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圣召是建立在信德基础上的希望之标记

发表时间:13-02-26 来自:(小则 译) 作者:教宗本笃十六世  点击次数:3719

——教宗本笃十六世为2013年世界圣召祈祷日撰写的文告

 

(译者按:2013421日为第50届世界为圣召祈祷日,今年恰逢信德年,教宗勉励修道人在体验个人与耶稣基督相遇的经验中,加深自己的圣召,并陪伴、指导青年作出特殊圣召的选择。教宗也号召青年人积极回应基督的召叫,愿把自己的一生以特殊的圣召生活出来。以下是文告全文,转译自梵蒂冈网站英文版。)

 

亲爱的弟兄姐妹们,

2013421,复活期第四主日,我们将举行第50届世界为圣召祈祷日,我愿借此机会邀请各位反省这一主题:“圣召是建立在信德基础上的希望之标记”,很高兴,该事件恰逢发生在为纪念梵蒂冈第二届大公会议召开50周年而钦定的“信德年”内。在梵二会议期间,天主之仆教宗保禄六世设定了这一天(复活节第四主日)为世界向天主圣父的祈祷日,恳求祂继续为祂的教会派遣工人(参阅玛938)。正如当时教宗所陈述的那样:“有足够数量的司铎这一问题,直接影响到全体信徒:不仅是因为基督徒社团的宗教未来依赖于圣召,而且也因为该问题明确而不可避免地标示出各堂区和教区团体的信德与爱德的活力,也证实了基督徒家庭的道德健全性。无论在什么地方能找到大量的司铎和度献身生活者的圣召,那么,该地的人们一定以慷慨之情活出了福音”(教宗保禄六世, 1964年4月11电台文告)。

这几十年以来,世界各地各种各样的基督徒团体每年都在复活期第四主日共聚一堂,在祈祷中团结一致,恳求天主赐予圣召这一恩宠,并一再提出迫切需要对天主的召叫给予回应,要求全体作反省。的确,这一年一度的重要事件已养育了一种有力的承诺,把司铎和度献身生活者圣召的重要性始终放在灵修、祈祷和对信徒的牧职工作的中心位置上。

希望就是对某样东西的未来怀有积极的期待,而与此同时,它也必须维持当下的存在状况——该状况往往以不满和失败为其标记。我们的希望建立在什么基础上呢?观看旧约所记载的以色列人的历史,我们看到有一个要素不断浮现出来——尤其在如“出埃及”那样特别困难的时期浮现出来,这要素尤其能在先知们的作品中找到,即人们记得天主对犹太人的先祖们所作的承诺:这记忆邀请我们效仿亚巴郎的典范态度,正如圣保禄宗徒提醒我们的那样,“他(亚巴郎)在绝望时,仍然希望,仍然相信自己将成为‘许多民族之父’,一如预许予他的那样,‘你的子孙也将这样多’”(罗418)。因此,在整个救恩史中所浮现出的一个令人安慰并启迪人的真理就是:天主忠于自己所订的盟约;从洪水泛滥时期(参阅创821-22)一直到出离埃及、走在旷野的旅途中时(参阅申97),无论何时,人们因自己的不忠与罪恶违背了盟约,而天主一再更新之。这同样的忠信导致了天主藉由其圣子的血与人类订立了新而永久的盟约,圣子为了我们的得救,死而复活。

在每一时刻,特别在最困难的时刻,上主的忠信永远是救恩史可靠的驱动力,天主的忠信唤醒了男男女女的心灵,并使他们更坚定地怀抱着有一天会到达那“恩许给他们的福地”的希望。我们发现每个希望的可靠基础就在于:天主永远不会遗弃我们,祂永远忠于自己的誓言。为此,在每一种处境下,不论是顺境或逆境,我们能怀着一个坚定的希望,与圣咏作者一起祈祷说:“只有在天主内,我的灵魂得到安息,我的希望全来自于祂”(参阅咏626)。因此,怀有希望就等同于信赖忠信的天主,祂永远坚守盟约的许诺。这样,信德与望德是紧密相关的。事实上,“希望”是圣经信仰中的一个关键词,乃至于在某些圣经章节中,“信仰”与“希望”两个词仿佛可交替运用。为此,《致希伯来人书》在“所明认的希望”(希1023)和“充满信心”(希1022)之间,给出了一个直接关联。类似地,当《伯多禄前书》规劝基督徒要时刻准备好对他们希望的“道”(logos)——意义与基本原理——给予解释(参阅伯前315)时,“希望”就等同于“信仰”(参阅《在希望中得救》,2)。

亲爱的弟兄姐妹们,我们怀着“明认的希望”所坚持的“天主的忠信”到底是什么呢?那就是祂的爱!天主圣父通过天主圣神把祂的爱倾注在我们的心灵深处(参阅罗55)。在耶稣基督身上完全彰显出来的天父之爱与我们的存有会晤,并要求每个人对自己所希望的人生作出一个回应;也对他(她)为活出更圆满的生命而准备作出的奉献给予一个回应。有时候,天主的爱所遵循的道路是人所不能想像的,但是祂的爱永远能抵达那些愿意被天主找到的人。因此,通过“我们明认并相信天主爱我们”(若一416)的这一确信,希望得到了滋长。这一渗透于表面之下的深沉而高要求的爱赋予了我们勇气;它在我们人生旅途中,以及在我们的未来,给予我们希望;它使我们信任自己、信任历史,也信任他人。我特别想和青年人说话,现在我再次对你们说:“没有天主的爱,你们的生活将会是怎样的呢?天主从创造天地到世界终穷——那时,祂将完成自己的救恩计划,祂一直关爱着每个男女。在复活的上主内,我们的希望是确实的!”(教宗本笃十六于2011619日对圣马力诺-蒙特费尔特罗教区青年的讲话)

正像耶稣在世生活时所做的一样,今天,复活的耶稣也沿着我们的生命之道走来,祂专注着我们的行动——带着我们所有的愿望与需要。在我们每天的生活环境中,祂继续对我们说话;祂召叫我们与祂一起生活,因为只有祂能满足我们对希望的渴求。现在,祂生活在门徒团体——教会——中,仍在召叫人们跟随祂。这召叫随时都可能来临。同样地,今天耶稣也在继续对我们说:“来,跟随我”(谷1021)。接受祂的邀请就意味着不再挑选我们自己的道路。“跟随祂”就意味着把我们自己的意愿沉浸在耶稣的旨意中,真实地给予祂优先权,在我们生活的每一个领域内——家庭、工作场所、个人的兴趣爱好,及我们自身内——赋予祂首要地位。这就意味着把我们的生命完全交出,亲密无间地与祂生活在一起;通过耶稣基督,在圣神内,进入与天主圣父的共融,并因此而与我们的弟兄姐妹团结一致。与耶稣基督的生命共融,是恩赐给我们的一个特别“安排”,在这共融中,我们能体验到希望,在这共融中,生命将是圆满而自由的。

司铎和度献身生活者的圣召诞生于个人与基督相遇的经验,出自于与祂推心置腹的对话,这样,就能进入到祂的旨意中。因此,信仰经验的成长是必需的,这一经验可理解为与耶稣建立一种深刻的关系;理解为内心专注于祂的声音——我们在内心深处才能聆听到这声音。使我们有能力积极回应天主召叫的这一过程,只有在基督徒团体中才可能发生,在那里,人们能热情地活出信仰;在那里,人们可给予忠于福音的慷慨见证;在那里,存在了一个强有力的传教意识,它可带领人们把自己作为完整的礼物奉献给天主之国;依靠圣事——特别是圣体圣事——以及通过热心的祈祷生活,人们能得到滋养。至于祈祷,“一方面,它必须是完全个人的,是自己内心与天主、生活的天主之间的一次相遇。另一方面,它必须不断地被教会和圣人们的伟大祈祷、礼仪祈祷所引导与光照,在这些祈祷中,上主一再地教导我们如何正确祈祷”(《在希望中得救》,34)。

深刻而恒久的祈祷导致了基督徒团体的信德成长,并不断地更新我们的确信:天主永远不会遗弃祂的子民;祂通过提拔特殊的圣召——司铎和度献身生活者的圣召——来维持他们,这样,他们为世界就成了希望的标记。确实,司铎和修道人蒙召无条件地把自己奉献给天主的子民,为福音和教会行使爱的服务,为坚实的希望服务,这希望只能来自于对天主的完全开放。因此,凭借着他们对信仰的见证和使徒热情,他们能够传递——特别向年轻一代传递——一个强有力的愿望:慷慨而敏捷地回应正在召叫他们更亲近地追随祂的基督。无论何时,耶稣的一个门徒接纳了天主的召叫,愿献身于司铎职或度献身生活,我们就见证了这基督徒团体所结出的最成熟的果子之一,这帮助我们怀着特别的信赖和希望看到教会的未来以及她对福传事业的交托。这一切就需要不断地有新工人来宣讲福音,来举行圣体圣事和修和圣事。因此,让我们有信守承诺的司铎吧,他们懂得怎样作为“旅途中的伴侣”来陪伴青年们,帮助他们行走在那经常是扭曲而艰困的道路上,并帮助他们承认基督是道路、真理、生命(参阅若14:6),告诉他们,怀着福音所赋予的勇气为天主、为基督徒团体、为自己的弟兄姐妹们服务是多么地美好!让我们有在热情奉献上呈现出丰硕果实的司铎吧,他们赋予了自己生命以圆满的意识,因这意识是建立在那先爱我们的那一位身上(参阅若一419)。

同样地,我希望那些表现出有着诸多肤浅而短暂选项的青年们将有能力培养自己的愿望,去追求具有真正价值、崇高目标、根本抉择的东西,去仿效耶稣基督为他人服务。亲爱的年轻人,不要害怕跟随祂,不要害怕行走在高要求和需胆量的爱德道路上,不要害怕慷慨地付出!这样,你将快乐地服务;你将成为一个喜乐的见证者,这喜乐是世界所不能给你的;你将成为无穷永恒爱情的活火焰;你将学会“对你心中所怀有的希望给出一个解释”(参阅伯前315)!

 

教宗本笃十六

2012106于梵蒂冈

 

(小则恭译自梵蒂冈网站英文版)

 

 

 

 

MESSAGE OF THE HOLY FATHER
FOR THE 50th WORLD DAY
OF PRAYER FOR VOCATIONS

21 APRIL 2013 - FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

 

Theme: Vocations as a sign of hope founded in faith

 

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

On the occasion of the 50th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, to be held on 21 April 2013, the Fourth Sunday of Easter, I want to invite you to reflect on the theme: “Vocations as a sign of hope founded in faith”, which happily occurs during the Year of Faith, the year marking the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. While the Council was in session, the Servant of God, Paul VI, instituted this day of worldwide prayer to God the Father, asking him to continue to send workers for his Church (cf. Mt 9:38). “The problem of having a sufficient number of priests”, as the Pope stated at the time, “has an immediate impact on all of the faithful: not simply because they depend on it for the religious future of Christian society, but also because this problem is the precise and inescapable indicator of the vitality of faith and love of individual parish and diocesan communities, and the evidence of the moral health of Christian families. Wherever numerous vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life are to be found, that is where people are living the Gospel with generosity” (Paul VI, Radio Message, 11 April 1964).

During the intervening decades, the various Christian communities all over the world have gathered each year on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, united in prayer, to ask from God the gift of holy vocations and to propose once again, for the reflection of all, the urgent need to respond to the divine call. Indeed, this significant annual event has fostered a strong commitment to placing the importance of vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life ever more at the centre of the spirituality, prayer and pastoral action of the faithful.

Hope is the expectation of something positive in the future, yet at the same time it must sustain our present existence, which is often marked by dissatisfaction and failures. On what is our hope founded? Looking at the history of the people of Israel, recounted in the Old Testament, we see one element that constantly emerges, especially in times of particular difficulty like the time of the Exile, an element found especially in the writings of the prophets, namely remembrance of God’s promises to the Patriarchs: a remembrance that invites us to imitate the exemplary attitude of Abraham, who, as Saint Paul reminds us, “believed, hoping against hope, that he would become ‘the father of many nations,’ according to what was said, ‘Thus shall your descendants be’" (Rom 4:18). One consoling and enlightening truth which emerges from the whole of salvation history, then, is God’s faithfulness to the covenant that he entered into, renewing it whenever man infringed it through infidelity and sin, from the time of the flood (cf. Gen 8:21-22) to that of the Exodus and the journey through the desert (cf. Dt 9:7). That same faithfulness led him to seal the new and eternal covenant with man, through the blood of his Son, who died and rose again for our salvation.

At every moment, especially the most difficult ones, the Lord’s faithfulness is always the authentic driving force of salvation history, which arouses the hearts of men and women and confirms them in the hope of one day reaching the “promised land”. This is where we find the sure foundation of every hope: God never abandons us and he remains true to his word. For that reason, in every situation, whether positive or negative, we can nourish a firm hope and pray with the psalmist: “Only in God can my soul find rest; my hope comes from him” (Ps 62:6). To have hope, therefore, is the equivalent of trusting in God who is faithful, who keeps the promises of the covenant. Faith and hope, then, are closely related. “Hope” in fact is a key word in biblical faith, to the extent that in certain passages the words “faith” and “hope” seem to be interchangeable. In this way, the Letter to the Hebrews makes a direct connection between the “unwavering profession of hope” (10:23) and the “fullness of faith” (10:22). Similarly, when the First Letter of Saint Peter exhorts the Christians to be always ready to give an account of the “logos” – the meaning and rationale – of their hope (cf. 3:15), “hope” is the equivalent of “faith” (Spe Salvi, 2).

Dear Brothers and Sisters, what exactly is God’s faithfulness, to which we adhere with unwavering hope? It is his love! He, the Father, pours his love into our innermost self through the Holy Spirit (cf. Rom 5:5). And this love, fully manifested in Jesus Christ, engages with our existence and demands a response in terms of what each individual wants to do with his or her life, and what he or she is prepared to offer in order to live it to the full. The love of God sometimes follows paths one could never have imagined, but it always reaches those who are willing to be found. Hope is nourished, then, by this certainty: “We ourselves have known and believed in the love that God has for us” (1 Jn 4:16). This deep, demanding love, which penetrates well below the surface, gives us courage; it gives us hope in our life’s journey and in our future; it makes us trust in ourselves, in history and in other people. I want to speak particularly to the young and I say to you once again: “What would your life be without this love? God takes care of men and women from creation to the end of time, when he will bring his plan of salvation to completion. In the Risen Lord we have the certainty of our hope!” (Address to Young People of the Diocese of San Marino-Montefeltro, 19 June 2011).

Just as he did during his earthly existence, so today the risen Jesus walks along the streets of our life and sees us immersed in our activities, with all our desires and our needs. In the midst of our everyday circumstances he continues to speak to us; he calls us to live our life with him, for only he is capable of satisfying our thirst for hope. He lives now among the community of disciples that is the Church, and still today calls people to follow him. The call can come at any moment. Today too, Jesus continues to say, “Come, follow me” (Mk 10:21). Accepting his invitation means no longer choosing our own path. Following him means immersing our own will in the will of Jesus, truly giving him priority, giving him pride of place in every area of our lives: in the family, at work, in our personal interests, in ourselves. It means handing over our very lives to Him, living in profound intimacy with Him, entering through Him into communion with the Father in the Holy Spirit, and consequently with our brothers and sisters. This communion of life with Jesus is the privileged “setting” in which we can experience hope and in which life will be full and free.

Vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life are born out of the experience of a personal encounter with Christ, out of sincere and confident dialogue with him, so as to enter into his will. It is necessary, therefore, to grow in the experience of faith, understood as a profound relationship with Jesus, as inner attentiveness to his voice which is heard deep within us. This process, which enables us to respond positively to God’s call, is possible in Christian communities where the faith is lived intensely, where generous witness is given of adherence to the Gospel, where there is a strong sense of mission which leads people to make the total gift of self for the Kingdom of God, nourished by recourse to the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, and by a fervent life of prayer. This latter “must on the one hand be something very personal, an encounter between my intimate self and God, the living God. On the other hand it must be constantly guided and enlightened by the great prayers of the Church and of the saints, by liturgical prayer, in which the Lord teaches us again and again how to pray properly.” (Spe Salvi, 34).

Deep and constant prayer brings about growth in the faith of the Christian community, in the unceasingly renewed certainty that God never abandons his people and that he sustains them by raising up particular vocations – to the priesthood and the consecrated life – so that they can be signs of hope for the world. Indeed, priests and religious are called to give themselves unconditionally to the People of God, in a service of love for the Gospel and the Church, serving that firm hope which can only come from an openness to the divine. By means of the witness of their faith and apostolic zeal, therefore, they can transmit, especially to the younger generations, a strong desire to respond generously and promptly to Christ who calls them to follow him more closely. Whenever a disciple of Jesus accepts the divine call to dedicate himself to the priestly ministry or to the consecrated life, we witness one of the most mature fruits of the Christian community, which helps us to look with particular trust and hope to the future of the Church and to her commitment to evangelization. This constantly requires new workers to preach the Gospel, to celebrate the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. So let there be committed priests, who know how to accompany young people as “companions on the journey”, helping them, on life’s often tortuous and difficult path, to recognize Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life (cf. Jn 14:6), telling them, with Gospel courage, how beautiful it is to serve God, the Christian community, one’s brothers and sisters. Let there be priests who manifest the fruitfulness of an enthusiastic commitment, which gives a sense of completeness to their lives, because it is founded on faith in him who loved us first (cf. 1 Jn 4:19).

Equally, I hope that young people, who are presented with so many superficial and ephemeral options, will be able to cultivate a desire for what is truly worthy, for lofty objectives, radical choices, service to others in imitation of Jesus. Dear young people, do not be afraid to follow him and to walk the demanding and courageous paths of charity and generous commitment! In that way you will be happy to serve, you will be witnesses of a joy that the world cannot give, you will be living flames of an infinite and eternal love, you will learn to “give an account of the hope that is within you” (1 Pt 3:15)!

 

From the Vatican, 6 October 2012

BENEDICTUS PP. XVI

 

 

 

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