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死亡終將讓愛停止,這是人性最大悲劇;

惟有與基督合一,我才能永遠愛你。

 

trinity 3 (亮)

 

今天的經文,是耶穌被逮捕之前的祈禱,被稱為「大司祭的祈禱」。耶穌向天父說:「認識你─獨一的真神,並且認識你所差來的耶穌基督,這就是永生。」(約翰福音17:3)。永生並不是腦中的知識(intellectual knowledge),也不是靠研讀就能得知。關於永生的知識,指的是相遇(meeting),是關係,是非常深刻的關係。

 

永生的知識,如同耶穌告訴我們的,是聖三一的奧秘,是「合而為一」(To Be One)。耶穌說:「正如你父在我裡面,我在你裡面…使他們合而為一,像我們合而為一」。(約翰福音17:21~22)。這就是全部的福音,這就是基督信仰最獨特之處,基督信仰實際上並非宗教,而是「合而為一」。我的屬靈父親St. Porphyrios臨終時,將他自己的靈魂交付神的時候,最後一口氣的遺言,就是「合而為一」。

 

所有的人類都為了合一而奮鬥掙扎,但單靠我們自己,我們失敗了,這就是人類的悲劇。我們起初的存在,就是因為我們的父母,試圖在愛中合而為一,因為這合一,我們每個人來到這世上。當我們的生命成長,我們感受到我們的出生,是來自於分離;因為我們原本活在母親的子宮中,但是當我們出生時,我們與母親的身體分離了。我們開始了解世界,是因為我們開始創造和外界的關係,和某個人的關係,而第一個人就是父親。我開始了解我是誰,因為我脫離了母親的身體,看見了我的父親。

 

當我們在世上,一個人的時候,我們有不好的感受。在伊甸園中,神說:「那人獨居不好」(創世記2:18),神又如何創造我們呢?這是無法言喻的合一,在新約聖經七十士譯本中,寫到:「神就照著自己的形像造人,乃是照著他的形像造男造女。」(創世記1:27)。神並不是創造分離的個體,而是在神的奧秘中,創造了「一個身體」(one flesh),如同亞當看見與他分開的夏娃時,他卻說:「這是我骨中的骨,肉中的肉」(創世記2:23)。但是這樣的愛和合一,最後卻成為人性的悲劇,因為死亡,終將讓愛停止。

 

雖然在死亡中,也存在著另一種合一,因為我的身體將會分解,將會與塵土、空氣和萬物再次合一。但畢竟這是在死亡中的合一,不是在生命中的合一。詩意的是,是什麼讓我手中的書墜落地面?是物理的重力嗎?不,是因為這本書想要墜落,因為它想要與地面合一。又是什麼讓雨水降臨大地?因為雨水想與大地結合,因為雨水想要嫁給大地,萬物也因此滋生。古希臘悲劇中,看出了人性的悲劇:美麗的企圖,試著結合,最終卻只能在死亡中合一。

 

但有一種合一,不是死的合一,而是生的合一,那就是聖三一的合一。當耶穌說:「如同你父在我裡面,我在你裡面」,祂是在說「同質」(homoousion),聖父將自己的本質(essence),給了聖子。當耶穌說:「使他們合而為一,像我們合而為一」,耶穌是在為你,為我,為每個人祈求。在大司祭的祈禱中,耶穌首先為使徒祈求,之後再為那些因著使徒而相信祂的人祈求。我們應當歡喜,我們十分幸運,因為耶穌正在呼召我們回應祂。

 

這也是為何耶穌來到世上,為了使四散而碎裂的受造萬物,歸向祂,在祂裡面合而為一。祂到世上來並非只是為了寬恕罪過,寬恕對祂來說是很容易的。

 

我們如何合一?我們如何與耶穌基督合一?我們如何成為「一」?因為我們與基督人性的本質結合,透過洗禮,透過教會聖事,尤其是透過領受基督的聖體聖血。這就是教會重要的教義:基督「兩性一位的結合」(hypostatic union)。基督並不是分裂的兩個本性,而是神性和人性,在一個位格中(Person)永遠地結合,如同第四次大公會議所言,在基督的位格中,兩種本性:「不相混亂,不相交換,不能分開,不能離散」(WITHOUT CONFUSION, WITHOUT CHANGE, WITHOUT DIVISION, WITHOUT SEPARATION) (UNITED but NOT MIXED, DISTINCT but NOT SEPARATE)。

 

耶穌基督是神,因為祂只有一個位格。祂創世之前就存在,祂也是神的兒子,就是在十架上受苦的那一位。當我成為基督的身體,我真實地參與在祂裡面。當我參與在祂裡面,我擁有的結合,就如同聖三的三個位格同一本性,我們許多人(許多位格),也就在耶穌基督的人性中合而為一。因為基督是「兩性一位的結合」(hypostatic union),我們才能真正地參與在神之中。當我們真正地參與了基督的身體,我們也成為彼此的肢體。我們無法只成為基督的肢體,卻不與其他弟兄姊妹互為肢體。

 

在大司祭的祈禱中,雖然表面上看來沒有提及聖靈,但事實上是有的。因為我們如何成就這一切的合一呢?透過聖靈的恩典,就在此處,就在聖禮儀中,不可見地存在於教會中。這就是為何我們舉行聖禮儀。我們來自各地,為了合而為一,使我們全都成為基督的身體。聖禮儀中,司祭的雙手是可見的,但真正獻上祭品的,卻是不可見的真正大司祭-耶穌基督的雙手。在聖禮儀中,我們獻上的餅酒,代表萬物,使宇宙萬物也合而為一。我們也獻上心中掛念的亡者親友,如同你們所見的,聖體盤上其中一群麵餅屑,是對亡者親友的紀念,司祭在預備聖禮儀時親口紀念他們每個人的名字。在聖禮儀中,我們將這群麵餅屑倒入盛著耶穌聖體聖血的聖杯中,使他們也與基督合一。與基督合而為一,超越了人類的生命,也超越了死亡。與基督的合一是永恆的,在教會中沒有死亡。

 

你可能會問:「但聖禮儀會結束啊,我們會各自回家啊,然後呢?」我們會在我們每個人的心中,延續教會的聖禮儀。因為透過堅振聖事,我們每個人都是司祭。信徒在教會中,不是來看表演,而是透過你們的共同祈禱,神父的祈求才能完成。St. Maximos the Confessor曾說,教堂中的祭壇,是與每個人都有的內在祭壇連結著,那祭壇就是我們的心。

 

我們透過心禱:「主耶穌,憐憫我」,不斷延續著「道」(Logos)的聖禮儀。因為心禱,就是讓聖子,道,成為我們靈魂真正的呼吸。因為真正的生命,不只是心臟的跳動,或是肺部的呼吸;如果我與神合一,如果我與眾人合一,我的心就真正地呼吸著神的道(Word of God):「主耶穌,憐憫我」(Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me)。

 

當我在希臘阿陀斯聖山時,曾有人問我的屬靈父親St. Porphyrios,當我們想為其他人祈禱時,可不可以說:「主耶穌,憐憫某某人(名字)」,而不要說:「主耶穌,憐憫我」呢?St. Porphyrios說:「當你說憐憫『我』,這個『我』,就是所有人,就是每個人,這就是合而為一,就是在耶穌基督之中的合一」。東正教會中,所有的祈禱,都是朝向合一,尤其是心禱,是真正合一的方式。透過神的恩典,整個宇宙都在我們的心中。我們必須實踐並明白,這就是東正教會的獨特之處,沒有其他方式可以比擬。其他的冥想,有時反而使人走向隔絕於社會的孤獨。

 

教會奮力保護這樣的合一,這也就是我們今日紀念第一次大公會議教父的原因。「homoousion」,合而為一,聖父聖子聖靈,共有同一本質。當時的異端亞流派(Arianism),認為聖子和聖父並不同等(not equal),這種說法破壞了聖三一的合一,因為如果聖三一不同等,如果聖三一不是如同耶穌所說的「你在我裡面,我在你裡面」,神要如何合一呢?

 

關於合一的教義,在另一次大公會議也被提出,是關於基督「兩性一位的結合」(hypostatic union),例如:我們如何與神合一呢?是真的合一還是假的合一?答案是真的合一。我們必須明白,當教會譴責異端時,並非在譴責這些人本身,而是譴責他們的態度和教導,因為他們的教導,破壞了聖三一的合一,也破壞了神與人的合一。如同今天經文中提及的:「我知道,我去之後必有兇暴的豺狼進入你們中間,不愛惜羊群。就是你們中間,也必有人起來說悖謬的話,要引誘門徒跟從他們。」(使徒行傳20:29~30),指的是當時懷有國族主義的猶太信徒,他們傳講關於割禮和律法的錯誤教導。

 

這種情況,不只存在於千年前保羅所處的時代,也不只發生在第四次大公會議,即使今日,我們也親眼看見豺狼分裂教會。他們今日也同樣讀著使徒保羅的書信,擘餅卻如同玩弄著基督的聖體聖血。他們也曾經在我們教會領受聖體血,才剛領受完,腹中還盛裝著耶穌的聖體血,就偷偷摸摸地到移到外面的餐廳,在黑暗中,策畫分裂教會的計謀。耶穌曾經說:「除了那滅亡之子,沒有一個滅亡的」(約翰福音17:12),我們親眼見到了現代的猶大。但他們所做的,無法真正割裂教會的合一。

 

他們的負面例子,會幫助我們更加謹慎、更加專注於合而為一,更加堅持於實踐心禱,更有智慧,彼此相愛。最重要最核心的是,參與聖禮儀、慶祝聖禮儀,因為聖禮儀就是我們擁有的一切,不論是在此生,或是來世。今天,請終日在心中默想耶穌-大司祭的祈禱:「合而為一」,試著在花朵中,在水流中,在弟兄姊妹中,在掛念的已故親友中,在萬物中看見這樣的合一。也請試著努力,因為合而為一,首先我們需要敞開自己,讓他人進入我們的生命中,而不是將一切佔為己有。願聖三保守我們眾人。

 

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2014.06.01第一大公會議教父紀念主日

使徒行傳20:16~18, 28~36

約翰福音17:1~13

 

李亮神父講道影片:

http://youtu.be/aZ3BVkfUt2Y

 

影片「三分鐘,學心禱」:

http://youtu.be/ER5LbIne6bQ

 

東正教會簡介:

http://theological.asia/taiwan-orthodox/

 

Photo:Andrey Rublev

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Trinity_Icon

 

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2014.06.01   “May All Be One”   Sunday of the Fathers of the First Council

http://bambuser.com/v/4669478

http://www.justin.tv/dao_love/b/534246493

John 17:1-13   At that time, Jesus lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work which you gave me to do; and now, Father, you glorify me in your own presence with the glory which I had with you before the world was made.     I have manifested your name to the men whom you gave me out of the world; yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you; for I have given them the words which you gave me, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you did send me. I am praying for them; I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are mine; all mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me; I have guarded them, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.”

Acts of the Apostles 20:16-18, 28-36  IN THOSE DAYS, Paul had decided to sail past Ephesos, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hastening to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost. And from Miletos he sent to Ephesos and called to him the elders of the church. And when they came to him, he said to them: “Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities, and to those who were with me. In all things I have shown you that by so toiling one must help the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” And when he had spoken thus, he knelt down and prayed with them all.

 

I will say something about today’s Gospel, which is the most beautiful of all the Gospels because it is from the last prayer, the Prayer of the High Priest of Jesus Christ, which He said before they arrested Him. He says to the Father, “Now that this is the eternal life, to know You, the Father, and the one whom He sent, Jesus Christ.”      Actually, this knowledge that is eternal life is not an intellectual type of knowledge. It is not to study and to study and then to say what is eternal life. This knowledge is a meeting; it is a relationship, a very, very deep relationship. What is this knowledge? It is as Jesus says to us of the mystery of the Trinity, “to be one.” He says, “Father, as you are in me, I am in You, and I want all those to be also as we are one.”

Actually this is all the Gospel wants to tell us. This is the unique characteristic of Christianity, which is not exactly a religion, but something very unique: to be one. “In ousian,” the Greek for, “To be one,” were the last words of my spiritual father, St. Porphyrios. When he was dying, he gave his soul to God, saying “To be one.”

Actually, to be one is the struggle of all human beings. It is a struggle in which we, by ourselves, cannot succeed. This is the drama of human beings. Just from the very beginning of our existence, it is because of an attempt, because our father and our mother tried to become one in love. And because they tried to become one, the product of that love is me and you. And when we come into our life, we feel that we come from a separation because we come out of our mother’s womb into the light as a separation. We start to understand the world because to create a relationship with another person. I start to understand because I see the father and I am cut from the mother. Not only this, but we go to the light and we don’t feel good to be one person only.

In Paradise, God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” And how did he create us? It was as an unspeakable unity. If you see the words of the Bible, the Greek text of the Septuagint, which the New Testament uses, God said, “Let us make the human being, Adam, man and woman.” And so He did not create two separate people, but it is the mystery of God that he created one flesh, because Adam said, “This is flesh of my flesh,” when he saw the woman who had been separated from him.

And finally all this love, all this unity, goes away. It is the tragedy of humanity when it is stopped in the end, by death. But even by death there is a unity because my body will be dissolved and it will be united with the dust and the air and with everything, and then again there will be a unity. It will be a unity in death, not a unity in life.

And we can also see very practically that it is not something that works like physics, but if I say that I throw this so it can drop down, [lifting a book in the air] I could say that this is working so as to be one with the floor. It is like the way water works that comes down as rain to be united with the earth so that new things can come up. So this is the drama of human beings: it is a unity in the end. IN the ancient Greek tragedies, you can see this, and this is the great drama, to see this beautiful attempt to be a unity in death.

But there is a real unity, which is the unity in the Holy Trinity. This is a unity of life. When Jesus Christ says, “Father, you in me and I in You.” He is speaking about the homoousein, because it is the essence of the Father that the Father gives to Him. And He says, “As we are one, I want them” – and He speaks for us. Because in this prayer, He speaks first about His disciples; but later He says, “Not only about them, but about those who will believe in me.” So this prayer Is for you, is for me. We are very happy, are very lucky that Jesus is calling us to answer Him. And this is why Jesus came – for those who are scattered and broken pieces in the Creation, to bring to him in a unity.

It is not just to give a legalistic forgiveness – that would be so easy. This is how we are united, united in Jesus Christ, how we become one, because we are united with his human nature. This is through the baptism and the other sacraments of the Church, especially the Holy Communion.

And it is because of the other very important doctrine of the Church: the hypostatic union. So Jesus is not separated, but it is the divine nature of the Son of God and human nature that are united forever: not separated, but distinguished not mixed, as the Fourth Ecumenical Council says. And Jesus Christ is God because He has only one ‘person’; he was pre-existing, so it’s the same person, the Son of God, who suffered on the Cross. So when I am a member of the Body of Jesus Christ, I participate in Him really. And when I participate in him really, then I have this unity, like the Holy Trinity – three persons with one essence, just so we – many persons – participate in the one human essence of Jesus Christ. And because of the hypostatic union, we participate in the unity of God.

But we must remember, that when we participate in the Body of Jesus Christ we are members of one another, also. I cannot be a member of Jesus Christ and not be a member of my brother. And the Holy Spirit is not mentioned in the last prayer, but it is there because how could I do all these things? It is because of the grace of the Holy Spirit, which is here, which is doing the Liturgy, which is invisibly in the Church. This is why we do the Liturgy. We come from different places to be in one, so as to make the body of Jesus Christ visible by my unworthy hands and really by the hands of the real priest, who is Jesus Christ.

And also we bring here to be one the gifts. And we bring here our dead people because we commemorate them and you can see that I put these small pieces of bread for their names inside the holy chalice. So this union this unity with Jesus Christ, to be one, is beyond all human life or death, and this is forever since there is no death in the Church.

You may say, “So what? The Liturgy will be over and we will leave here. Then what?” We will continue the Liturgy since we have the Liturgy in our hearts. Because each one of you because of the chrismation also has priesthood. Because you know, you are not here as if to watch a movie or a play, but in the way that you finish my prayers. St Maximus the Confessor says about the altar, that there is an altar [putting his hand on the altar at the front of the church] but this is connected with the altar that everyone has in his heart. And we continue the liturgy of the Logos by the Prayer of the Heart. Because the Prayer of the Heart is asking the Logos, the Son of God to be our own real breathing. It is not only just to breathe as a human being, or for my heart to beat, which is a biological thing, but if I am united with God and I am united with you, then my heart is breathing the word of God: “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.”

Somebody may say, as I said to St. Porphyrios on Mt. Athos when I asked my father if I should ask to have mercy on myself or ask for mercy on the others, on John and Johanna and the others? He told me, “You don’t understand. When we say wo [me], it means everybody.” It is to be one. And it is this union in Jesus Christ, this unity in Jesus Christ.

So, especially the Prayer of the Heart (of course, every prayer, but especially the Prayer of the Heart) in the Orthodox Church is the way of the real unity to be one in ousian the universe is in our heart by the grace of God. So we must practice and understand this thing, which is what the Orthodox Church uniquely and nobody else has, this understanding, because the ways have a unity or a meditation that is just meditation that sometimes leads to antisocial loneliness. This loneliness, this disunity to be one, the Church has tried to protect us from. And this is what we celebrate today. The homoousian – to be one – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to have one essence. Because there were the heretics like Arius, who said it is not like this, that the Son is not equal with the Father, which is breaking the unity.

So you understand now that the dogmas of the Church are not just for the theologians. Somebody could say, “Why should I care what Arius or all the others say?” But you understand that if the Father and the Son are not equal, and it is not “Me in You and You in Me,” as Jesus Christ said, then there is no unity. This struggle for unity was also in the other ecumenical councils. For example, there is the question of whether the hypostatic union, the question of whether we can be united with God, is real or not real? Of course it is real. But as I say, the Church sometimes very strictly condemns people – not to condemn them as people, but to condemn their heretical attitudes and heretical teachings because this destroys the unity with God and the unity with others.

And this is why in the epistle for today Apostle Paul says, “After me there will come fearsome, terrible wolves – very angry wolves – to split the brothers and to put other teachings there, the synallilistic [mutual support between a religion and the government] teachings of the Jews, to keep the Law and have circumcision and so on. And don’t think that this just happened when Apostle Paul was writing, or in the Fourth Ecumenical Council. Even today we see the wolves, and they destroyed and split this church. There is a wolf who will read this Gospel today and play with the body of Jesus Christ as they break bread. And before, when they used to come here, after the liturgy, with their stomachs full of Jesus Christ, they went secretly to restaurants to plot to destroy the Church, in the darkness to split the Church. Jesus says in the last prayer, that he did not lose anybody except for Judas; and now we have the modern Judah also, but this cannot break the real unity of the Church.

But this can also make us be careful and to insist on being one and to insist on practicing the Prayer of the Heart, and to be wise and to be in the love of one another. And most of all, in the middle, to come and do the Eucharist and to participate in the Eucharist and celebrate the Eucharist, which is everything that we have in this life and in the next life.

Please keep this prayer of Jesus Christ in your minds all today, in ousian, and try to see this unity everywhere: in the flowers, in the waters, in your brothers and sisters, with our dead people. Just meditate on this today. And try a little bit, because to be one means to open my self-ishness, not just to say to be one. [You should not say,]“Bring the food here. I’ll eat it all by myself.” But try to open a little bit our self-ishness to be one with the other. Because the other comes inside me, so I open myself. So, to be one, please, today.

May the Holy Trinity protect all of us.

(Recorder:Timothy Baker)

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