Monthly Archives: June 2011

Temptations

Two days ago I came across the following article:
http://www.loyolapress.com/overcoming-temptations-of-daily-life.htm

It spoke to my heart. I was especially struck by the first point.

Withholding Your Best Self.
At Mass we begin by asking forgiveness for what we have done and what we have failed to do. Often what we have failed to do presents the more significant moral lapse. Have I withheld my encouragement or my attention? Do I withhold forgiveness or kindness? Stop to think of ways you withhold your gifts while with your family, at work, or in the community, and then bring the gift of your best self to the world.

Recently, I always think that my shortcoming is more in what I “failed to do” than in what I have done. It seems like I am being bounded by an invisible barrier, that I cannot freely offer the help, the encouragement, the love that I know I should offer.

I ask myself: what are you holding onto? What stops you from being generous?

Is being generous a sign of being “won over”? Is being loving “not cool”?

The Bible tells us very clearly that it doesn’t matter what other gifts we have. If we fail to love, we are pretty much “useless”.

Lord, teach me to love.

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How to evangelize?

I attended a talk by Deacon Wu tonight. What attracted me to go was the topic: 如何進入他人心去播希望的種子? I am glad that I went. Throughout the entire talk, I kept feeling very challenged, to be more colloquial, my heart felt very 撽. But as he said, it’s actually a good thing to find out in what areas we need “tutorials”.

Basically, the key to evangelize is to walk with the person during his/her difficult time. He has covered many points, I will try to recall as much as possible here:

  • Learning with bonding: If the person doesn’t find you to be someone who is worthy to listen to, whatever you say will not mean anything to him/her. He offered a few examples of how he interacted with students in Macau. When a student was being punished to stand under the sun in the afternoon, he would stand there with him. To evangelize is not “talking about Jesus”, it’s acting the biblical way.
  • Getting closer: Deacon Wu did an experiment. 4 pairs of people were called out. The combinations are: (a) male and female, not related, (b) male and male, not related, (c) female and female, not related, (d) husband and wife. They were told to walk toward the other, whenever it gets too close, one side can back down. Of course, except (d), no other pairs could get very close. This just proves that getting closer doesn’t always work. If we get closer without getting that person’s trust, he/she is just going to retreat.
  • Do not judge: When we pass judgement or condemn a person, we shut off the channel to communicate. He/she would not listen to us ever again. Jesus did not condemn the woman who committed adultery, He asked her to go home and not to sin again.
  • Start where the person is: When Jesus spoke to the rich young man, He mentioned a few of the commandments: honour your father and mother, do not commit adultery, do not steal etc. Deacon Wu explained that’s because Jesus knew the young man could not handle the first commandment. It would be better to start with something the person can handle first, in order to keep the conversation going.
  • Jesus preached at the synagogue at age 12. Deacon Wu said that if He kept preaching and not obey His parents, He would be doing His own will, not God’s will. (This is something I never realized…) We have to follow God’s will, not our will.
  • 天人合一: God created us because He loves us. Even when we screw up, God still wants to be with us. When we fail to “黐住” Him, He sent us His son to “黐住” us. God loves us so much that even when Adam and Eve had to leave the Garden of Eden, God made them clothes to protect them. (Genesis 3:21 – 上主天主為亞當和他的妻子做了件皮衣,給他們穿上 – this is a detail that I never paid attention)
  • Head function vs. heart function: Deacon Wu said that to believe is a head function, but to have a sense of hope maybe a heart function?
Gospels
  • Matthew: The gospel starts with the pedigree chart of Jesus. At the end of Chapter 1, it talks about Jesus being named Emannuel – “God with us”. At the end of the gospel (Chapter 28), Jesus said to the apostles: “看!我同你們天天在一起,直到今世的終結。”
  • Luke: The gospel starts with Zachariah not being able to speak (thus rendering his priest’s blessing invalid). At the end of the gospel (Chapter 24), Jesus blessed the apostles and disciples before ascended into heaven.
  • (forgot about Mark)

避靜

這是我首個單獨一人真真正正的避靜。原來是很美好的體驗。記得好幾年前曾經有朋友告訴我有另一地點可供單獨避靜,當時覺得沒有這樣的需要,也害怕會否「真的太靜」。經過今次之後,我希望每年至少作一次這樣的避靜。

Manresa這地點真的很不錯,雖然在我逗留期間曾有中學生和長者團體活動,但他們大多數在另一座建築物活動,加上戶外有十分充足的地方,完全不愁沒有地方真正的獨處。

早陣子,大概一個多月前,我愈來愈感到我對人和事物的看法令我感到生活十分沉重。我意識到主宰我人生觀的operating system自十一、二年前(即當我最初重拾信仰時),並沒有怎麼upgrade過。當我要應付的愈來愈多,我知道我的OS是時候需要upgrade,否則我只會覺得更吃力。

因此,除了希望在避靜中能思考一些決定,我也期望天主能更新我的眼光,讓我面對生活不同的挑戰時,可以輕鬆一點,而非只懂苦笑。

我得到的一些啟示

  1. 第一天,當我在labyrinth中行走,有一個想法在我腦中浮現。一直以來,我都很專注的走我面前看到的一條路,我從沒多加思索,因為我所見的只得這麼一條路。但那天我覺得也許可以走的路其實有很多,只是我一直把自己局限在一條出路。我要容許天主把其他出路啟示給我。
  1. 作為一個ISFJ,我差不多每一刻都在觀察,即使我不刻意留心,所有我接觸的人和事物,都被默默記錄下來。之後每一次再跟這些人或事接觸,我便不斷被這些已存下的數據影響。因此我知我是全世界最記仇的人。但我意識到若某些人在我心已留下負面的數據,我並不應該用這些「證據」去說服自己:這人真的很壞。每一次的接觸都應該是全新的。我沒有必要製造更多的偏見。

    關於偏見,也跟食物有些關係⋯⋯

    我在避靜中每天都可獨自有私家用膳的dining room,他們特別為所有參加private retreat的人預留這dining room,免得被其他人打擾。Dining room中放滿古典音樂CD,我吃每一餐都放些古典音樂,感覺真高尚。:P晚飯時候,廚房已下班,他們把晚餐放在dining room的冰箱中,讓我自己用微波爐加熱來吃。第一晚,打開冰箱看到的是⋯⋯羊扒!我心中大驚,拿出那碟扒出來,扒連著“一條大骨”,不是羊扒是什麼?!我跟自己說,就算是羊扒也要吃。加熱過後,用刀一切,肉是白色的,原來是豬扒!我心中是多麼的驚喜,心中大說:Thanks be to God! :P之後一晚,天主覺得我真的應該要改一改揀飲擇食的習慣,於是我的晚餐是一塊雞柳加半碟青豆。青豆向來是我的大敵,吃揚州炒飯我也要把青豆挑出來,但我決定無論如何我也應該試一試,就吃一些吧。吃著吃著,印象中的怪味並不怎麼突出,我把全部青豆都吃完了。把這些寫下來是要勉勵我自己,壞的印象不需要一直記著,就讓自己跌眼鏡吧。

  1. 由於Manresa是耶穌會的地方,所以每房間桌上都擺放著有關Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius的書籍和小冊子,加上我已經讀了那本有關Discernment的Weeds Among the Wheat,在這次避靜中,我被Ignatian Spirituality圍繞著,也開始明白及嚮往他們的精神。Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius在中文被稱為「聖依納爵神操」,我個人認為這樣的翻譯有點不幸。(「神操」聽來跟「晨操」一樣,而「晨操」為我來說只跟賽馬有關。)我聽過這個名詞很多次,我一直的印象就是:大概只是一些既定的禱文。原來這是完全錯誤,以下網頁是一個很好的簡介:http://www.amdgchinese.org/big5/sections.php?cat_id=2&s_id=6&ss_id=15

    我最欣賞St. Ignatius的是他是一個積極行動的人,他主張(應說是天主啟示給他)的祈禱或分辨天主旨意方式,是非常實際和貼近生活的。他把天主所教他的記錄下來,成為Spiritual Exercises,那時他並不熟悉神學,因此為普通人而言,這一套反而更平易更人。

  1. 我在書店買了幾本書,其中一本是每天用來做省察的(回來至今沒有怎麼做過:P),當中做一點說得很中:“Prayer for Finding God in All Things: The Daily Examen of St. Ignatius of Loyola”, under “Circumstances”

    When things are going poorly, two approaches present themselves. One is to build up expectations, legitimate in our minds, of ourselves and of others. When things follow our plan, conflict ensues and we appeal to anger, self-righteousness or matters or principle. We blame others and ask why they do not behave differently.

    The other approach is to do whatever possible to change the situation, but to avoid dwelling on expectations. We watch and wait for the events to unfold in God’s creative time. When we notice something that needs our response or intervention, we should plan and act accordingly. The events are there for us to shape, events that will need our energy. During difficult times, we need to pray for and practice common sense, balance, and joy.

    第一點說得尤其對的是”build up expectations, legitimate in our minds”,很多時不快樂的因由是,在我的思想中,我的期望是合理的(因為有過往的“證據”支持)。當事情真的轉壞,我心中的魔鬼大概在慶祝吧,因為我又一次猜對了。

    我想在這次避靜後,我有一個領悟,原來我很多的無奈,可以改變成不是無奈。只要我放棄被動,為自己負責,很多事是可以有更多發展的空間。過去很多時我看來是很為人負責,我很想滿足其他人,因為我討厭不和,但其實心中很多時壓抑了很多不滿。

    我需要做的是抓緊每一個應該說話和行動的契機。而這一點,只可以靠多些祈禱,求聖神啟示才可配合天主的計畫。

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