20year

Our community has more than twenty years of history in Dallas. What began as five or six families coming together to study the Bible and pray together, quickly became a community that regularly gathered at nearby churches for Masses and meetings. As the numbers grew, they requested that the Diocese of Dallas help establish a permanent Chinese Catholic community in 1990. In 1992, we put our money together and purchased a small office building in Richardson, Texas. By the end of 1993, we had renovated it to become our sanctuary and activity hall. With the guidance of priests seconded from Taiwan and the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, our small community grew stronger in numbers and in faith.

The Short Biography of Bishop Kevin J. Farrell


From Texas Catholic


BISHOP Kevin Joseph Farrell was appointed seventh bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas on March 6, 2007 by Pope Benedict XVI.

He succeeds Bishop Charles V. Grahmann, who retired after serving the diocese since July 15, 1990.

Bishop Farrell was installed as Dallas’s new bishop in colorful ceremonies and Mass at the Cathedral shine of the Virgin of Guadalupe in downtown Dallas on May 1, 2007, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker.

Bishop Farrell was born in Dublin, Ireland on September 2, 1947. One of four boys, he graduated from the Irish Christian Brothers High School in Drimnagh, Dublin. He entered the novitiate of the Legionnaires of Christ in 1966 and received an M.A. in Philosophy and an S.T.L. in Theology after studies in Rome.

After being ordained to the priesthood in Rome on December 24, 1978, then-Father Farrell was assigned to be the chaplain for the University of Monterrey in Mexico. While there, he conducted seminars in bioethics and social ethics.

Bishop Farrell first visited the United States in 1967. Later in the early eighties he went to the Arch-diocese of Washington, D.C. to help fill the need for Spanish-speaking priests. He decided to leave his religious order and seeking incarnation as a diocesan priest in the archdiocese.

His first assignment was associate pastor at St. Peter, Olney in 1984. He also served at St. Bartholomew in Bethesda and St. Thomas the Apostle in Washington, D.C.

In 1985, he was chosen by Cardinal James A. Hickey to be the director of the Spanish Catholic Center, an agency of the Archdiocese of Washington that primarily serves the Hispanic community and new immigrants through legal assistance, education, employment assistance and health care.

In 1987, Bishop Farrell also became assistant executed director of Catholic Charities and then was name interim director in 1988.

From 1989 to March 2001, he served as Secretary of finance for the Archdiocese of Washington. He was named a Prelate of Honor, with the title of Monsignor, in 1995 by Pope John Paul II.

From October 2000 to March 2002, he was pastor of Annun-ciation parish in Northwest Washington, D.C. Since March 2001, he has served as vicar general and moderator of the curia for the Archdiocese of Washington. He was ordained an auxiliary bishop in Washington, D.C. on February 11, 2002.

Bishop Farrell serves on the board of directors of CLINIC (Catholic Legal Immigration Network) and is a member of several committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, including Consecrated Life, Migration and Hispanic Affairs.

Bishop Farrell is fluent in Italian and Spanish. His brother Brian Farrell, a member of the Legionaries of Christ, is also a bishop and serves as secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

功成身退的僕人


周道

美國德州達拉斯有一群華人自己建了一座教堂,名稱叫做天主教達拉斯耶穌聖心堂,原先英文叫做 Mission of the Sacred Heart of Jesus,當初是葛蘭姆主教 (Bishop Charles Grahmann) 批准的名字。 從英文名字上一看就知道這是一個小型的傳教團體 (Mission),還稱不上是一座正式的堂口(Parish)。一個當初以留學美國的華人為主的信仰小團體,經過二十多年一步一腳印的成長,終於成為全美國唯二的華人天主教堂 (另一個是德州休士頓的美華天主堂), 究其原因,不是因為教友人數多,也不是因為他們學問比較高,知識比較廣,更不可能是他們財力雄厚,借貸容易。比起東西兩岸,大小城鎮,華人數目,教友數目,再怎麼比,怎麼看,這個團體絕對從後面數起比較快,那麼究竟為什麼達拉斯可以有一座完全屬於華人的教堂呢?追根究底,是因為這裏有過一位本身就是德裔第三代移民的葛蘭姆主教。他非常尊重各個族裔的傳統文化,更願意各族裔保持自己的文化特色。所以達拉斯有華裔,越裔,韓裔,非裔,黎巴嫩裔和印度裔等教堂的成立。因為自己曾經參與教會的義工服務,因著職務,有機會接送主教並且跟主教請益。記得有一次葛蘭姆主教曾經私底下跟我說,從小,他們家裏都是講德語,可是因為本地長大的孩子都是以英語為主,很自然的他對講德語就產生了一種先天上的抗拒心理,長大以後,祗要講起德語,總是結結巴巴,但他卻不以為意。等進了修院之後,有一年暑假他和同學到歐洲旅行,回到自己老家拜訪,那時候,他突然意識到他想要暢快的跟自己老家的親友交談,於是他當下就決心仔細的聆聽,並且暗暗的練習,沒想到兩個禮拜以後回到美國,他的父親對他德語進步的速度驚訝得不得了。從那個時候開始,他在德語的練習上就不再抗拒,並且造就了他日後說得一口標準德國話的能力。主教講西班牙話也是一流的,原因是德州與墨西哥毗鄰,主教座堂在達拉斯市中心,平常日子墨西哥教友眾多,我曾聽過他以西語講道,流利得沒得話說,葛蘭姆主教又是普世博愛會的成員,一位十分支持「合一運動」的主教,對於基督友教的對談交流,甚至回教兄弟的互訪請益,更是不遺餘力。個人有幸參加過瑪利亞之城活動 (Mariapolis) ─普世博愛會的年度避靜,深深體會主教的謙遜和他平易近人的風範。因為主教的開放與支持,耶穌聖心堂十多年前就有了專屬自己的堂口。兩年前搬進了新家,佔地更為寬敞,也吸引了更多附近的居民。今年五月一日葛蘭姆主教正式榮休,在他退休之前,因著本堂彭保祿神父的努力,他核准了我們教堂成為一個正式的族裔堂口 (NationalParish),並將我們改名為 The Sacred Heart of Jesus Chinese Parish Plano。這是主教臨行前特意送給我們一件足以增加我們未來發展潛力的大禮物。

主教從1990 年調任達拉斯,一共擔任達拉斯主教十六年,說實的,在這十六年當中,他的牧靈生涯,並不好過,尤其是十年前法院判賠一億一千九百萬的民事訴訟,把他整得幾乎喪命。然而他在痛心疾首的打擊下,痛定思痛,帶領著整個教區從祈禱與補贖中重新再出發。今年在他退休之際,教區的報紙曾經發表一篇訪問他的專文,主教對所問問題的回答真的令人沉思不巳,從他的回答當中真可以讓我們感受到他內心深處的熱火與真誠是多麼的令人感動。專文中的問題是這樣的:「如果你在過去的十六年當中,能夠改變什麼,那麼它將是什麼?為什麼?」主教說:「首先,在我上任之初,我對這教區的眾人和在這裏的生活形態不太了解,這個教區貧富的差矩相當的大,所以要是我能夠強制性的去改變什麼的話,我要改變的是那些人心。我要他們把他們多餘的去和那些不足的人分享,我也願意對強權與控制發出挑戰,我要邀請眾人合成一個肢體並且彼此服務,尤其是服務那些貧窮的人,需要的人。我在任的後期,愈來愈清楚這種需要。坦白說這樣子的意識,讓我更覺憂傷。富貴與貧窮之間,擁有與缺乏之間,它們的鴻溝分隔得有多開?要是我能強制性的去執行“改變什麼”的話,我是願意挑戰那些人改變他們的心。」

主教不但有一個悲天憫人的胸懷,他更有一顆謙遜的心。記得2002 年將臨期避靜,我大膽的邀請主教來主持及帶領我們,並且邀請普世博愛會的成員幫忙帶領青少年及兒童的避靜,那年我們在達拉斯教區的避靜中心(Formation Center)過夜,主教不因為我們團體小,人數少而拒絕,相反的他還欣然接受,並且堅持自己開車來回,不用花我們的時間精力去接送。不僅如此,那次避靜,他的開場白是這麼說的:「我來到你們中間,先要向你們道歉,因為我不會說你們的語言,這是我的不足,希望你們能夠包涵。」他說英文,也會刻意的放慢速度,好確定我們懂得他所說的是什麼?他對當時參與避靜者的講道,尤其是鼓勵我們「活在當下並且第一個去愛,不祗去愛你喜歡的人,更去愛那些找你麻煩,對不起你的人」的道理,現在回想起來,都仍然覺得言猶在耳,不敢或忘。

去年四月的一個星期天,葛蘭姆主教要來我們堂口主持堅振彌撒。那時候我一大清早就出門去接主教,到了主教宿舍,他早巳穿戴整齊在那兒等我了。接到了他,我們再驅車往教堂出發。我們一邊開車,一邊有說有笑的閒話家常,很快的就到了教堂,那天有十一位青少年及成人領受堅振聖事,這實在是一件令人喜悅的事。領受堅振聖事就是領受聖神,因著所領受的聖神,以衪特別的力量充實我們,使我們責無旁貸的在生活當中,用我們合一的言行,去宣揚和維護我們的信仰,更因著聖神的帶領,使我們在日常生活中成為耶穌基督真實的見証人。堅振聖事給了我們屬神的印記。伯多祿和其他的宗徒們就是因為五旬節領受聖神後,從起初躲躲藏藏怕自己就是下一位被捉拿處死的怯懦者,一變而成為維護聖教會勇敢堅強的奮鬥者。

那一天主教的証道,道理深厚,卻淺顯易懂,他強調我們在這黑暗籠罩,是非不分,價值錯亂的世代中,要我們用言行合一的態度活出來,使自己成為地上的鹽,世上的光。主教在主持完彌撒,吃完中飯,在眾人的揮別中,我開車載他駛向回程的路。一路上主教分享著他與拉辛格樞機交往的事蹟。拉辛格樞機就是現任的教宗本篤十六世。他跟我說,每回見到拉辛格樞機,總有機會跟他一起散步,祈禱,而最後總是以擁抱親頰而不是以親吻權戒的方式來告別。說著說著我們就到了主教府,這回輪到我了,我說:「主教,我也不親你的權戒了,可不可以跟你抱抱,親親你的面頰? 」葛蘭姆主教哈哈大笑起來說:「Sure, Why not?」於是在親切的致意中告別了主教。為我而言,這趟我擁抱了從耶穌以來的宗徒繼承人,擁抱了磐石,擁抱了教會。如今,主教功成身退,隱居幕後,但是我相信他一定會懷念我們,並且會繼續的為我們堂區祈禱,不論我們還有沒有機會再在這個世界碰面,衹要有心,因著天主的恩寵,我相信將來我們一定會在天上見。

上帝給我的禮物


俞雨杞


我曾經是一名演員,專業學過芭蕾、中國舞、民族及古典舞,後又進入音樂學院,曾多次參與過各類型文藝表演,所以對我來說人生就好比一個大舞台,你經常會不由自主的被安排表演任何角色。就這樣年復一年的過去了,日子有時精彩,有時無奈,正所謂計劃沒有變化快,有時雖不能心想事成,但結果卻又往往出乎意料,我想可算是蒼天有眼,總是在暗中相助,讓我感覺到真是山窮水盡疑無路,柳暗花明又一村。因在國內沒有機會正確認識上帝,而誤以為該去拜謝神靈,所以當我脆弱、疲憊和有渴望之時,就會去求籤拜佛、算命占卜。但奇怪的是每次去了也都會顯靈……。以前的我覺得事在人為,凡事要靠自己的努力,命運也是自己安排的。凡事都要自己把握機會、創造機會、及努力尋找機會,方可成功,但卻忽略了天時、人和、地利和成事在天的重要性,就連一世孔明諸葛亮,儘管稱得上神機妙算,卻也還得依靠老天爺(上帝)的恩賜才可成功,正所謂「萬事俱備,只欠東風」!

算起來,到美國也不過一年多光景,在慕道班的學習過程中,隨著心靈不斷的成長,越發感受到了上帝對我的奇妙安排與計劃,於是在今年的4 月7 日我受了洗。領洗前後一直不斷有奇妙的事情發生,這些奇蹟令我異常興奮,使我對主更產生了深深的依賴、敬仰、崇敬和感恩的心情。回想起當年來美國的景象,真覺得是上帝的安排,一切都是冥冥中註定,是主給了安定順利的禮物,讓我真實的感受到了祂給我的愛和看護。雖在慕道班學習與認識主的過程中,我也有過舉棋不定,情感徘徊,不想被束縛的狀況,但通過努力的學習、感受,我逐漸克服了自己的心魔,在慕道班全體成員的諄諄教導與關懷中,正確的認識了上帝,我感謝上帝揀選了我,讓我身邊能有這麼多的教友幫助我,陪伴我成長並指引我,歸順天主,所以教會是我進入天國的階梯。成為天主的子女,真是件萬分幸福的事情,信仰讓我有了現世生活的安全保障,同時也未忽略來世的幸福。我覺得在我的生活中,上帝真是給了我太多的意外驚喜和禮物。隨著自己感受的加深,越發感覺到了自己心靈的飢渴,上帝像是我們孤獨時的慈父,心靈的嘉賓,憂患時的安樂,靈性的光輝,情感的偉大伴侶。凡相信祂的人,祂必看護你,凡真心愛祂的人,祂也必越愛你。凡事要有所求,不是你求不到,而是求的不當;凡事要相信,也必要忍耐,等待就像聖母求耶穌在加納婚宴中把水變酒時,耶穌是有求必應,但也不是即刻,而要等祂認為對的時間才能行奇蹟,所以我們的命運是掌握在上帝手中的,祂會安排時間、機會來配合我們的需求。

我原本和先生住在加州,當時剛來美國,還沒有真正接觸到天主,但我的先生從小就已受洗,基督精神也一直在指引他生活的道路,先生的總公司在德州的Plano,先生原在加州工作了很多年,而在我來美不久,總部就通知先生回德州。我們剛落下腳,先生第一件事就是找教堂,於是在電腦上找到現在的教堂,一、離家較近,二、有中文彌撒。之前,我在加州從不進教堂,因我在國內在朋友的帶領下去過兩次,好奇怪的感覺,每次進去看見十字架就頭暈,像得了重感冒,兩次都是教堂的朋友扶我去樓上躺下休息,彌撒做完,我也好了,所以我再也不敢去教堂。現在想想真是上主揀選了我,祂巧妙的安排了我的婚姻,為了讓我認識祂、歸順祂,讓我的先生竟然很快的學會了中文,巧妙的安排了我的同學和先生的相遇,因為一切事物要在對的時間碰到對的人,才可能有對的結果產生,於是我非常順利的來到了美國。我們住在加州時,周邊沒有華人的天主教堂,於是上帝又安排我們搬家,剛好找到我們教堂是八月底,就聽說慕道班九月開課,好巧合的時間呀,一切都正好,如果是人為安排時間絕不可能這麼恰到好處。所以這是上帝的旨意,祂要把我們安排在這裡,讓我好好的接受愛的教導,直到心甘情願的歸順祂。上帝非常有耐心等你心靈的皈依,同時祂的旨意也是不可違抗的,祂要給你的,你一定會有,通過努力,將會事半功倍;而祂沒有安排給你的,你將徒勞無功。所以沒有上帝,人將一無所有,這種體會是我深有感受的,因為在慕道班學習的過程中,我會受到外界的干擾,及朋友友善的影響,自己的心魔不時在作怪,有時狀態非常好,有時又顧慮重重,心態複雜,總怕遭受更多束縛,所以很想擺脫這些充滿靈性的教導,而尋求個人價值來實現自我,對我來說這段時間是我感受最深又很特別的階段,而這段時間內主不允許我離開祂,所以祂給了我很多困難,好在日後彰顯祂的光榮,我真覺得做任何事都不容易成功,困難重重,心裡也不踏實,但我還是不服從命運的安排,我要積極和命運做鬥爭,既然無事可做,又沒有工作機會,不如利用這段時間去考駕照吧,於是苦練了一番,考前又臨陣磨槍,覺得不快也亮。早晨八點就去排隊了,沒想到八點去依然太晚,我火冒三丈,不想白起了個大早,怎麼也不能浪費這一天,因為要過聖誕節,之後都是休息日,不能錯過這自認為是的機會,趕快催先生查電腦,打電話,找到了另外一個偏遠的考車點,趕去已十一點半,卻因不用排隊而興奮,覺得太順了,但依然有一絲緊張,因為這是新的地點,沒練過不熟悉,但考車時我非常認真仔細,全都順利通過,我認為難的都按要求完成了,自我感覺非常良好,心想這下可以過個快樂的聖誕節了。沒想到考官竟然故意找碴,說我開得太快,我的肺快氣得爆炸了,我在社區內開時速都不到二十,簡直快成了老牛拉破車,這樣也算快嗎?我終於明白了命運和機遇都由上帝一手掌控,不可能勝天。在之後的日子裡,我再也沒碰過車,我不想考了,也不想開了,打算放棄,因為我不上班,駕照對我來說目前也並不重要。我決心調整心態,反省自我,在慕道班我開始認真並用心去感受和聆聽主的聖言與教導,並覺得聖母真是人類歷史最偉大傑出的女性,她能毫不猶豫、忠心不二的全身心投入,讓主在她身上施行奇妙的安排和計劃,一生都無怨無悔,充滿對主的感恩之情,我也必須學習怎樣放下自我,怎樣把自己交托給主,當我全身心努力體會、感受與心甘情願歸順主時,我自覺在我身上有了不同凡響的體會和觸動,奇蹟真的發生了,生活越來越順心,甚至有求必應,我覺得自己離主越來越近了,我總是祈禱,讓祂時刻與我同在,我開始心甘情願甚至迫不及待的等待受洗了,教友都說在受洗前後會有很多奇蹟發生,我想上帝在受洗前給我的最大禮物就是駕照了。說起來真是奇妙,同樣還是去了個大早,但這次卻更加提早四點起床,開始禱告,六點排隊,也在禱告,因為已有幾個月沒有開過車,先生只說試一下,他覺得我根本考不過。到了八點開門,按理我應在最前面,可是卻把我安排在十點鐘,我後面的人反倒在前,我還要再等兩小時,依然生氣,只有回家等了。但我還是祈禱,老公也覺得我忽然變得這麼全心歸順上主了,但我開車的技術確實令他擔憂,他怕我出事,也不希望我能順利通過,覺得順其自然吧,可我就是拚命祈禱,輪到我考試時,我出了很多錯誤,考官上車時沒把車放在停車檔,倒車時不明白考官說什麼,停車時兩次未停進去,進去後還是個歪七扭八,就這樣竟然也過了,當時我興奮的連午飯也不想吃了,不是因為我有駕照,而是覺得上帝真是奇妙,祂給了我意外的禮物,真是我求來的,讓我好激動,接下來的事更奇妙,領洗後我竟然有了工作機會,上帝給我駕照是因為祂覺得我需要,有了工作,以後沒有時間去考試了,所以祂全部都給我安排好了,根本不需要我杞人憂天,與命運抗爭。領洗後我還夢見了耶穌,祂真真切切的出現在我的眼前,祂擁抱我,真讓我有一種久別重逢的喜悅和溫暖……,夢醒後我開始感悟到如果你真心愛主,主也會愛你,如果你承認耶穌是你的主,祂必承認你,你會從中發現一股從未經歷過的喜樂和內在的力量。

聖經有教導:凡相信耶穌的人都要受洗,你若明白,就應毫不猶豫的去實行,因為耶穌受洗完畢,從水裡上來聖靈好像鴿子一樣降在祂身上,受洗後肉眼所不能看見的聖靈也要降臨到你身上,祂的能力要充滿你,你依靠祂,祂便能改變你,使你的膽怯變為勇敢,軟弱化為剛強,與祂在一起,你才能成為見證人,引導別人歸向耶穌,祂是你力量的泉源,因為單憑自己的力量和天生的才能去見證耶穌或幫助別人,往往使人感到乏力,所以要不停禱告,祈求聖靈充滿我們的心,就像我們接受耶穌作我們的救主一樣,你若依靠祂,學習聽祂的聲音,用心去感受去體會,你將會過上奇妙而且果子累累與神同在的生活。凡相信天主的人必成為祂的兒女,當你接受耶穌時,你的靈便會重生,你從前的生命已成為過去,過去的事物不會再影響你、宰割你,真是一種神奇又龐大的力量在支持你,你會覺得自己多了勇氣、真愛、耐心、誠懇……,你有新的感受,並可以過上積極及全新的生活,脫離往昔的軟弱,你會覺得有了安全感,有了保障,因為天主的應許,都與你自己有關,只要你信祂、愛祂、遵守祂的教導,祂必賜福給你!

THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

_Fr. Thomas Au

 

WHAT ARE THE 7 GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT?



With confidence and from memory we say, "knowledge, wisdom, understanding, counsel, piety, fortitude and fear of the Lord." But what are they? "Knowledge helps us to know God," we reply. Wrong. Not that there is something wrong with the statement. It just doesn't say anything about what "knowing" means.

KNOWLEDGE This word, in Hebrew, means more than just reading about something. It means to experience. In Genesis 4:1 we read "Adam knew Eve and she conceived and bore Cain." Confucius said, "It is better to walk ten thousand miles than to read ten thousand books." Knowledge comes from living. Book knowledge is important but not complete. A person cannot read a cook book and calls himself a chef. Coming to know God then is not merely memorizing words from the Bible or a Catechism. It means to personally and intimately experience the justice and mercy of God. How often we admire a person that can cook without a recipe and a pinch is a pinch. It looks so simple. A dab here and a dab there. That is it. But one must cook to be a cook. To become a chef, one must cook often and try different recipes. And the recipes to know God are many. God gives us the Church as the custodian of His recipes: the Bible, the Sacraments, the doctrines, the lives of saints, etc. So, to know God is much more than receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation, but to act on what we have read, learned and even memorized.

WISDOM The ability to apply what we have learned to distinguish what is right or wrong in a concrete situation. This practical judgement is part of the formation of right conscience. We make daily decisions and as Catholics we should always choose to obey and to love God. In the midst of the confusing values in our society, wisdom helps us to see and to act in goodness.

UNDERSTANDING The word itself gives us a clue to its meaning - to stand under. In every given situation, God helps us to look beyond the surface, (to look under the hood of a used car), so that we are not easily swayed by fancy words and advertisement. In our world of 30 second commercials, so much is unsaid.

Yet products are sold by gimmicks or false impressions. We must look beyond what meets the eye and see the truth or falsehood presented.

COUNSEL Here, the gift is more specific. That is, God does not leave us out in the cold. After giving us the gifts of knowledge, wisdom and understanding, when we are still in doubt, He guides us through the muddy waters. The Church, through the preaching, teaching and examples of the Holy Father, the bishops, the faithful priests, the competent theologians, the responsible parents and other spiritually mature members, helps and supports us in making the right decisions. This may be the least used gift for many adult Catholics, trusting in the teaching office of the Church. Too often, the wisdom of the Church is placed merely on an equal footing with that of the other so called “experts,” even in moral issues.

PIETY The Pieta, the sculpture by Michelangelo, may be the best image of piety. The Blessed Mother holding the body of Jesus at the foot of the Cross gives us a sense of sadness caused by sin. True piety is not wimpish. It comes from a profound understanding of sin and its consequences. Therefore, we never attribute anything good merely to ourselves but to God. Piety helps us to have a deep sense of reverence to God who makes all things possible, despite our sinful selves.

FORTITUDE Though we tremble in fear of what we are capable of doing in selfishness and godlessness, we live with confidence in the mercy of God, the power of His Grace to transform and renew the world. Fortitude gives us a sense of security in the face of overwhelming odds. For us, the force of the secular world, the peer pressures, could not deter us from doing what is right.

FEAR OF THE LORD Scripture tells us that fear is the the beginning of wisdom (Ps. 110:10). There are 2 types of fear: filial reverence of a loving Father and servile fear of just punishment. The gift in Confirmation is that of filial reverence, a sense of awe that attracts us to goodness. It enables us to desire what is good so as to please God because of who He is and a realization that what He wants is what we truly need. We acquire a taste for what is holy and true and a distaste for what is profane and evil.

IT IS IN GIVING THAT WE RECEIVE. Each of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is given, as St. Augustine puts it, “in embryo,” in Baptism. In Confirmation, these gifts are unfolded and strengthened so that the one confirmed will now be able to continue the saving mission of Jesus. These gifts are then to be used not so much for ourselves but to be used for others. We are to be holy so that the world could be made holy. Confirmation then, is a Sacrament of service. These gifts are given in anticipation of what we need. We are confirmed and are given the gifts of the Holy Spirit in anticipation of the confusion and the challenges we will face in our becoming and being responsible adults in the Church and the world throughout our lives. We meet great opposition in this task and only with the power of God will we have any chance of success. Yet at the same time, these gifts have effect only if we put them to use.

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Look up these Bible passages:

Is. 11:2-3. Ps. 14, 94, 111.

Books of Proverbs and Wisdom esp. Prov. 1 and Wis 1 & 13.

Mt. 18:18-19; 28:16ff. Jn 14:12-16:16.

Acts 2:14-39; 1Cor. 1:18ff; Eph. 5:15ff.

Ask yourself these questions:

How have I been using these gifts in my life?

Do I see myself as a missionary to make e world holy, in my place of work, in my family and friends?

How do my answers make me feel?

In addition to explaining the gifts, I (Fr. Au) also teach them that the gifts are given in 2 ways: ability and opportunity

Ability: These gifts are given so that we can grow in them. All of us are given abilities. They have to be developed. In math,for example, we began learning the numbers, then addition and subtraction, multiplication and division. Later, we learn fractions and algebra. Some may even go on to Calculus. There is a gradual growing in depth and competence. But if one does not use them, one never excel and go as far as one is capable. What if Tiger Woods never played golf? What if St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas never became Christians? It wouldn't just be a lost to them, but also to the Church and the whole world.

Opportunity: Along with the ability, God gives us the opportunity to develop the abilities. We have so many opportunities, particularly in our age of information. There is so much available at our fingertips, or mouse clicks. There is no reason for us not to be able to find sources of the truth and beauty of God. The greatest sin these days, of the 7 deadly sins, I think, is sloth. Be aware. And in the course of our development, there comes more difficult challenges. Do not be afraid of difficulties. They are gifts to help us to grow no sports team wants to play only easy opponents. The victories will be meaningless. But tough losses are not losses at all. It gives glory to the victor that they have met true opponents. Sometimes, in sports or other arena of competition, we need to revel in the fact that when we lose, we have uplifted our opponents by insisting them to use all they have. So it is in spiritual growth. Challenges of the world make us stronger in faith and edify in the power and glory of God's grace.

從宇宙和地球的歷史來看天主創造天地的奧妙(下)

甘智岡

Adam01

 

大地板塊運動除了分裂大陸之外,另一個顯著的結果就是造山了,山有不同的成因,有的是火山,那是由岩漿噴出造成的山,像夏威夷的山;另外一種是擠壓出的大山。各位知道山也有年齡的嗎?一般說來越年輕的山越高,年紀大的山因為長年受山崩、冰雪風雨的侵蝕,再崇峻的山經過長遠的歲月也會被磨蝕只剩一堆起伏的土丘。大家初來達拉斯時一定都會懷念台灣的山,其實在達城北邊大約四、五十分鐘車程就有一座山,這山的名字叫阿帕坷山,這座山的造山年代大約是五億年前,現在它只剩一堆土丘大概只有海拔幾百公尺高,但是它原來一定也像洛磯山脈一樣的雄偉。比阿帕坷山年輕一點是美國東部的阿帕拉契山,這座山脈北起緬因州南迄喬治州,它有兩億五千萬年的年齡,它有一個迷人的觀光勝地叫Smoky Mountain大家不可不去,阿帕拉契山是北美洲和歐亞大陸在兩億五千萬年前撞擊時造成的。它雖然也很高,可是它全然不像洛磯山,阿爾卑斯山那樣有稜角,長年侵蝕的結果使得阿帕拉契山的每個山頭都是饅頭山!西藏的喜馬拉雅山有六千五百萬年的山齡,比起阿帕拉契山來它是年輕多了,它的珠穆朗瑪峰是世界的最高峰 ─ 八千八百五十公尺高。因為它還年輕,尤其長年在雪線以上,受到冰河的割切,每座山頭都有稜角。最年輕的是台灣的中央山脈和歐洲的阿爾卑斯山了,只有五百萬年的山齡。台灣的玉山雖然只有三千九百多公尺高,可是有些學者認為玉山原來是有一萬公尺高,最後因發生地震和山頂發生重力滑移造成今天的玉山和阿里山。他們的証據是阿里山的沉積岩要比玉山的沉積岩更年輕,所以阿里山理應在玉山的頂上;同時有一條斷層座落在玉山和阿里山之間;証明地層的確被震過。每一個循環,新的高山造成,新的海洋也造成,高山對大地的影響有多大?高山帶來充沛的雨量,台灣的中央山脈樹齡超過三千年的檜木原始林比比皆是,被侵蝕的沙土藉河流帶到下游,沉積在沖積平原。長江、黃河都源於青海西藏高原,孕育了中華民族的文化,沉積的沙土,堆積起最肥美的中原華北平原和江漢平原長江三角洲。這些都是天主的大能在做工。而這樣的工是循環不已,綿綿不斷,是其他星球所無,唯地球所獨有的。

按照熱力學第二定律:「能力逸散或退化律」,能從高衰減到低;從有序到無序。如果山只造一次的話,像達拉斯北邊的阿帕坷山一樣,早已成一土堆。可是如果沒有天主的神奇的安排,新的高山不斷的出現,那裡會有喜馬拉雅山、阿爾卑斯山和台灣的中央山脈這樣年輕的山脈出現呢?這是一種能力克服熱力學的第二定律的奇蹟。另外如植物生長,不是將空氣、陽光(能量)、水結合成植物嗎?生物的進化,不也是反熱力學的第二定律嗎?熱力學的第二定律中這種能力逸散造成熵增加,就如一壺開水放久了就會涼掉,涼後水壺中的熵值增加了。如有反能力逸散的過程我們姑且稱為反熵的過程。美國心理學家史考特派克曾說愛就是反熵的過程,真愛是讓人成長,真愛可以提昇從未開發的心靈到健全的心靈。天主創造適合我們居住的地球,這種反熵的過程不也就是天主展示的大愛嗎?這一種克服熱力學的第二定律的大能只有天主才能有!

十六世紀哥白尼証明地球不是宇宙的中心,地球是環繞太陽運行,而不是日月星辰環繞地球而轉。這個說法震憾當時的人心;但後來的觀測,証實哥白尼的發現--地球不是宇宙的中心;但地球是獨一無二的星球,適合祂所創造的萬物居住。尤其是我們人類,更要感謝天主。我們人類除了要感恩之外,也要運用天主給我們的智慧好好地管理我們的資源:空氣、水、土地和礦產能源,並愛惜我們的環境。有些科學家政客提倡星際旅行,甚至移民到別的星球。認為這是人類自十五世紀發現新大陸以後下一個偉大的探險。可是我們不要忘記,其他星球沒有天主替我們準備的大地板塊運動的機制。我們人類移民去那裡要自己造水,造氧氣,要能源取暖,更不要說三餐飯了。我們不要以為用完了地球上的資源還可以殖民到火星和月球上去,要知道到那時我們才真是一無所有呢!

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