him their hearts as His abode.

Jesus made known to Sister Maria His desire for the consecration of the world to His Sacred Heart. She petitioned Pope Leo XIII in June 1898 but the Pope did not respond to her request. In January, 1899, she petitioned the Pope again and referred to his recent illness.

She told the Holy Father that Jesus had prolonged his days on earth in order to grant him the grace to consecrate the world to the Sacred Heart. The Pope was touched by her letter and eventually consecrated the whole human race to the Sacred Heart on June 11, 1899. The mission of Sister Maria had thus been accomplished, and she died on June 8, a few days before the consecration.

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星期五(六月十一日)是耶穌聖心瞻禮,也標誌着司鐸年的結束。

一百一十一年前的六月十一日,教宗良十三世Leo XIII回應一位被譽為「另一位聖瑪加利大」的真福瑪利亞.韋嘉玲Bl. Maria Droste zu Vischering (1863-1899)——的私人啟示,把全人類奉獻給耶穌聖心。

 

效法耶穌聖心

真福瑪利亞生於德國,共有六位兄弟姊妹。她的性格倔強、性情暴燥,但心胸慷慨而又樂於助人。由於是貴族之後,瑪利亞居於城堡,在富裕的環境中成長。

十二歲領堅振聖事,並開始有强烈的修道意願,雖健康欠佳,她仍許下貞潔的私願,在家渡祈禱的生活。

一八八八年,福女感到健康有所進展,遂認真考慮進入修院修道。後來她在醫院結識了一個不愉快的女童,决定加入善牧女修會Good Shepherd Sisters,渡簡樸的生活,甘願捨棄奢華。

善牧女修會是聖瑪利亞.厄法莎St. Mary Euphrasia在一八三五年創立於法國,專務救靈工作,扶助墮落的婦女,給迷惘的少女提供庇蔭。

一八八九年,福女瑪利亞領受會衣,取名聖心瑪利亞。她為年青少女所做的工作非常成功,但卻謙遜地把一切歸功於耶穌聖心。她說:「當你為一個靈魂而求助於耶穌聖心時,祂總不會拒絕,但有時祂要求我們多祈禱、多奉獻、多受苦。」她堅信若要鍾愛耶穌聖心,則與犧牲奉獻的精神不可分割。

一八九四年,瑪利亞本着聽命和奉獻的心,離開心愛的祖國,到葡萄牙接受新任命。她寫道:「主,我捨棄了一切!不錯,我捨棄一切,只為愛祢直到生命的終結,把我全部的精力,都為宣揚敬禮祢的聖心!」

原是在困難中的修院,在真福瑪利亞無私、全心全意的主理和管理下,轉化為光照人靈的中心。

 

聖心的使者

抵達葡萄牙兩年後,真福瑪利亞感染脊椎疾病,但她強忍疼痛,繼續執行修院院長的職務,亦在此時耶穌給了她私人啟示——奉獻世界給耶穌聖心:對耶穌聖心的外在敬禮,藉聖女瑪加利大已家傳户曉; 現在,耶穌要通過福女來加强對聖心的內在敬禮。祂願意人靈習慣與主密切結合, 並將內心奉獻作為主的居所。

耶穌讓瑪利亞知道,祂願意教宗將世人奉獻給祂的聖心。一八九八年六月,瑪利亞上書教宗良十三世有關耶穌的啟示,惜被忽略。翌年一月,瑪利亞再上書教宗,談及有關教宗近期生病的情况,並特別聲明,天主延長他的壽命, 是為恩賜他能親自把普世奉獻給耶穌聖心。

真福瑪利亞.韋嘉玲的信函使教宗大為感動, 並因應耶穌的吩咐,於一八九九年六月十一日,隆重地把普世奉獻給耶穌聖心。福女的使命完成, 亦於同年六月八日辭世。

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Published at Pax Sinica column (June 7) of The B.C . Catholic newspaper