Friday, October 15, 2010

Pax Sinica Article (2010年10月18日): Veneration of relics of the saints 恭敬聖人聖髑的意義

This month our archdiocese has been blessed with the presence of relics of St. John Vianney and St. John Bosco.
    According to the Modern Catholic Dictionary, a relic is "an object connected with a saint, e.g. part of the body or clothing or something the person has used or touched."
    "Relics are of three classes: the first is part of the saint's body and is the type placed in the altar stone; the second is part of the clothing or anything used during the saint's life; and the third is any other object, such as a piece of cloth, that has been touched to a first-class relic."


    Means of connection


    The veneration of relics helps us connect to the past, present, and future.
    Relics connect us to the past. They remind us that the saints were real human beings with flesh and bones. The saints experienced human weaknesses, trials, and limitations, but by their co-operation with divine grace they became the heroes of their times, and they contributed marvellously to the glorious history of the Church.
    Relics connect us to the present reality of the communion of saints. The souls of the saints are now in heaven. A relic represents a saint in heaven. When we pray before a relic, we pray to the saint it represents. Relics and sacred images remind us of the loving protection and intercession of the saints.
    Relics also help us to feel connected with the holy places where tombs of the saints are located. Furthermore, relics help us to feel connected with the religious communities that the saints belonged to.
    Relics inspire us to hope for the future. The veneration of relics increases our desire to meet the souls of the saints in heaven. Relics remind us of the resurrection of the dead. The bodies of the saints will rise in glory on the last day. We hope to share the same glory with the saints.


    An example


    Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) was a mystic who had the exceptional gift of recognizing relics. One time she saw relics and exclaimed: "They are shining: what treasures we possess, more valuable than a kingdom."
    Regarding relics that had been buried and neglected, she said, "I saw that these neglected treasures confer blessings wherever they lie and ward off Satan's influence. I have seen certain places preserved from serious calamities by them whilst others of recent date suffered severely, because possessing nothing of the kind."
    Blessed Catherine lived during a time when churches were being dismantled and convents being suppressed. Many relics were neglected or treated disrespectfully. This was a source of deep sorrow for her and she strove to revive veneration of these relics. People brought her relics, so that at the time of her death she possessed more than 300.
    During her lifetime, Blessed Catherine venerated the relics of saints with deep devotion. With the help of these saints, she is now a blessed in the Church, and her own body has become a holy relic!
    Blessed Catherine was intensely devoted to the Holy Eucharist. For years she ate practically nothing except Holy Communion. The bodies of the saints were made holy by the Eucharist. The same Eucharist will make our bodies holy too!
    In Vancouver I am hosting three prayer groups in Cantonese and English. We pray the Rosary, learn about the teachings and lives of the saints, and honour the holy relics of different saints. If you are interested in joining, please visit my website for more information.

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本月份,我們教區有幸恭迎聖若翰.維雅奈及聖若望.鮑思高兩位聖人的聖髑。「聖髑」是指那些與聖人有關的物件,並分三個等級:一級聖髑是指聖人遺骸,有被放在祭台聖石之內或祭台下;二級聖髑是指聖人生前的衣著或曾用過的物件;三級聖髑是指那些接觸過一級聖髑的物件。

聯繫的中介

恭敬聖人聖髑,幫助我們聯繫過去、現在和未來。

聖髑幫助我們緬懷過去。它們提醒我們: 聖人曾如現在的我們,是個血肉之軀,經歷人性軟弱、試探和局限;但他們與天主聖寵合作,成了教會的英雄,為教會寫下光輝的一章。

聖髑幫助我們感受現在的諸聖相通功。聖人的靈魂現處天堂,聖髑代表聖人。當我們在聖髑前祈禱,我們是向聖髑所代表的聖人祈禱。聖髑和聖相提醒我們聖人在天堂上的代禱和他們對我們的呵護。看到聖髑,使我們想到埋葬聖人的聖地和他們生前所屬的教會團體。

聖髑啟發我們對將來的真希望,激發我們渴望到天堂與那些聖人相聚,也提醒我們,萬民在世界末日的復活,而期望最終能與他們分享同一的光榮。

一個榜樣

真福安納.嘉琳.庵慕烈Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) 得到很多私人啟示。她具有分辨聖髑的神恩。有一次她看見聖髑,即興奮地說:「聖髑光芒萬象,我們擁有這些珍寶,比一個王國還要珍貴!」有關被埋下和遺忘的聖髑,真福庵慕烈說:「我看見那被忽視的珍寶為地區帶來祝福,並驅除了撒旦的影響力。我見到一些地方因聖髑而免於災難;其它地方則在近期受到蹂躪,因為那些地方欠缺聖髑。」

真福長於教會多災多難之期,很多聖髑被忽視和失敬。她深感痛惜,努力推動重新恭敬聖髑的意識,更積極身體力行。人們把聖髑送給她。在去世時,真福安納擁有超過三百件聖髑。在聖人們的幫助下,她努力成聖。如今她已被宣為真福,而她自己的遺骸亦被尊為聖髑!

福女十分敬禮聖體。多年來,她基本上不進食任何食物,只領聖體。聖體祝化了聖人的身體,同一的聖體也將聖化我們!

在溫哥華,我以粵語和英語,主持三個祈禱會;我們公唸玫瑰經,分享聖人的教導和行實,並供瞻多個不同聖人的聖髑。如有興趣參與,可到我的網址細閱詳情。

Published at Pax Sinica column (October 18) of The B.C . Catholic newspaper

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Information of my 3 prayer groups:

Hearts of Jesus and Mary Prayer Group (around 30-40 people)

  • In Cantonese
  • Every 1st & 3 rd Sunday
  • 7 PM to 9 PM
  • Corpus Christi Parish, Vancouver

Our Lady of Fatima Prayer Group (around 20-30 people)

  • In English
  • Every 1st & 3rd Monday
  • 7 PM to 9 PM
  • St. Patrick’s Parish, Vancouver

Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Prayer Group (around 15 to 20 people)

  • In Cantonese
  • Every 2nd & 4th Monday
  • 9:45 AM to 11 AM
  • At a private home (SE Vancouver, close to Burnaby)

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Our Meetings:

Rosary with guided meditations (Evening groups have Night Prayer & Benediction as well).

Talk on Summa Theologica (St. Thomas Aquinas) & Lives of the Saints.

Pray Litany of Loreto before holy relics. Blessing of Mary, Help of Christians. Individual blessing with holy relics.

Contact Father Anthony Ho:  fatheranthonyho@gmail.com or 604-874-7818 (St. Patrick’s Parish)