PRAYING WITH THE CHURCH

8/31/2020 10:33:22 PM
September 2020

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INTENTION: That the planet's resources will not be plundered, but shared in a just and respectful manner.

Creation is a sacred gift deserving respect and care 

 
Humanity has failed to take care of the earth and its inhabitants, sinning against God and his gift of creation, Pope Francis said.

Celebrating Earth Day, which fell during the "Easter season of renewal, let us pledge to love and esteem the beautiful gift of the earth, our common home, and to care for all members of our human family," he said during his live-streamed weekly general audience from the Vatican.

The Pope dedicated his catechesis April 22 to a reflection on the human and Christian responsibility to care for the earth, humanity's common home. The day marked the 50th Earth Day, which was established in 1970 to raise public awareness and concern for the environment and its impact on people's health and all life. This year also marks the fifth anniversary of the Pope's encyclical, "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home."

In his catechesis, the pope said Earth Day was "an occasion for renewing our commitment to love and care for our common home and for the weaker members of our human family."

"As the tragic coronavirus pandemic has taught us, we can overcome global challenges only by showing solidarity with one another and embracing the most vulnerable in our midst," he said.

As the Book of Genesis relates, he said, "we live in this common home as one human family in biodiversity with God's other creatures," and God has called on humanity to care for and respect his creation and "to offer love and compassion to our brothers and sisters, especially the most vulnerable among us, in imitation of God's love for us, manifested in his son Jesus."

God is good and always forgives, the pope said, however, "The earth never forgives: if we have despoiled the earth, the response will be very bad."

"Because of our selfishness, we have failed in our responsibility to be guardians and stewards of the earth," the pope said. "We have polluted and despoiled it, endangering our very lives."

The Pope expressed his deep appreciation for the many international and local movements and initiatives that have been created in an effort to raise awareness and stir people's consciences and he said it will still be necessary "for our children to take to the streets to teach us the obvious: we have no future if we destroy the very environment that sustains us."

"We have failed to care for the earth, our garden-home; we have failed to care for our brothers and sisters. We have sinned against the earth, against our neighbours and ultimately against the Creator, the benevolent father who provides for everyone and desires us to live in communion and flourish together," he said.

It is imperative that people restore "a harmonious relationship" with the earth and with the rest of humanity, he said.

It requires a new way of looking at the earth, not as a "storehouse of resources for us to exploit," but as a sacred gift for sustaining all of humanity.

The Pope said so many natural tragedies "are the earth's response to our mistreatment."

"If I ask the Lord now what he thinks, I don't think he will tell me something very good. We are the ones who have ruined the work of the Lord!" the pope said.

"In today's celebration of Earth Day, we are called to renew our sense of sacred respect for the earth, for it is not just our home but also God's home. This should make us all the more aware that we stand on holy ground!" Francis said.

An "ecological conversion," which stems from a loving and respectful contemplation of the earth's beauty and leads to concrete action is needed, he said.

Because the world and all its people are interdependent, the Pope said, the whole international community must cooperate in the protection "of our common home."

For this reason, the pope urged leaders to "guide the preparations for two important international conferences" - the COP15 on biological diversity to be held in Kunming, China, and the COP26 on climate change in Glasgow, Scotland, both of which have been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Pope said he supported the many forms of cooperative action on national and local levels.

"It will help if people at all levels of society come together to create a popular movement" from the grassroots, much the same way Earth Day was founded, he said.

by Carol Glatz
 Apr 22, 2020 

Climate activists to emerge stronger from coronavirus crisis, says Greta Thunberg

 The world's young climate activists will come out of the coronavirus crisis even stronger and more motivated than before, Greta Thunberg predicted on Wednesday, April 22.

 In an online video conversation on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the Swedish 17-year-old activist said members of the Fridays for Future movement - students who strike each week to demand action to curb global warming - retain a "big sense of resistance."
 

Lockdowns and other restrictions imposed by governments to stem the spread of COVID-19 - which has killed about 180,000 people this year - have forced activists to go online with digital protests, virtual meetings and educational webinars.

But Thunberg told the discussion broadcast on YouTube from the Nobel Prize Museum in Stockholm that she felt "many people have not lost their sense of hope," despite living through tough times.

"We have just changed the way we do things, and we are maybe just saving it for later," she added. "People are thinking we will get out of this and when we do, we will continue and we will do everything we can... to continue to push even harder."

by Megan Rowling
 Apr 22, 2020

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◾《和平》之聲

願地球資源不被掠奪,而以公平和尊重的態度共同分享。 

教宗方濟各的《願祢受讚頌》通諭,不僅提及氣候變化,也提到人類與大自然明顯在惡化的關係及其造成的嚴重後果。教宗肯定:凡涉及生態的議題也是社會的議題,單是這一點,足以構成他撰寫這通諭的理由。雖然在撰寫期間,他備受批評,說他無資格就所謂的科學課題發聲。可是,只要是關乎人的,就已經是一個宗教的問題。目前議題牽涉的,是每個信徒都有:求天主拯救地球生態的責任。祈禱意向所用的「掠奪」一詞,是在直接批評那些使用、過度或錯誤使用、濫用地球資源,至危害人類生命的不同團體。關乎社會的,就與人有關;凡與人有關的,通常也牽涉到政治。讓我們以水為例來解釋意向中「尊重的態度」這用語。水是極重要的資源之一,又很容易被政客濫用,以至危害他人的生命,因為河川可流經不同國家或國與國之間的邊界。於是,給一個國家或地區供應的水,可被控制或限制;又或者上游的水可被嚴重污染,以至下游的國家或地區不能使用。一個國家不尊重別國或地區人民合理生活需要的態度,會引發戰爭,令百姓受苦,甚至死亡。儘管清潔用水和清新空氣,對人的生存極為重要,但處於危急關頭的,何只二者,還有許多其他。分享地球資源,不論質或量,都必須尊重其他的使用者。


二零二零年 九月《和平》

一連三期的特稿,乃譯自前耶穌會總會長 倪勝民神父(Adolfo Nicolas SJ)的隨筆,題為《從分心到專心:一個歸心的邀請》。 )

從分心到專心:一個歸心的邀請

註:多年前,教宗本篤十六世在位期間,耶穌會總會長倪勝民神父(Adolfo Nicolas SJ),草擬了些重點,擬給會士們發信。雖然由始至終,他沒有寫這封信,卻跟幾位朋友分享了這些重點。下文儘管仍見粗疏和隨意,卻清楚表達了他的思維方向。在得到倪神父的同意下,我們現在與大家分享。

我們修道人已經有好一段時間,懷疑自己在教會內的生活和作見證的能力及吸引力。毋需有過人的洞察力或作深入分析,都可以看到,我們的所謂「修道生活」,在教會內外,都失去了某種影響的能力。當然,此非一概而論。一些宗教團體透過他們真實的生活、濟貧的服務,或深度的祈禱,保持了,甚至是加強了他們的公信性。可是,問題依然存在。我們到底失去了些什麼?我們在什麼地方出了錯?我們誤解了更新的召叫嗎?我們是否無方向,無目標?

典型作模範

我重新閱讀一些典型的修道生活:依納爵羅耀拉、方濟沙勿略、十字若望、德蘭亞維拉。我發現他們最能煥發人心,就像重返家園,回歸本原,再嘗初戀,再回到那個值得我把整個生命奉獻的初衷。我反覆自問:什麼在他們身上固有的,而我們卻喪失了呢?我想就是他們的完全歸心(total centering)。他們被聖神的火和基督的生命與風采所抓住,並停留在那裏,完全歸心,探索其深度,把整個生命環繞著這個新的中心點重建。他們在這個經驗當中,接觸到底部,從此為它而活,與它一起燃燒,並與別人分享它的火燄和光芒。他們照耀世世代代在尋找這種深度,或因為這種深度存在而驚訝的人。這些「典型」(因缺乏更好的用語),都完全歸心。站在這些聖人身旁,如果你容許我,我會說:我們似乎都十分愚蠢地「分心」。

為此,我想分享一些反省。請注意,我不是典型。他們認識天主,寫怎樣深度切入天主的生命。我認識的是分心 ── 兼且幾乎是這方面的專家 ── 我寫我認識的。

從「祈禱的分心」到「生活的分心」

初度修道生活時,祈禱時分心,是我的一大關注。在昔日與世隔絕,近乎隱居的初學生涯,每週的修和聖事,總要找些什麼說說,而祈禱時的分心,通常便成了救星。經歷了多年的掙扎和失敗,我才覺悟到,我的真正分心在於我的生活,而非我的祈禱。我差不多在每個生活、工作或學業範疇上都分心。無怪乎我的祈禱同樣萎靡。當我的心神被那麼多事情所分散,我怎可能歸心祈禱?

這覺悟為我大大敞開了一道通往意識之門,也通往其中一個最傳統的依納爵祈禱方式:意識省察。我像許多其他度修道生活的朋友一樣,不是壞人。我們都正正經經,有分有寸,盡力做好被委派的一切:祈禱、授課、踢足球、協助舉行聖週禮儀。我們甚至歌喉大好。但我們都「分心」。這是我再次閱讀我們的大師、那些典型時所發現的。

分心令人容易跌進的誘惑

請注意,我不想責備任何個別人士。如果我們分心,這是因為使人分心的事,就在我們周圍。這些分心通常都是任何一個人類社會的「人之常情」。很多時候,令人分心的,是那麼的合乎「常情道理」,以致如果你不支持,你會被指奇怪、不可靠,甚至有時被視為對團體的背叛性不忠。我會在這裏涵括所有來自社會、種族或文化團體的因素。可是,不幸地,不難發現有修道人非常投入這些團體,他們把自己少年時的整套理想主義投射其中,或投射到限定的「事業」上,以致最終成為非常有限的社會、種族或文化利益的領袖。這是極大的分心,是我從來未曾在任何「典型」見過的。

另一個「容易」跌進的誘惑,是在情感上認同某些在錯綜複雜的情況下受苦的團體。我現在想到的,是一些曾經遭受壓迫或不公平待遇,現利用這些確實悲慘的經歷為由,自命為永久的「受害者」。有時,團體會以曾被邊緣化為手段,爭得享有永久的特權。由於度獻身生活的人,通常都是善心的,故容易因此而分心。

換句話說,修道人想做耶穌基督的福音代表,在面對意識形態和意識形態思維時,傾向軟弱。現實生活的含糊和灰色地帶,令我們難於處理。因為我們接受的培訓,教我們要徹底委身,我們容易將全部真理投射到我們認為是被召去履行的使命,於是,對細微差別、模稜兩可,甚至連「黑白分明」的世界觀,都變得視而不見。多年來,修道團體存在著意見分歧 ── 耶穌會包括在內 ── 從事社會工作者與從事教育工作者,意見分歧;為窮人服務的與為精英服務的,意見不合。我們從神學角度,或試圖從神學角度,辯解我們的選擇,卻沒有意識到,在當中運作的,其實是意識形態。果真讓人分心!我們並非時常了解,優先選擇為窮人服務,乃出於愛,是發自內心,是由內而生的選擇,就像耶穌對匱乏的群眾動了憐憫之心一樣。我們不能「要求」別人選擇服務窮人,因為須發自內心。缺乏這種重要的洞悉,我們將「優先選擇」詮釋為「道德義務」,並感覺到,要求別人這樣做是恰當的,還險些把他們視作次等基督徒,指他們缺乏承擔,損害福音精神。在極端情況下,我們甚至無法待他們如同兄弟姐妹;他們是福音事業的叛徒。

HOW TO PRAY WITH SHALOM
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