将临故事中的客栈店主

可彬于此文章,分享将临故事中客栈店主的角色,试问我们是否有时也以客栈店主的身份对待圣家三口。

“他们在那里的时候,她分娩的日期满了,便生了她的头胎男儿,用襁褓裹起,放在马槽里,因为在客栈中为他们没有地方。”(路2:6-7)

我常想,当若瑟从客栈店主口中得知那里“没有地方”容纳他与身怀六甲的聘妻时,究竟有何感受?行路数日、历经坎坷的若瑟,必然气愤心烦,无比失望。我猜想,他甚至慌张失措。他有后备计划吗?夫妻俩总不能露宿街头吧?那怀有身孕的玛利亚呢?这样的生理状态下,仍要长途跋涉,肯定使她疲惫不堪,痛苦不已。听到一句“没有地方”,她是否也一时不能自己,无助痛哭?不知若瑟与玛利亚可曾感到消极、绝望?有时想想,也不禁感慨:我们熟悉的将临故事——那充满欢腾、盛满喜乐、灌满消费主义的故事——竟源于一次冷漠的拒绝。回首望之,倘若客栈掌柜知道自己拒绝的是圣家三口,他是否会腾出空间,让耶稣、玛利亚和若瑟三人入住?

诚然,我就是客栈店主,客栈就象征我的心房——一个满是担忧、顾虑,没有为圣家腾出空间的心房。无可否认,我在日常生活中,确实无数次拒绝了圣家。就因交际往来、因个人抱负、因名望声誉、因事业野心,我多少次将心房填得满满的,根本不留丝毫空间让他们住下。不好意思,若瑟。我没有地方容纳你们一家,因为我的心充满了自我、充满了种种自私的意图,种种世俗的欲望。玛利亚,我也得拒绝您,因为我没时间念什么玫瑰经、参与什么九日敬礼。而祢呢,圣母腹中的耶稣,赎世主,我灵魂的拯救者!也请祢让开,到较宽敞的地方生活去吧。如此一来,荣福童贞玛丽亚期待已久的耶稣诞辰,在我心里没有空间实现。

为了迎接圣诞,我思考着客栈店主在将临故事中扮演的角色。以下几个反思点浮现于我的脑海中:在日常生活中,我曾拒绝了哪些人?在工作环境里,或校园内,我又有意或无意地忽视了谁?圣本笃会规第53章写道:“该如接待基督似的接待众来宾,因为他将来要说: ‘我作客,你们收留了我。’” 天主正叫唤我们接纳哪些人?对于这些“作客”之人,我们是否反而选择了回避与拒绝?我是否没有认出爱的面孔,忽略了在生活中创造空间的使命?毕竟,我们需先认出耶稣、玛利亚与若瑟,方能将其迎入我们的生活。

耶稣于玛窦福音25:13提醒我们:“你们该醒悟,因为你们不知道那日子,也不知道那时辰。” 确实,时辰何时到,你我皆不知。耶稣、玛利亚与若瑟何时将敲打我们的心房,你我都不晓得。因此,让我们在享受佳节喜乐的同时,且在欢腾、珍爱与宽恕的当儿,认出并实现圣家三口的邀请,在心中腾出空间来。让我们沉心深省,开始除去一切无谓霸占空间的事物——一切使我们与天主逐渐疏远的担忧与顾虑。让我们也祈求天主赐予我们一份意识能力,得以在生活中认出圣家三口,并接纳他们。这个圣诞期,愿我们增加爱德,成为有地方容纳圣家三口的客栈店主。

耶稣、玛利亚、若瑟,我把我心、我灵、我生命,全献给你们。

耶稣、玛利亚、若瑟,扶助我于临终时。

耶稣、玛利亚、若瑟,赐我能在你们中得平安去世之恩。

立于耶稣、玛利亚及若瑟庇佑之下,并以圣十字为护:因父及子及圣神之名,阿门。

© 2018 Christ Centered Conversations/Gregory Adrian Gunawan

© 2018 Christ Centered Conversations/Clarence Lee

A Christmas Song for Three Guilds: An Analysis (Part 2)

The analysis continues as Garrett moves on to Saint Joseph’s address to the Carpenter’s Guild.

If you’re coming here after reading Part 1, welcome back! If not, do be aware that this is Part 2 of four-part series where I’ll be analysing G.K. Chesterton’s A Christmas Song for Three Guilds. We’re taking it one stanza at a time, and the first part does establish some very important context for us while reading this poem. So I’d highly recommend giving it a read-through to avoid any confusion. Part 2 will still be here when you’re done!

In Part 1, we talked about the birth of Jesus being a challenge to us to lead inspiring Christian lives, no matter where we are in life or what profession we are in. In this next part, we will be examining this through the life of St. Joseph, the foster-father of Jesus, and whom we know of course, Jesus inherited his first profession from. So who better to look to when asking how we can live authentic Christian lives in the secular world? Without further ado, let’s dive into the poem, and let St. Joseph teach us a thing or two about the virtue of Kindness.

Continue reading “A Christmas Song for Three Guilds: An Analysis (Part 2)”

Placing the Inn Keeper in the Advent Narrative

Chris shares a bit more about the inn-keeper in the Advent narrative and wonders whether all of us are sometimes inn-keepers towards the Holy Family as well.

“While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”  – Luke 2:6-7

I often wonder how Joseph must have felt when he received the news that there was “no place” for him and his pregnant wife from the innkeeper. Having travelled so many hours, in probably harsh and treacherous conditions, Joseph must have experienced immense disappointment, frustration and anger. Joseph possibily even panicked. Did he have a backup plan? He and his wife could not possibily stay on the streets right? And how about pregnant Mary? Surely traveling in her physical state must have been awfully tiring and painful. I wonder whether she cried out in helplessness upon hearing that there was “no place” for her and her husband. I wonder whether Joseph and Mary felt hopelessness and despair. Is it not interesting, then, to briefly ponder about how the Advent story – the often overly-cherry, merry-making and consumerist-laden narrative – began as a tale of rejection? On hindsight, would the innkeeper have created space and made room for Jesus, Mary and Joseph, should he have realised that he was actually rejecting the Holy Family?

Continue reading “Placing the Inn Keeper in the Advent Narrative”