PRAYING WITH THE CHURCH

11/30/2020 3:45:42 PM
December 2020

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INTENTION: That our personal relationship with Jesus Christ be nourished by the Word of God and a life of prayer.

God's Word Is My Necessary Spiritual Food

"I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food." (Job 23:12b)

Almost everyone has a very healthy physical appetite. But how is your spiritual "appetite"? Did you know that God's Word ought to be more important to us than meeting our everyday needs like food and drink? Have you ever given God's Word the same amount of attention you give to your body's daily food?

The Bible says, "Desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby" (1 Peter 2:2). This verse uses a word picture that compares God's Word with daily food that we need to survive. "Sincere" food means the "real thing," food that is not just fake or unsatisfying. We can be sure that God's Word is satisfying, rich, and very, very good. "O taste and see that the LORD is good" (Psalm 34:8).

But how do you get the "daily food" of God's Word? When we eat breakfast, lunch, and supper, we are meeting our physical needs. When we read the Bible, we are feeding our spiritual needs. Just as you must eat to stay healthy, so you must read and "digest" God's Word regularly so that you can be spiritually "healthy."

Maybe making the Bible that much a part of your regular spiritual "diet" just sounds like way too much work for you. Think about how important your spiritual health is, even compared to your physical health! For example, would you ever treat your daily mealtimes with as little concern as you do your quiet time with God? Would you ever say, "Hmm. Tomorrow is going to be a hectic day for me. Maybe I should just skip breakfast, lunch, and supper! Sure! After all, it will save time, and I will definitely remember to eat the day after that!"

No way. That does not sound like such a good idea after all. Your day would not be better because you skipped meals! Your day would be worse! You would be very tired and hungry, and your body would be even weaker and less ready to do what you needed to get done! What a mistake!

But that is what many Christians do in the spiritual sense. They think, "I can wait on this," or "I can skip today, no problem - I'll just start reading and praying again tomorrow, or sometime next week when I have more time."

You may not always feel like it, but you do need spiritual food every single day. If you do not get the strength you need from God's Word and from spending time with Him every single day, then you will be spiritually weak and flabby. On the other hand, the more we "eat" (or, take in) the Word, the stronger we will be against the devil's temptations to sin.

We cannot survive spiritually without God's Word.

Equipu Online Library

The nourishing food

The Sacred Scripture and the Sacraments

The Pope uses the scene of the Risen Lord appearing to the disciples at Emmaus to demonstrate what he calls "the unbreakable bond between Sacred Scripture and the Eucharist". Since the Scriptures everywhere speak of Christ, he writes, "they enable us to believe that His death and resurrection are not a myth but history, and are central to the faith of His disciples".

When the sacraments are introduced and illumined by God's Word, explains the Pope, "they become ever more clearly the goal of a process whereby Christ opens our minds and hearts to acknowledge His saving work".

Practising mercy

The Pope points to "the great challenge before us in life: to listen to Sacred Scripture and then to practice mercy". God's Word, writes Pope Francis, "has the power to open our eyes and to enable us to renounce a stifling and barren individualism and instead to embark on a new path of sharing and solidarity".

Our Lady

Finally, the Pope points to Our Lady as accompanying us "on the journey of welcoming the Word of God", teaching us the joy of those who listen to that Word - and keep it.

Pope Francis

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◾《和 平》之 聲     嘉理陵神父

願我們與耶穌基督的個人關係能從天主聖言和祈禱生活中獲得滋養。


二月份及我們在這個月隆重慶祝的耶穌聖誕,提醒我們天主子耶穌降生成人,要做「厄瑪奴耳」──天主與我們同在──這稱謂本身所說明的就是關係。

主教學校的宗教科,或由堂區舉辦預備人接受洗禮的慕道班所集中講授的都是教理,這個做法可以理解。「教理」固然非常重要,但本月的祈禱意向,鼓勵我們聚焦到也許是一個更重要的方面:信仰培育。因為一般來說,「教理」本身不會產生它給人所講授的耶穌跟聽者與耶穌之間的深厚個人關係。信仰培育超越教理的客觀真理,培養人際間的相認互識。這認識就是愛,即是我深入認清自己,如同我全被認清一樣(參格前13:12),因為我開始更圓滿地切身體驗到耶穌對門徒所說的話的真正意義:「我不再稱你們為僕人,我稱你們為朋友」(若15:15)。

宗的意向提出兩個培育信仰的要素,而我只談及「天主聖言」。我的意思不是指要把一些「金句」背得滾瓜爛熟,而是用聖經去作培育──正如聖依納爵教導的:在熟悉天主這個基礎上祈禱,從而得力去行一切事工。


二零二零年 十二月《和平》

聖母無玷始胎

有時我們會問:「既然聖經似乎沒有記載聖母無玷始胎,為甚麼我們還要作這樣的宣稱呢?」答覆這樣的一條問題,可以有幾種處理方法。首先是長久以來所取用的基本方法:將聖經和傳統結合,去處理有關信仰和啟示的問題。將聖經和傳統,這兩種不同形態的真理結合,非常富啟發性和培育性,也是最重要的。梵蒂岡第二屆大公會議的《天主的啟示》教義憲章,尤其第二章,特別強調了這個重要性。雖然不是所有自稱基督徒的,都認識到傳統的價值和有效性,但他們都接受並非直接來自聖經,而是由傳統而來的倡議。正如我們所知道的有關聖保祿的大部分資料,都是來自聖經,可是,聖經沒有稱他為「聖」。但既然全部這些資料都指向同一的結論,也就沒有人質疑他不是「聖」保祿了。由此引申另一個處理方法,那就是去明白「證明」的本質和意義;去學習分辨清楚何謂「絕對證明/apodictic proof」?何謂「收斂證明/convergent proof」?譬如說:在十進制的數學運算上,2 + 2 = 4 是一種「絕對證明」。「收斂證明」可以是一種由常理推斷出來的證明,譬如說:只要人不出賣自己的國家,就是愛國。儘管某些偏執的政權,要求一種近乎「絕對」的方式,去證明「愛國精神」。也許,除了以身死來保衛自己的國家之外,就再沒有任何人為的「絕對證明」可以證明一個人是「愛國」的了。

也許,雖然聖經沒有完全清晰的「絕對證明」指瑪利亞始胎無玷,但對聖經誠懇而嚴肅的審查,要求我們給這個問題提供「收斂證明」。不管一些基要主義者怎樣宣稱,我們雖然沒有任何「絕對」的聖經證明,也確實掌握到大量的真理。所以,認真討論瑪利亞始胎無玷是否有聖經依據,就一定要有堅實的「收斂證明」。瑪利亞始胎無玷這個慶典的彌撒經文,都是收斂得來的資料。天使加俾額爾向瑪利亞請安時所說的「充滿聖寵者」,明顯是創世紀3:15的平行文;瑪利亞是新厄娃,是這端教義的「收斂證明」。

另一個比較平庸老套的例子:聖經沒有明確地指出耶穌是在十二月二十五日誕生的。儘管學者們在探討聖經可能示意的耶穌的誕生日期,但沒有人會認真爭論不可以在十二月二十五日慶祝耶穌的誕辰。我的意思是,雖然新約聖經沒有言之鑿鑿說瑪利亞始胎無玷,但亦沒有不同意這個傳統說法的記載,反而有足夠的「收斂證明」堅固我們的信念。所以,我們大可以繼續心安神樂,恭敬(非崇拜)耶穌的母親是始胎無玷聖母瑪利亞。

耶穌會士
嘉理陵神父

HOW TO PRAY WITH SHALOM
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