PRAYING WITH THE CHURCH

9/30/2020 7:46:22 PM
October 2020
 

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INTENTION: That by virtue of baptism, the laity, especially women, may participate more in areas of responsibility in the Church.

Laity in the Joy of the Gospel

 

 "Lay people are, put simply, the vast majority of the people of God. The minority - ordained ministers - are at their service.

 

 There has been a growing awareness of the identity and mission of the laity in the Church. We can count on many lay persons, although still not nearly enough, who have a deeply-rooted sense of community and great fidelity to the tasks of charity, catechesis and the celebration of the faith.

 

 At the same time, a clear awareness of this responsibility of the laity, grounded in their baptism and confirmation, does not appear in the same way in all places. In some cases, it is because lay persons have not been given the formation needed to take on important responsibilities. In others, it is because in their particu- lar Churches room has not been made for them to speak and to act, due to an excessive clericalism which keeps them away from decision-making.

 

 Even if many are now involved in the lay min- istries, this involvement is not reflected in a greater penetration of Christian values in the social, political and economic sectors. It often remains tied to tasks within the Church, without a real commitment to applying the Gospel to the transformation of society.

 

 The formation of the laity and the evangelisation of professional and intellectual life represent a significant pastoral challenge."

 

 Pope Francis,

 The Joy of the Gospel,

 

 

Passion for God: laity called to holiness

 

 The vocation of the laity in the Church is not pure activism, in the same way that "spiritual things" are not only for priests and men and women religious.

 

 The Christian experience of the laity is not reduced to encountering humanity. It takes place at the same time within an intimate encounter with God. The spiri- tual experience of the laity is an experience with Christ and that experience cannot be separated from the laity's experience with the poor.

 

 The spiritual life that each baptized person is called to develop is not a running away from the world! It is essentially to come back to the universal call addressed to all and therefore to each faithful lay person, for this call implants its roots in baptism and is strengthened by the other sacraments.

 

 The baptised must therefore be a passionate person of God, steadily advancing on the road of evangelical renewal.

 

The Response

 

 The response to the call to holiness is not an abstract path, lost in the clouds. It is not a far-off and trivial desire. It is a true searching for the perfection of being, the fulfilment of the total person, such as God created him/her, such as God desires to see him/her fully develop.

 

 It is the search for true goodness for oneself, and also with and for others in a specific way; a goodness, a perfection that is found in authentic union with God and our brothers and sisters.

 

 Therefore, it is something very concrete that takes a lifetime and affecting all areas of life, not only what we strictly call spiritual life.

 

 In the search for holiness, the Christian want to find his/her full development, his/her full accomplish- ment in conformity to Christ. The road is not easy. But it is essential to offer it as the heart of the Christian vocation from which all the rest follows, and to show that the journey on this path is not alone but in solidari- ty, with Christ and with other baptised persons.

 

Vocation and Mission

 

 This lay vocation to holiness is expressed in a particular way in the laity's insertion within temporal realities and their participation in the world's activities. This signifies that the vocation to holiness is intimately linked to the vocation to the mission.

 

 It is everyday life, with all its commitments, in particular in service to others in the Church and in the world, that must become an occasion of union with God and accomplishing God's will. In this way the laity con- tribute to the building up of the Kingdom of God.

 

 In summary, as John Paul II reminds us in his apostolic letter at the close of the Great Jubilee year, to put pastoral life under the sign of holiness is a choice of great consequence. "It implies the conviction that, since Baptism is a true entry into the holiness of God through incorporation into Christ and the indwelling of God's Spirit, it would be a contradiction to settle for a life of mediocrity, marked by a minimalist ethic and a shallow religiosity" (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 31).

 

 Jean Landousies, CM

 Laity in the Church Today

 Vincentiana De Paul University

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◾《和平》之聲

願平信徒,尤其是女性平信徒,因著洗禮,能在教會內分擔更多的責任。 

月祈禱意向的每一個字,基本上都觸及具爭議性的議題。梵二為加強「平信徒職務」這個教會概念,進行了很多討論。若說「職務」,倒不如更準確地說是「平信徒使命」,以申明它的神學性;因為「職務」純粹是行政用語,神學價值微乎其微,如果不是完全沒有。雖然「平信徒」有男有女,但很多時,到了討論的時候,「平信徒」就只作男性而論。亞馬遜世界主教會議是一例,當時討論到給平信徒授予聖秩職,男性是唯一的對象,沒有包括女性在內。本月的祈禱意向似乎察覺到這個異象,而刻意加入「尤其是女性平信徒」。「更多的責任」相當含糊,確實可排除給女性授予執事或司鐸聖秩的可能性討論。委派女性在不同的教廷委員會任職,已經很容易被視為「在教會內分擔更多的責任」,而迴避更具爭議性的議題。既然樞機不屬教會的聖秩等級,委任女性為樞機會否是本月祈禱意向的一個答覆?代教宗撰寫這祈禱意向者,可曾想過這會是本月祈禱意向衍生的可能結果?由此,很簡單,我們必須小心謹慎地祈求,最重要的是,無論天主怎樣答覆,我們都要作好準備。如果我們發現自己難以接受天主答覆我們的方式,我們可能需要更熱切地懇求聖神恩賜信德和勇氣,平靜安詳地去接受那看似是天主給予我們的啟示,甚或看似是天主對我們的要求。


二零二零年 十月《和平》

9月、10月、11月號,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
(續上)

完美主義是一種自戀的分心

然而,我們不該以為所有分心都是由外而來。至少有一種分心,來自對美德、對天主的服從、對靈性生命滋長的宗教追求。我們稱之為「完美主義」,並在不同年齡和背景,給它塗上不同顏色。這分心源遠流長,一直是宗教洞悉和宗教生活的致命傷。聖保祿與早期基督徒,直呼那些非常委身奉獻,卻明顯地在度著特殊生活方式的團體為「法利塞主義」。我們都曾經遇上,並一直在玩弄;常不感覺到它是個問題,只視之為宗徒時代的事。可是,它為任何一個人,在任何時候,都是誘惑,都是真正的分心。

現代心理學很重視一個現象:人對自己、對自我形象、對外表,或對群眾看法的特別關注。有人稱之為「自戀」。這正好合乎我們現在處理的這類分心。矛盾的是,我們對完美的追求,使我們分心。在這裏,「典型」給予我們很大的幫助。這些男女無條件地跟隨了基督的自我空虛,因而不受任何「自我」所妨礙,不會因「自我」而分心。他們甚至用上邏輯上「過分」的語言,來表達他們的百分百專心:「我甚至渴望承受與基督隔絕這詛咒的痛苦」……,「我的天主,它不會推動我去愛你」……,「空無,空無,空無」……,「第三級謙遜……」,「相信我看見的白色是黑色」……,等等。

完美主義者的分心,為耶穌會士來說,可以很難捉摸。在我自己或另一個人身上,不難發現(有或多或少的警號!),但在我們工作的團體或機構,卻較難識別。基本的分心因「副分心」,而變得更複雜,例如是競賽、緊貼技術潮流的強迫性、擁有電子產品、使用可行的新方式交流等。機構可傾向把「完美主義」作為量度進步的準則,作為在競爭激烈的世界市場中對未來的保證。無怪乎,除聖週外,我們從不慶祝跟隨基督的「失敗天國」,卻只會常常慶祝勝利。這不是我們所作的錯誤選擇使我們難免分心嗎?

「自我」是頭號分心

當然,最大最中央的分心,是自我。我們的自我不會休息,永遠吸引我們的注意力。毋需貶低「靈修指導員」的角色 ── 無論好壞 ── 我們都可以肯定地說,在人生旅途中,最大的分心源於「自我」。

當我們的心神聚焦不正,便會出現分心。矛盾或困難的經驗,即使時而非常嚴峻,都是活出福音和傳遞福音的契機。真正屬靈的人,會以極大的內心自由,迎向這經驗,進而得與天主、與真理、與深明痛苦為何物的卑微者更親近。靈性修為較薄弱者,遭痛苦磨難,會視之為遭陰謀暗算。他們感到受迫害,自然地,失去了內心的平安和喜樂。將注意力集中於被誤解或受創傷的自我,結果造成巨大的分心。

另一個相似的情況,就是當我們作決定時,焦點不在於我永遠不能操縱或指揮的天主旨意,而是按照他人的意思,儘管這些都是受大眾歡迎的意見;或者是按照我們所喜歡、所愛慕或佩服的人的意見來作決定。我會叫這種分心為「迎合大眾的分心」。這分心使作決定的過程由漫長而不受控的明辨,轉而取決於一個較輕易的動態,即團體的感覺和舉動,即使來自聖潔和高貴的人。

當我們的人性和屬靈視野收窄時,這情況同樣會出現。很明顯,當我們愛上自己的看法,尤其如果我們認為自己的見解聰慧過人,是城中的最好,這情況就最常見。我們的見解可令我們分心到若要列舉我們的看法,我們可以說個不停。當聖依納爵給完成神操的人,提供一些指引,以便他們能夠「與聖教會思想一致」時,他是在嘗試幫助他們擺脫令他們分心的這種狹窄視野。話聽起來是強硬的,也難以接受,但聖人願欲的,是自由,是人能開放去接受更多,而非僅僅只是幾個主意,即使那幾個主意恰好都是我自己的見解。

如果我們談論的是意識形態和意識形態的選擇,而非個人見解,這自由的重要性,就很明顯了。多少個被形容為是由個人或團體所作的明辨而生的決定,其實只是個經過一個類似真正明辨的模式,假明辨之名而有的意識形態選擇?在這些情況下,連神學都是為意識形態服務,那就是分心。

當團體,或跟團體的屬靈關係逐漸消失或完全消失時,由自我產生的分心,就最強烈了。身為獻身的修道人,我們承諾大家一起,共同以一個信仰、使命和愛的團體,去尋求天主的旨意。這裏,我們找到「服從」,這個常被誤解的修道誓言的真正意義。壞消息是,這是非常困難的,尤其是為那些更有遠見,更聰慧,更積極投身到一種或另一種重要事業的人。……

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