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20130128 Mendicant Orders Founded 創立「行乞修會」

The thirteenth century was a great century for the Church. Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) and his successors in the thirteenth century saw the papacy as the guardian of Christendom.

Innocent III

King Philip II of France divorced his wife, Queen Ingeborg, and attempted to marry another. Innocent III put the whole kingdom of France under interdict (denial of liturgy, the sacraments, and even Christian burial) until Philip returned to his lawful wife.

King John of England tried to control the election of the Archbishop of Canterbury and refused to accept the pope’s choice of Stephen Langdon. Innocent III excommunicated John and England was placed under interdict. The pope deposed John and offered his kingdom to France. John submitted and made England as a vassal of Innocent III.

In 1215, Innocent called the Fourth Council of Lateran. The council ruled that all Christians who had reached the age of reason must go to confession and receive Holy Communion at Easter time. The word “Transubstantiation” was used to describe the changing of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ at the Consecration.

Order of Friars Minor

St. Francis of Assisi was born in 1182. At the age of twenty-two, while praying at St. Damian’s church, Francis heard a voice saying, “Francis, go and rebuild My House”. He started to repair neglected churches.
Francis lived as a hermit. Later a merchant and a canon of the cathedral joined him, and thus began the Franciscan order. They lived by manual labor and by begging alms. They called themselves “Friars Minor” or little brothers.

Francis was ordained a deacon so that he could preach the Gospel, but out of awe for the Holy Eucharist, he did not receive priestly order.

Francis travelled to Rome to get the approval of Innocent III for his Rule. There was difficulty, for his group bore some resemblance to some heretical groups. But Innocent had a dream that Francis carried on his shoulders the great Basilica of St. John Lateran. Innocent III, therefore, approved the work of Francis.
On September, 1224 Francis received the stigmata. Francis had a great love for nature, and his enthusiasm for praising God through creation is expressed in the Canticle of Brother Sun.

Francis died in 1226 and was canonized two years later.

A faithful disciple of St. Francis was St. Clare. At the age of eighteen, she escaped by night and consecrated herself to God in the presence of St. Francis and his companions. She was soon joined by her younger sister, Agnes. Eventually her own mother and other noble ladies also put themselves under her rule. The Poor Clare nuns observed perpetual abstinence, constant silence, and perfect poverty. St. Clare died in 1253.

St. Anthony of Padua (+1231) became a Franciscan in 1220. He spent his last ten years preaching in Italy and France. He was a wonderful preacher with the gift of miracles.

Preaching Friars

The Dominicans or “The Order of Preachers” was founded by St. Dominic (+1221). In 1205, Innocent III sent him to help convert the Albigenses in southern France.
Dominic saw that those already in mission were not effective, because their life-style was too rich and soft. Dominic devoted himself to popular preaching and lived an austere life.
A few zealous priests joined Dominic, and they formed a community. The new order was approved by Pope Honorius in 1216.

Prayer, study, and preaching were the important tasks of the mendicant orders. St. Bonaventure (a Franciscan) and St. Thomas Aquinas (a Dominican) were both doctors of the Church and died in 1274. They lived in an atmosphere of prayer and study, and fostered higher studies for the friars.

“Constant fidelity in small things is great and heroic virtue” (St. Bonaventure)


聖教會在十三世紀,教宗英諾桑三世(1198-1216)及其繼任人,都能成為基督宗教的守護者。

英諾桑三世

法國皇帝菲利伯二世休棄皇后英格葆,被教宗英諾桑三世下令全法國,禁止舉行任何宗教禮儀,直至法皇恢復皇后的身份。

英國皇帝若望要控制坎特伯利大主教的挑選,拒絕教宗委任斯德望.蘭杜當此重任,教宗英諾桑三世把他開除教籍,並下令禁止英國舉行任何宗教禮儀。英皇最終屈服,把英國臣服於教宗麾下。

公元1215年,教宗英諾桑三世召開第四屆拉特朗大公會議,議決所有已開明悟的教友,在復活節要妥辦告解和善領聖體;以「實體變換」來形容餅和酒被祝聖為聖體聖血,亦於此時通用。

小兄弟會

聖方濟生於公元1182年,二十二歲在聖達彌盎堂祈禱時,聽到聲音說:「方濟各,去,重建我的居所。」於是,方濟著手修葺所有殘破的聖堂。

有一位商人和主教座堂議員加入方濟的隱士生活,這就是後來方濟會的雛形,他們勞動及以募捐維生,清貧渡日,自稱「小兄弟」。

聖方濟接受執事聖職,使他可以宣講福音;但由於敬畏聖體,謙遜之心令他認為自己不堪當領受鐸品聖職。

聖方濟專程到達羅馬,請求教宗英諾桑三世批准方濟會的成立。由於當時方濟會內的嚴竣克己,被外界質疑似是異端組織,因此,聖方濟此舉成功渺茫。誰知教宗夢得方濟肩負聖若望拉特朗大殿,所以特意批准方濟會的成立。

公元1224年九月,方濟領受了耶穌五傷。聖人喜愛大自然,常藉大自然讚美天主,此情在他的「朝陽頌讚」的讚美詩中,表露無遺。

聖方濟於公元1226年逝世,兩年後被教廷宣聖。

聖女嘉蘭是聖方濟忠實的追隨者。年僅十八,乘夜離家出走,在聖方濟及其同伴見證下,委身事主。不久,她的妹妹依搦斯加入,甚至她母親和一些貴族婦女爭相追隨,組織成為嘉蘭女隱修會,她們長期齋戒靜修,嚴守神貧。聖嘉蘭死於1253年。

聖安多尼在1220年成為方濟會會士;在他生命最後十年,在意大利和法國宣講真理。他是一位極受歡迎的講道者,並具有顯奇蹟的特恩。

宣道會士

聖道明成立道明會。公元1205年,教宗英諾桑三世派遣聖道明到法國南部,規勸二元論異端皈化。聖人抵達當地,發覺是時的宣道者生活富足,態度偏軟,遂以身作則,一邊悉力講道,一邊渡簡樸的生活。果然,一些熱心神父仿效,與聖道明一起;最後在公元1216年,教宗何諾三世批准道明會的成立。
祈禱、進修和講道,是當時「行乞修會」會士主要生活模式。方濟會的聖文德和道明會的聖多瑪斯,同是被尊為教會的聖師,他們都在1274年逝世。生前,兩人均熱切祈禱及努力進修,更推展會士們接受較高的教育水平。

「能在小事上忠信的,已經是出眾的德行。(聖文德)」