Monday, September 27, 2010

St. Augustine --- The Greatest Church Father 聖奧斯定——教會最偉大的教父

In the last three weeks, we looked at the Church Fathers from the 4th century. They were great teachers and defenders of the Faith. This week, we are going to look at the life of the greatest Church Father--- St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430).

His Life

Augustine was born in 354. His mother was St. Monica. His father, Patricius, was converted to the Catholic Faith by his wife shortly before his death. St. Augustine was a catechumen and had not been baptized.

Augustine studied rhetoric in Madaura and Carthage. He was a brilliant student, but idleness led him into the vice of lust and he also followed a heretical sect--- Manichees. His mother, St. Monica prayed night and day with tears for the conversion of her son.

In 384, Augustine went to Milan to be a professor of rhetoric. He was influenced by the preaching of St. Ambrose. Augustine began to experience conversion of the mind and saw the reasonableness of the Catholic Faith. But he still needed the conversion of heart, for he was still enslaved by lust and would pray: “Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet."

One day Potitianus came to visit Augustine and his friend Alipius. Potitianus saw a book of St. Paul’s Epistles lying on the table, and took the occasion to speak to them about the life of St. Anthony the Great. The life of St. Anthony touched the heart of Augustine. He threw himself under a fig-tree and wept over his own life.

Suddenly, he heard a voice of a child singing, “Take up and read”. Augustine took the book of St. Paul Epistles and read Romans 13:13-14. Touched by divine grace, Augustine felt that all his hesitation and doubt disappeared.

The conversion of Augustine took place in 386, and he was baptized by St. Ambrose on Easter eve in 387. Augustine returned to North Africa for a life of solitude in fasting, prayer, and meditations.

In 391, Augustine was ordained a priest. He became a powerful preacher and Valerius, the bishop of Hippo, made Augustine to be his coadjutor in 395. Augustine succeeded Valerius the following year.

During his 35 years as bishop of Hippo, Augustine guided his flock, wrote against different heresies, and took a leading part in the activities of the Church in Africa. Augustine died on August 28,430.

His Teachings

St. Augustine wrote more than 100 books, which include his Confessions (a book about his youth and conversion), City of God (a grandiose defense of Christianity against paganism) and a rule for religious community. He was a popular preacher and his sermons were simple and deeply spiritual.

During his life, Augustine fought and wrote against heretics and schismatics: first, the Manicheans, then the Donatists, and finally the Pelagians. The Manicheans believed in two ultimate sources of creation, the one good and the other evil. They believed that physical matters are from the evil one. Against the Manicheans, Augustine taught that evil is the absent of good, the material world was created by God, and marriage is good.

The Donatists believed the validity of the Sacraments depends on the moral character of the minister. Against the Donatists, Augustine taught that there is but one Church of Christ, and outside the Church there is no salvation. He also taught that the Sacraments receive their validity, not from the minister, but from the invisible head of the Church, Jesus Christ. It is Christ who baptizes, confirms, etc., through his ministers.

Augustine’s answer to the Donatists in Africa, “secures judicat orbis terrarium”---“the whole world (the whole church) judges safely”---helped Blessed John Henry Newman (beatified last week on September 19) in his conversion to Catholicism.

The Pelagians believed man can merit eternal life by his natural power without the aid of grace. From 412 to 427, Augustine refuted Pelagianism by writing about the fall, original sin, grace, and free will. These writings won him the title, Doctor of Grace.

“You have made us for Yourself, and our heart is ill at ease till it rest in You.”

過去數週,我們探討了聖教會在四世紀的教父,他們都是捍衛信德的偉大導師。今日,我們談談最重要的教父——希波Hippo主教,聖奧斯定St. Augustine (354-430) 。


奧斯定出生於公元三五四年,母親是聖婦莫尼加St. Monica ,父親巴德利修Patricius被妻子勸化,去世前不久領洗入教。


公元三八四年,奧斯定到米蘭Milan當修辭學教授。因受聖盎博羅削St. Ambrose的講道影響,思維轉向接受聖教信仰的道理,但意志薄弱,沒有勇氣改過;他祈禱說:「請賜給我貞潔和克節之心,但不是現在。」

一日,教徒龐弟里Potitianus探訪奧斯定和他的朋友亞利比Alipius,看見桌上有一本聖保祿的書信,借此談起隱修聖人安當St. Anthony the Great的生平,使奧斯定不勝羞慚,跑到花園的無花果樹下,內心掙扎不已。突然似乎聽到一個孩童的聲音說:「拿起來讀吧!」他遂把聖保祿書信翻開,閱讀「致羅馬人書13:13-14」,天主聖寵在他心內油燃而生,他不再猶疑,決定皈依聖教,時為公元三八六年。翌年的復活節前夕,聖盎博羅削給他付洗。

奧斯定回到出生地北非North Africa,渡虔敬的生活,做嚴厲的補贖,專心祈禱和默想。公元三九一年,奧斯定晉鐸。公元三九五年,奧斯定神父被希波主教華肋廉Valerius遴選為助理主教,次年更繼任為希波主教。



聖奧斯定寫了超過一百本書。其中極負盛名的「懺悔錄Confession」,憶述他年青時期的生活,與及皈依的歷程;「天主之城City of God」是一本針對異教的護教書; 他也為修道團體撰寫了一本會規。



陶納派宣稱聖事施行的有效性,取決於施行者的道德。聖奧斯定除了堅持只有天主教會內才有教恩,更說明聖事的有效性來自耶穌基督,並非施行者。耶穌基督,藉施行者,親自施洗、赦罪、放堅振等。他駁斥陶納派的一句話,「全世界(全教會)穩妥地作判斷secures judicat orbis terrarium」,感應了真福若望.紐曼John Henry Newman(本年九月十九日被教宗宣福),使他皈依聖教。

白拉奇學說認為人單憑己力,不需要聖寵便可得救。公元四一二至四二七年間,聖奧斯定寫了多篇文章駁斥,有系統地分析有關人類的墮落、原罪、自由意志和天主聖寵,因而被冠「聖寵之師Doctor of Grace」的雅號。



Published at Pax Sinica column (September 27) of The B.C . Catholic newspaper

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Great teachers of the 4th century 四世紀的偉大聖師

In the last two weeks we have looked at some great champions of orthodoxy of the 4th century: St. Athanasius and the Cappadocian Fathers. This week let us look at some great teachers of the faith of the same century.

St. John Chrysostom (354-407)

John of Antioch was surnamed Chrysostom (the Golden Mouth) because of his eloquence. He was a monk who later became a deacon in 381, then a priest in 386. For a long time, because of his humility, John hesitated about becoming a priest.
While he was considering the question he wrote the beautiful treatise On the Priesthood. About the absolving power of priests he wrote: "What priests do here below, God ratifies above; the Master confirms the sentences of His servants."
After his ordination to the priesthood John preached wonderful sermons on the Scriptures. Following the principles of the school of Antioch, his exegesis was both historical and doctrinal, and rich in moral applications. As Patriarch of Constantinople John preached so fearlessly against vices and sins that he was disliked and hated by the court bishops and the Empress Eudoxia.
In 403 his enemies managed to have John sentenced to exile, but the people rose in revolt and forced the court to recall him. Within two months, however, he was exiled again. In his exile, John wrote most of the 240 letters that have come down to us.
John was still too influential for his enemies; hence the Emperor Theodosius commanded that John be driven farther away, to Pityus on the northeast coast of the Black Sea. John died of fatigue and hardship on his way there in 407.
Thirty years later, Emperor Theodosius II ordered the relics of John to be brought back to Constantinople. There was great rejoicing among the people. The emperor laid his face upon the coffin, begging God to forgive his parents for having persecuted John.

St. Ambrose (339-397)

In the west, the Latin Fathers adapted the teachings of the Greek Fathers to their listeners. The Latin Fathers emphasized more the spiritual and allegorical interpretation of Sacred Scripture. The Greek Fathers were original and speculative in theological thought, while the Latin Fathers, as pastors and moralists, were more interested in practical questions and on the theology of a Christian society.
St. Ambrose was a governor. After the death of the bishop of Milan, Ambrose maintained order at the election of the new bishop. Suddenly someone cried: "Ambrose bishop!"
At once the people took up the cry. Ambrose was only a catechumen, and he tried in different ways to escape the episcopacy, but the people insisted and Ambrose finally gave in. Within eight days he received all the necessary sacraments, from baptism to episcopal consecration!
Ambrose was one of the best bishops in history. He devoted himself to the study of the Bible and Christian writings. He devoted his property to the care of the poor and the support of the Church. He introduced strong discipline into the Church at Milan. He even disciplined the emperor and was the first theologian to discuss church-state relations.
The writings of St. Ambrose are hymns, letters, and a work on morality.

St. Jerome (ca. 330-420)

St. Jerome was baptized in 360. He became a monk and studied Hebrew. After assisting at the Council of Constantinople he went to Rome and became the secretary and close friend of Pope Damasus.
At that time most of the religious books were written in Greek, the language of the upper class. Pope Damasus asked Jerome to translate the Bible into Latin, the language of the common people. The translation of Jerome is known as "the Vulgate."
St. Jerome was the spiritual adviser of a number of noble ladies who had formed a religious community. In 386 St. Jerome settled down at Bethlehem. He spent most his time in a little cell just big enough to shelter himself and his books.
St. Jerome died on September 30, 420.
Next week, we are going to look at the greatest Church Father, St. Augustine.

相繼兩週,我們談過四世紀東方教會一些極優秀的大聖師——聖亞大納削(達修)St. Athanasius和卡巴多喜亞的教父們the Cappadocian Fathers。本週,我們探討同期偉大的信仰導師。

聖若望金口St. John Chrysostom (354-407)





聖盎博羅削St. Ambrose (339-397)

東方希臘的教父們,多從聖經的原文,推斷出神學思想,而西方拉丁的教父們, 則借用東方教會的箸作來訓導聽眾。拉丁教父比較着重從神修和寓意去詮釋聖經。作為牧者和倫理家,拉丁教父着重信仰的實踐和建立基督徒的社會。

聖盎博羅削原是皇帝委任的總督,但米蘭主教死後,在遴選新主教的集會中維持秩序。會塲中突然有人高呼:「選盎博羅削為主教! 」頓時一呼百應,群眾一致推舉祂接任主教一職。聖人當時只是慕道者,尚未領洗, 故設法推搪,未果,遂在八天內,火速接受所有必需的聖事,終晉牧為米蘭主教。



聖熱羅尼莫St. Jerome (ca. 330-420)

聖熱羅尼莫在三六零年受洗,後來隱修,除精通拉丁文,也學習希伯來文。出席君士坦丁堡大公會議後,轉到羅馬,任教宗達瑪蘇Pope Damasus的秘書,更成為摯友。

當時,很多書籍是用希臘文寫成,屬於社會上流階層的讀物。教宗達瑪蘇請熱羅尼莫把聖經翻譯成拉丁文,讓熟悉拉丁文的普羅大眾閱讀。這巨箸就是後世認定的拉丁聖經通俗本the Vulgate。


下星期,我們將談談教會最重要的教父——聖奧斯定St. Augustine。

Published at Pax Sinica column (September 20) of The B.C . Catholic newspaper

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Personal Highlights

Baptism of baby boy on September 11 (Saturday):


Baptism of baby boy on September 12 (Sunday):


Annual get-together with my classmates on September 13 (Monday).

We had Mass together, then dinner.

It’s wonderful to see Father Justin Huang from Rome.


Out-door education for grades 6 & 7 in Squamish (Sept. 14-15): living Rosary, camp fire, & Mass.

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Visited Madonna House (September 15) in the evening: Mass, catechetical sharing, & supper.


Very excited to receive holy relics from a monastery.

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Holy relics received:

Apostle: St. Jude.

Martyrs: Stephen, Lawrence, Blase, Cecilia, Agnes, Lucy, Agatha, Perpetua, Felicity,  Philomena, and other Martyrs of Vietnam.

Doctors/ Teachers: Augustine, Gregory the Great, Athanasius, Irenaeus, Bonaventure, and Thomas Aquinas

Monks & nuns: Benedict, Scholastica, Bernard, Bruno, and Norbert

Mothers: Helen, Monica

Confessors: Nicolas of Myra, Francis of Assisi, St. Joseph of Cupertino, John Bosco, Pius V, Martin de Porres, Rose of Lima, Catherine of Siena, Peregrine Laziosi (patron of cancer patients), Pier Giorgio Frassati, Bartolo Longo and other confessors.

Most of the relics are small fragments of bone from the body of the saints. These holy relics will be venerated regularly during prayer meetings of my 3 prayer groups. Also they will be used to bless people at gatherings, classroom visitations, and retreats. From time to time, relics will be exposed in chapel and in church for public veneration. Holy relics are powerful means to help us connect to Church history, and to experience the Communion of Saints. 

If you have any special intention to any of the saints listed above, please send me the intention (, and I will place it close to the relic of the saint, and pray for your intention daily.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Unity Publishing Inc.


I came across the website of Unity Publishing Inc. recently.

I really enjoy reading the different articles of the site regarding Marian apparitions.

I highly recommend the article “Testing the spirit --- the criteria of discernment”

There are articles of investigations on different reported apparitions.

Very informative site!

The Very Reverend Adolphe Tanquerey wrote about “Rules for the Discernment of Revelations” in his classic, The Spiritual Life. The articles at Unity Publishing Inc. help me to understand the writings of Tanquerey with concrete applications.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Why God Matters (Blog Tour: Sept. 8)

A book that helps people to foster close relationship with God in daily lives.

“Deacon Steve Lumbert and his daughter Karina Fabian share their stories of how God led them from casual belief to deep devotion, and offer tips and exercises to help you see God's hand - and take it.”

Please click HERE for the book website

Please click HERE to buy a copy from Amazon

Please click HERE for the list of dates the of Blogs Tour (on left sidebar)

Let us pray that by the grace of God, this book can help many people to discover the Presence of God and the Will of God in the ordinariness their daily lives.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Personal Highlights


Irene Wong is back!!!

We did recording last Tuesday (August 31) at Fairchild radio. We recorded 4 talks base on Sunday Gospels. These talks will be broadcasted on September 18, September 25, October 2, and October 9.

Please tune in on Saturday (8 PM @ AM 1470 in Vancouver & 6 PM @ AM 1430 in Toronto)


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Participated Western Canada Chinese Catholic Living Camp (WCCCLC) in Mission (September 5 & 6). Marian Mass with Archbishop Micheal Miller and Msgr. Jensen. Explained and led Eucharistic Adoration. Heard Confessions. Had fun with young people.


Baptism of baby girl on August 29



Baptism of 2 baby girls on September 5

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The new pets in my office are very very popular among young people.

Russian dwarf hamsters are the smallest type of hamsters in the world. They are clean, cute, playful, and social. The young people like them!!!

The names of the hamsters are Cereal, Cookie, & Sushi.

Pax Sinica (Sept. 6): Early Church Christology 教會早期的「基督學」

“Christology” is the study of the person of Jesus Christ and especially the mystery of the union in Christ of the divine and human natures. The first four ecumenical councils in the 4th and 5th centuries defined the personhood and natures of Christ, and the Nicene Creed we recite on Sundays expresses the official teachings of the Church in the liturgy.

The Council of Nicea (325)

A priest from Alexandria, Arius (250 or 256 -336), taught heretically that Jesus is not God, but only a unique creature. St. Athanasius (ca. 296-373) was the champion who fought against Arianism. When Athanasius was a little boy, his bishop, Alexander, saw him baptizing other children. The bishop discovered Athanasius’ great love for God and splendid talents. He took charge of his education and trained him for the priesthood. At the young age of 25, Athanasius wrote his famous treatise On the Incarnation of the Word of God. When not yet 30, he was the leader at the Council of Nicea. The Council teaches that God the Son is of one substance (consubstantial) with the Father.

Shortly after the Council of Nicea, Athanasius succeeded as bishop of Alexandria. The Arians strived to impose their heretical teachings by influencing imperial authority. Though pressured by the emperor, Athanasius courageously refused to re-admit Arius into communion. During his life, Athanasius was banished five times and spent seventeen years in exile. Cardinal Newman described Athanasius as “a principal instrument after the Apostles by which the sacred truths of Christianity have been conveyed and secured to the world”.

The Council of Constantinople (381)

Arius denied the divinity of Christ, whereas, Apollinaris (ca. 310-390) went to the other extreme by denying the humanity of Christ. Apollinaris was a close friend of St. Athanasius and a stanch defender of Nicea. But in his zeal to refute Arians, he developed a theology which was eventually condemned by the Church.

Apollinaris taught that Christ’s divinity replaced the rational part (i.e. intellect and will) of his human nature. That means Christ is consubstantial with the Father, but not consubstantial with us. The teaching of Apollinaris was condemned by the Council of Constantinople in 381. The Church teaches that Christ has the complete human nature.

The Council of Ephesus (431)

Theodore of Mopsuestia (ca. 350-428) taught that in Christ, there are two persons, the divine person and the human person. His disciple, Nestorius, continued to teach this false doctrine as patriarch of Constantinople. He even preached against the title “Mother of God”.

St. Cyril (ca. 376-444), the patriarch of Alexandria, challenged Nestorius. The role of St. Cyril against Nestorianism was similar to the role of St. Athanasius against Arianism. In 431 the Council of Ephesus condemned the teachings of Nestorius and affirmed that “Emmanuel is truly God, and the holy Virgin is, therefore, Mother of God, for she gave birth in the flesh to the Word of God made flesh.”

The crucial word for the Council of Nicea was “substance”, whereas the crucial word for the Council of Ephesus was “hypostatic”, which means “personal”. In Christ, the divine nature and human nature are united personally.

The Council of Chalcedon (451)

At Alexandria, in opposition to Nestorianism, the monk Eutyches (378-454) taught that after the Incarnation, the human nature was merged in the divine. This heresy is called Monophysitism. The patriarch of Constantinople, St. Flavian, called a synod which condemned Eutyches. Pope St. Leo the Great (ca. 400-461) wrote his classic Dogmatic Letter to Flavian (The Tome of Leo) stating Christ is one person with two natures.

When The Tome of Leo was read at the Council of Chalcedon, the assembled bishops exclaimed, “This is the faith of the Fathers. This is the faith of the Apostles. This is the faith of all of us. Peter has spoken through Leo.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church summed up the conciliat teachings: “Jesus Christ possesses two natures, one divine and the other human, not confused, but united in the one person of God’s Son.”

「基督學」是研究耶穌基督, 特別是祂「一體兩性(天主性和人性)」的奧蹟。第四及第五世紀的四個大公會議,欽定了基督「是天主亦是人」的當信道理。彌撒中公唸的「尼西亞信經」,讓我們在禮儀中宣認這當信道理。

尼西亞大公會議The Council of Nicea(325年)

來自亞歷山地亞Alexandria的亞略Arius (250 或 256 -336) 神父 ,提出了「亞略主義Arianism」異端,否認耶穌的天主性,指出耶穌只不過是一位獨特的受造物;而當時衛道熾烈的是聖師亞大納削St. Athanasius (ca. 296-373) 。年幼的亞大納削,被主教亞歷山大Alexander看見替其他小朋友付洗,發覺他極大愛主之心,也看出他是個天才,遂為他提供教導, 育練他成為神父。年僅二十五歲的亞大納削,發表了有關「道成肉身On the Incarnation of the Word of God」箸名的論文。未及三十歲的他,主導著尼西亞大公會議——欽定天主聖子是與聖父同性同體。

尼西亞大公會議後不久,聖亞大納削繼任為亞歷山地亞主教。亞略異端轉向影響當時的權貴,但亞大納削不畏皇權,維持開除亞略神父等人的教籍。聖人五次被放逐,前後共十七年之久。廖文樞機Cardinal John Henry Newman形容聖亞大納削「是繼眾宗徒後,最能把基督神聖的真理,傳遞和保存給普世的人。」

君士坦丁堡大公會議The Council of Constantinople (381年)

當亞略否定基督的天主性時,另邊又產生了否定基督人性的「亞玻林Apollinaris論」異端。 亞玻林 (ca. 310-390) 原是聖亞大納削的好友,雖合力抗衡亞略異端,但他自己卻發展了另一套神學異端——聖言(天主性)在基督內取代了人性靈魂(理智、意志)的位置,有別於我們一般的人性。這異端雖承認基督與天父有同一本性, 卻否認祂與我們有同樣的人性。381年的君士坦丁堡大公會議,否定亞玻林謬論,明言基督也取了一個人完整的理性靈魂, 因而有完全的人性。

厄弗所大公會議The Council of Ephesus(431年)

莫素式亞Mopsuestia的戴多祿Theodore (ca. 350-428) 教授基督有兩個位格的異端。他的門生,聶斯多略Nestorius以君士坦丁堡宗主教身份,推行這異端——「聶斯多略教派Nestorianism(亦即後來傳入中國的景教)」:主張基督有兩位格及兩性體,瑪利亞只是基督人性的母親,並非天主之母。

亞歷山地亞宗主教聖濟利祿St. Cyril (ca. 376-444) ,挑戰聶斯多略,就如聖亞大納削抗辯亞略異端一樣。431年厄弗所大公會議譴責了聶斯多略教派,確認「厄瑪奴爾是真天主,故此,至聖童貞是天主之母,因為她生育了成了血肉的天主聖言。」

325年的尼西亞大公會議的關鍵在於「基督的性體substance」,而431年的厄弗所大公會議則重於「基督的位格hypostatic / personal」。因而,在基督內,完整的天主性和人性是在一個位格Person內結合。

加采東大公會議The Council of Chalcedon (451年)

在亞歷山地亞反對聶斯多略教派聲中,竟然有一位名叫沃迪奇Eutyches (378-454)的隱修士,提出「基督單性論Monophysitism」——主張基督之人性被天主性吸收。君士坦丁堡宗主教聖法萊文St. Flavian馬上召開主教會議,予以駁斥。教宗聖良一世St. Leo the Great (ca. 400-461) 給聖法萊文一封具代表性的信函(良之巨箸Tome of Leo),堅持了基督一位兩性之說。



Pax Sinica (August 30): Theological thoughts from early centuries 第三、第四世紀聖教會的神學思想

Last week, we looked at the teachings of the Fathers in the first two centuries. This week and next week, we are going to look at the theological thoughts of the third and fourth centuries.


According to the Modern Catholic Dictionary, exegesis is “the art and science of investigating and expressing the true sense of Sacred Scripture. Its function is to find out what exactly a given passage of the Bible says.”

In the third century, there were two main schools of exegesis----Alexandria and Antioch. The school of Alexandria tended towards mystical allegorism, while the school of Antioch tended towards the literal interpretation of the Bible.

One of the most important scholars at the time was Origen (185-253) from the school of Alexandria. Origen’s father, Leonides, was a martyr. Origen desired to follow his father’s footsteps, but was prevented by his mother. After his father’s martyrdom, Origen supported his mother and six young brothers by teaching both in public and in private. Soon, he became the head of the catechetical school in Alexandria. Under Origen’s leadership, this school soon became the nursery of neophytes, confessors, and martyrs. Origen would accompany his martyr-students to the scene of martyrdom and encouraged them with his exhortations.

There were strong oppositions against him from within the Church in Alexandria. Hence, in 231, Origen left Alexandria and took refuge at Caesarea, where he opened a school which became even more famous than the one at Alexandria. Origen wrote many books, one of them is “On Prayer”, which is an explanation of the Our Father. Origen labored in Caesarea until the Decian persecution.

During the persecution, Origen was imprisoned and tortured for two years. After the death of Decius, he was released. In 253, two years after his release, Origen died as a result of the injuries he endured during persecution.

Different Senses of Scripture

Origen was the first one to formulate the theory of the three senses of Scripture based on the analogy of human psychology: body (the letter), soul and spirit.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “one can distinguish between two senses of Scripture: the literal and the spiritual, the latter being subdivided into the allegorical, moral, and anagogical senses.” A medieval couplet summarizes the significance of the four senses: “The Letter speaks of deeds; Allegory to faith; The Moral how to act; Anagogy our destiny.”

Take the word “Jerusalem” as an example: The literal sense of “Jerusalem” is the Holy City; taken allegorically, “Jerusalem” denotes the Church Militant; understood tropologically, “Jerusalem” stands for the just soul; finally, in its anagogical sense, “Jerusalem” stands for the Church Triumphant.

Love for Sacred Scripture

Origen had a profound reverence for the word of God. In one of his homilies, Origen preached, “I wish to admonish you with examples from your religion. You are accustomed to take part in the divine mysteries, so you know how, when you have received the Body of the Lord, you reverently exercise every care lest a particle of it fall, and lest anything of the consecrated gift perish. You account yourselves guilty, and rightly do you so believe, if any of it be lost through negligence. But if you observe such caution in keeping His Body, and properly so, how is it that you think neglecting the word of God a lesser crime than neglecting His Body?"

At Holy Mass, we are being fed by Christ with both His word and His body. Let us never neglect these precious gifts from God. Outside Holy Mass, we can continue to venerate the word and the body of Christ by reading the sacred scripture and by adoring the Blessed Sacrament. Holy Mother Church grants partial indulgences for these devotional practices. If a faithful read sacred scripture or adore the Blessed Sacrament for at least half an hour, the indulgence is a plenary one.

Imitating Our Lady and the Church Fathers, let us approach the word of God daily with the spirit of faith, silence, and openness.



按「現代天主教辭典Modern Catholic Dictionary」詮釋,「釋經學exegesis」一詞為『從文學和科學角度,探討及表達聖經內容的真義,進而找出聖經傳遞真正的訊息。』

第三世紀,有兩大神學中心: 亞歷山迪里亞城Alexandria的神學家傾向於着重聖經內屬靈的意義;而安提阿城Antioch的神學家則着重聖經內字面的意義。

亞歷山迪里亞學院其中一位最重要的學者名為奧利振Origen (185-253) 。奧利振原有意步其父親李安迪Leonides後塵成為殉道者,但被母親阻止。他公開禾私下地執教,以養活母親和六個幼弟。不久,他領導了亞歷山迪里亞城的教授要理學校,並使之成為培育傳道者、證道和殉道者的苗圃,他更親自陪同殉道者到刑場,鼓勵他們。不過,在當時亞歷山迪里亞教會的反對勢力下,奧利振在公元二三一年離開亞歷山迪里亞城,退避到凱撒肋亞Caesarea城,開設學校。他除了使這所學院比原來的更具名聲,亦箸作很多書本;他所寫「論祈禱On Prayer」一書,詳細解釋了「天主經」。



奧利振是第一位以人類心理來比諭聖經內含有的意義:肉身(字面上)body (letter)、靈魂soul和精神spirit。

天主教教理Catechism of the Catholic Church #115指出:『依照古老的傳統,聖經的意義可分為兩種:即字面的意義和屬靈的意義,而後者再可分寓意allegorical、倫理moral,及末世anagogical的意義。』#118『中古時代的一首短詩巧妙地總結了上述四種意義:文字,事之所載;寓意,信之所賴;倫理,行之所依;末世,心之所望。』






Published at Pax Sinica column (August 30) of The B.C . Catholic newspaper

Pax Sinica (August 23): Fathers of the 1st & 2nd Centuries 第一、第二世紀聖教會的教父

August 28 is the feast of St. Augustine, a prominent Church Father. And in the month of September, we are going celebrate the feasts of a number of Church Fathers: St. Gregory the Great, St. John Chrysostom, St. Cornelius, St. Cyprian, and St. Jerome. In these few weeks, we are going to study the Church Fathers---teachers of Faith in the first centuries.

Defenders of Unity

In the first century, the Apostles wrote Epistles to members of the different local churches in order to strengthen faith and unity. At the turn of the first century, St. Clement and St. Ignatius also wrote letters for similar purposes.

St. Paul was concern about the spirit of faction among the Corinthians. Around the year 96 A.D., St. Clement of Rome, the third successor to St. Peter, wrote a letter to the Church of Corinth which was troubled by schisms. In the letter, he wrote, “Take into your hands the Epistle of the blessed Apostle Paul. What did he first write to you, at the outset of the Gospel-preaching? Of a truth he wrote to you in the Spirit concerning himself and Cephas (Peter) and Apollo, because even at that time you made factions.” The letter of St. Clement is both a documentation of the charity which united the Christians, and an indication of the authority of the Church of Rome.

St. Ignatius of Antioch wrote seven letters to different Churches on his way to martyrdom at Rome around 110. Like, St. Clement, he was an admirer of St. Paul. He wrote, “you are sharers in the mysteries with Paul, the holy, the martyred, the ever-blessed Paul, in whose footsteps may I be treading when I come to meet God.”

St. Ignatius was the first one to use the term “Catholic Church”. For Ignatius, the office of bishop is the safeguard of unity. He wrote, “Wherever the bishop is, there let the people be, as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church.” The letters of St. Ignatius give us a complete picture of the belief and life of the Church in the first years of the second century.

Defenders of Doctrines

The two main challenges of the Church in the second century were the growing opposition to the new religion and Gnosticism.

In face of growing hostility, the Christians sought to refute objections and calumnies and at the same time tried to justify their faith rationally. As a result, many apologetical literatures were composed in the second century. Many Apologists were layman---philosophers who converted to Christianity. The most important Apologist in the second century is St. Justin, who was martyred at Rome around 165. He demonstrated the divinity of Christ by means of both prophecies and philosophy. He also gave detailed description of the rites of Baptism and of the Eucharist.

Gnosticism was an effort to achieve religious knowledge superior to the faith. It employed Christian vocabularies, but emptied the whole content of revelation and substituted a collection of myths taken over from Greco-Oriental mysticism. Gnosticism was founded on radical dualism---believing in the struggle between the good God and the bad demiurge who created the material world.

Anti-Gnostic literatures were composed by faithful Catholics to refute errors. One of the most important writers is St. Irenaeus, who was a disciple of St. Polycarp, who in turn was a disciple of St. John the Apostle.

In his famous work, “Against the Heresies”, St. Irenaeus affirmed some fundamental principles of the Christian faith: living Tradition from the Apostles is the rule of Faith, the Roman Church posses the highest authority, salvation consists in the revelation of Christ, there is but one God, and the whole person (body and soul) must by saved by the Word.

In the 21st century, our Church faces challenges similar to that of the early centuries: growing hostility of secular society, the new age movement, and disunity resulted from the disregard of ecclesiastical authority. May we, like the Church Fathers, be not afraid to refute falsehood and proclaim the truth.

八月二十八日,是聖奧思定(思定)St. Augustine瞻禮,他是我們聖教會的一位傑出教父。九月份中,我們亦有幾位教父的瞻禮慶日:聖大額我略(國瑞一世)St. Gregory the Great、聖若望金口St. John Chryosostom、聖高內略(高略)St. Cornelius、聖西彼廉(啟廉)St. Cyprian及聖熱羅尼莫(業樂)St. Jerome。這幾個星期, 我們有一系列的文章來探索早期聖教會教父們的生平和教導。


早年的教會,宗徒們致函各地方教會以堅強信眾的信德和他們的團結。在第一世紀未和第二世紀初, 聖格肋孟St. Clement和聖依納爵St. Ignatius of Antioch 也以書信來捍衛教會的合一。

聖保祿宗徒曾擔心格林多人Corinthians分成小派系。約在公元九十六年,聖伯多祿宗徒的第三位繼任人聖格肋孟教宗去信當時分裂的格林多教會:「翻看聖徒保祿給你們的遺函吧。在宣講福音的初期, 他給你們寫了什麽?事實上, 他在聖神內給你們寫了關於他自己、刻法(伯多祿)和亞玻羅的事, 因為那時你們已在各分派系。」聖格肋孟的牧函,以愛德團結基督徒,並顯示出羅馬教會的權威。

公元一一零年,安提約主教, 聖依納爵, 在羅馬殉道。在前往羅馬的途中,他給不同的地方教會寫了七封信。聖依納爵和聖格肋孟一樣,十今尊敬聖保祿宗徒。他寫道:「你們分享了殉道聖徒----真福保祿的信仰奧理,願我在會見天主時, 也在步武他的足跡。」。

聖依納爵是首位稱教會為「公教會Catholic Church」。他認為主教是衛護教會合一的重要人物。他寫道:「主教在那裡,信眾就在那裡,就如耶穌在那裡,公教會就在那裡。」聖依納爵在書信內全面地描述了第二世紀初教會的信仰和生活。



處身於敵意的對立和誹謗,信徒們一方面需要反駁邪說, 另一方面要理性地維護信理,因此衍生了大量護教或辯證的著作,當中不少來自平信徒或歸化公教的哲學家,而於一六五年在羅馬殉道的聖猶斯定St. Justin,是最重要的一位,他以先知預言和哲理,大力論證基督的天主性,也詳述了聖洗和聖體聖事的禮儀。

唯識論異端徒強調得到一些超越信仰的「知識」。他們雖運用基督徒的辭彙,但以希臘東方Greco-Oriental的神話來取代了真正信仰的內容。他們提倡宇宙「二元論」—– 正(造靈之神)邪(造物之神)二神的互爭。

芸芸貞忠信眾的護教行動中,最重要莫如聖依勒內St. Irenaeus的箸作,他強力地駁斥了此等的異端邪說。聖依勒內是聖波利卡浦St. Polycarp的門徒,而聖波利卡浦則是聖若望宗徒的門徒。

聖依勒內在他有名的箸作「對抗異端」中,肯定了基督信仰的根本信條:來自宗徒的聖傳是信仰的準則、羅馬教會擁有最高權力、救恩來自基督的啟示、只有一個天主、我們整個人(靈魂和肉身) 都需被天主聖言救贖。

今日二十一世紀的聖教會,仍面對當年相若的挑戰:俗世有增無減的敵意、各式所謂的「新世代運動new age movement」,與及因漠視教會權力而彌漫的分裂。我們要效法早期的教父們,駁斥謬誤、宣認真理。

Published at Pax Sinica column (August 26) of The B.C . Catholic newspaper

Sunday, September 5, 2010

St. Peter Virtual Tours


Tonight, I came across the virtual tour of St. Peter’s in the Vatican.

Please click HERE to enjoy seeing the Basilica from your home.