卷一信仰的宣認-因聖神降孕/CONCEIVED BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

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第二節 「因聖神降孕,由童貞瑪利亞誕生」

一、因聖神降孕

484. 天使向瑪利亞報喜,揭開「時期圓滿」(迦 4:4)的序幕,就是恩許的實現和準備工作的完成。瑪利亞奉召去孕育那位「在祂內住有整個圓滿的天主性者」(哥 2:9)。對她的疑問「這事怎能成就?因為我不認識男人」(路 1:34),天主給的回應是藉聖神的能力:「聖神要臨於你」(路 1:35)。

485. 聖神的使命常聯合於聖子的使命,並與之配合,聖神既是「主及賦予生命者」,祂被派遣是為聖化童貞瑪利亞的母胎並使她具有生育天主的能力、懷孕聖父的永生之子,而聖子在她胎中取得人性。

486. 聖父的獨生子,由於在童貞瑪利亞胎中受孕成人,就是「受傅者──基督」,祂在人生的開始,便是「基督」,即在祂人性生命的開端受聖神所傅油,縱使這種身分 是逐步地向牧童、賢士、洗者若翰及門徒們顯示出來。所以耶穌基督的整個生命,都顯示出「天主怎樣以聖神和德能給祂傅了油」(宗 10:38)。

二、由童貞瑪利亞誕生

487.有關瑪利亞的公教信仰,是基於有關基督的公教信仰,但有關瑪利亞的公教教導,卻闡明了有關基督的公教信仰。
瑪利亞的預選

488. 「天主派遣了自己的兒子來」(迦 4:4),但為給祂預備一個身體,祂願意和一個受造物自由合作。因此,天主從永遠就選擇了一位以色列的女兒,一位住在加里肋亞‧納匝肋的猶太少女,成為自 己聖子的母親,「她是一位已與達味家族中一位名叫若瑟的男子訂了婚的童貞女,童貞女的名字叫瑪利亞」(路 1:26-27):

仁慈的天父願意聖子在降生成人之前,先取得那已被預定為母親者的同意。這樣正如過去是一位女人促成了死亡,同樣也是一位女人促成了生命的來臨。

489. 在舊約的歷史中,瑪利亞的使命曾由一些聖善的女人予以準備。起初有厄娃:雖然她背了命,但獲得了恩許,她的一位後裔要戰勝 那惡者,並且要成為眾生之母。由於這個恩許,撒辣雖已年老也懷孕了一個兒子。天主為顯示祂忠於其恩許,相反一切人性的期望,選擇那被視為無能和軟弱的:撒 慕爾的母親亞納、德波辣、盧德、友弟德、艾斯德爾及許多其他婦女。瑪利亞「在那些誠心期望並承受天主救恩的卑微貧苦人中,高居首位……這位傑出的熙雍女 兒,在長期的企盼恩許後,時期終於屆滿,奠立新的救恩秩序」。

始胎無染原罪

490. 為能成為救主之母,瑪利亞「從天主那裡,領有各種相稱於這項崇高職位的恩賜」。加俾額爾天使在給她報告喜訊時,向她請安說:「充滿恩寵者」(路 1:28)。事實上,瑪利亞為能以信德自由地同意給她傳報的召叫,必須得到天主恩寵的完全支持。

491. 在過去的世紀中,教會意識到瑪利亞既充滿了恩寵,在她受孕時就已蒙受了救贖。這就是教宗比約九世於 1854年所宣布的始胎無染原罪的信條:

比約九世,《莫可名言之天主》通諭:榮福童貞瑪利亞,曾因全能天主的聖寵和特恩,看在人類的救主耶穌基督的功績分上,在其受孕之始就被保護,未受原罪的任何污染。

492. 瑪利亞在「受孕之始便賦有的這些獨特的聖德光輝」,完全是來自基督;她是「因自己聖子的功勞,奇妙地獲得了救贖之恩」。聖父「在天上,在基督內,以各種屬 神的福分,祝福了她」(弗 1:3),超越任何受造物。天主「在創世以前」,已在基督內揀選了她,為使她「在天主面前,藉著愛而成為聖潔無瑕的」(弗 1:4)。

493. 東方傳統的教父們,稱天主之母為「全然聖善的」(Panhaghia),尊崇她為「沒有絲毫罪污,好像被聖神塑成的一個全新的受造物」。瑪利亞因天主的恩寵,在她的一生中,從未犯過任何本罪。

「願願祢祢的話成就於我的話成就於我」

494. 瑪利亞接獲天使報訊,她將要藉聖神的德能生下「至高者的兒子」。雖然她不認識男人,但她仍以「信德的服從」(羅 1:5)回應,深信「在天主前沒有不可能的事」:「看!上主的婢女,願照你的話成就於我吧!」(路 1:37-38)。這樣,由於同意了天主的話,「瑪利亞成了耶穌的母親,全心接受了天主救世的旨意,不受任何罪惡的阻礙,並整個獻身於她的聖子和其事業, 與祂一起,在祂權下,藉全能天主的恩寵,為救贖的奧跡服務」

正如聖依勒內所說的:「她因服從而成為自己和全人類得救的原因」。不少古代的教父,也同他一起強調:「厄娃抗命的死結,因瑪利亞的服從而解開;貞女 厄娃因缺乏信心所束縛的,也因貞女瑪利亞的信心而獲得了釋放」。他們把瑪利亞與厄娃比較,稱瑪利亞為「眾生者的母親」,並多次聲稱說:「因厄娃而死亡,因 瑪利亞而獲得生命」。

瑪利亞————天主之母

495. 在福音中瑪利亞被稱為「耶穌的母親」(若 2:1; 19:25),在她的聖子誕生前,在聖神的感動下,她也被稱為「吾主的母親」(路 1:43)。因為,瑪利亞藉聖神的工作所懷孕成人的,並且按肉身而言,真實地成了她兒子的那一位,就是聖父的永生之子、聖三的第二位。教會承認瑪利亞確實 是天主之母 (Theotokos)。

瑪利亞————童貞女

496. 在最初表達信仰的條文中,教會就宣認耶穌是只憑聖神的能力,在童貞瑪利亞的胎中受孕,而且也肯定了這事的具體狀況:耶穌是「非由男人精子,而是藉聖神之 功」所受孕的。在貞女懷孕這件事上,教父們看作是一個標記,認為祂確是天主之子,帶著一個與我們相同的人性來到世上:

聖依納爵‧安提約基 (第二世紀初)說:「關於我們的主,你們堅決相信,祂按肉身而言,確是生於達味的後裔;天主子依照天主的旨意和能力,確實生於一位貞女…… 按其肉身,確實在般雀比拉多執政時,為我們被釘在十字架上……確實受了苦難,也確實復活了」。

497. 福音的敘述認為貞女懷孕是件屬神的工作,超越任何理智和人類的能力,天使對若瑟這樣說:「那在她內受生的,是出於聖神」(瑪 1:20),這是指他的未婚妻瑪利亞。教會在這事上,看到了天主藉先知依撒意亞的口所作的許諾獲得實現:「看,有位貞女要懷孕生子。」瑪利亞————終身 童貞

498. 馬爾谷福音及一些新約書信沒有提及瑪利亞童貞懷孕一事,有時會引起疑惑。有人甚至會問,這是否只是傳說而已,或毫無歷史根據的神學構思。關於這疑問,必須 回答:對耶穌由貞女懷孕的信仰,曾在非信徒、猶太人和外教人那裡,遇到了強烈的反對、嘲笑和誤解;它在其他民族的神話裡找不到動機,也不能符合當時的思 想。這事的意義只有通過信仰才能了解,信仰在那「各奧跡相互的關連」上,即在基督的全部奧跡中,由祂的降生至祂的復活,看到這種意義。聖依納爵‧安提約基 對這種關係作証說:「此世的元首忽視瑪利亞的童貞和生育,正如他忽視主的死亡:三個響亮的奧跡都是在天主的緘默中完成的」。

499. 對貞女生子這分信仰的深化,使教會宣認,即使在生下成為人的天主子後,瑪利亞仍保持著真實和永久的童貞。因為基督的誕生「並未損害她童貞的完整,反而予以聖化」。教會的禮儀慶祝瑪利亞為「終身童貞」(Aeiparthenos)。

500. 這稱號有時引起反駁,乃因聖經曾提及耶穌的兄弟姊妹。教會時常認為這些章節並不指童貞瑪利亞的其他兒子:因為雅各伯和若瑟,「耶穌的兄弟」(瑪 13:55),乃是基督的一個門徒瑪利亞的兒子,她就是被強調地稱為「另一個瑪利亞」的那位(瑪 28:1)。依照舊約並不罕見的表達方式,兄弟是指耶穌的近親。

501. 耶穌是瑪利亞的獨生子。可是瑪利亞的精神母性卻擴展到祂來拯救的所有的人:「她生了一個兒子,天主使『祂在眾多弟兄中作長子』(羅 8:29),他們就是信徒們,瑪利亞以母愛,協助他們誕生和培育的工作」。

在天主計劃中瑪利亞的童貞母性

502. 在整體的啟示的脈絡中,信德的眼光發現天主在其救世計劃中,要祂聖子生於一位貞女的奧秘理由。這些理由既關乎基督本身和救贖的使命,也關乎瑪利亞對這使命的接納,以造福眾人。

503. 瑪利亞的童貞顯示出天主在降生奧跡中的絕對主動性。耶穌只以天主為父。「祂所攝取的人性,從未使祂與聖父分離……按天主性而言,祂是天父的親生子,按人性而言,祂是聖母的親生子,但無論按天主性或人性,祂總是天主子」。

504. 耶穌是因聖神的庇蔭而在童貞瑪利亞的胎中降孕,因為祂是展開新創造的那個新亞當:「第一個人出於地,屬於土,第二個人出於天」(格前 15:47)。基督的人性在祂降孕時,便充滿了聖神,因為天主「把聖神無限量地賞賜了祂」(若 3:34)。從祂──

被救贖人類的元首──的「滿盈」中,「我們都領受了恩寵,而且恩寵上加恩寵」 (若 1:16)。

505. 新亞當、耶穌由童貞女降孕,開始了因信德而在聖神內的嗣子的新生。「這事怎能成就呢?」(路 1:34)。分享天主的生命,「不是由血氣、也不是由肉慾、也不是由男慾,而是由天主」(若 1:13)而來。接受這生命的方式是童貞的,因為這生命完全是由聖神賞賜給人的。人類蒙召與天主締結婚約的意義,在瑪利亞的童貞母性上完全實現了。

506. 瑪利亞是貞女,因她的童貞是信德的標記,表示她「不受任何疑慮動搖」的信德及她完全獻身以順從天主的意願 。因她的信德,她成了救主之母:「瑪利亞接受基督信仰時,比懷孕基督肉身時更為有福」。

507. 瑪利亞既是童貞女又是母親,因她是教會的形象和最完美的實現:「教會……由於忠信接受天主的聖道,也成為母親;教會藉著講道和聖洗把不朽的新生命帶給那由聖神所孕育、天主所產生的子女。教會也是貞女,她完全遵守著對淨配許過的諾言」。

撮要

508. 在厄娃的後裔中,天主簡選了童貞瑪利亞為其聖子的母親。這位「滿被聖寵者」是「救贖的最卓越成果」;在她受孕之始,便已完全免於原罪的玷污,並在她一生中,絕無任何本罪。

509.瑪利亞確實是「天主之母」,因為她是降生成人的永遠天主子的母親,而聖子本身就是天主。
510.瑪利亞「在受孕、懷胎和生育聖子時都保持著童貞,她是童貞母親和永遠的貞女」;她整個的存有是「上主的婢女」(路 1:38)。

511. 童貞瑪利亞「以自由的信德和服從,與天主救人的計劃合作」。她「以整個人類的名義」說了「願你的旨意承行」。因了她的服從,她成了新的厄娃,眾生之母。

Paragraph 2. "CONCEIVED BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND BORN OF THE VIRGIN MARY"

I. CONCEIVED BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. . .

484 The Annunciation to Mary inaugurates "the fullness of time",119 The time of the fulfilment of God's promises and preparations. Mary was invited to conceive him in whom the "whole fullness of deity" would dwell "bodily".120 The divine response to her question, "How can this be, since I know not man?", was given by the power of the Spirit: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you."121

485 The mission of the Holy Spirit is always conjoined and ordered to that of the Son.122 The Holy Spirit, "the Lord, the giver of Life", is sent to sanctify the womb of the Virgin Mary and divinely fecundate it, causing her to conceive the eternal Son of the Father in a humanity drawn from her own.

486 The Father's only Son, conceived as man in the womb of the Virgin Mary, is "Christ", that is to say, anointed by the Holy Spirit, from the beginning of his human existence, though the manifestation of this fact takes place only progressively: to the shepherds, to the magi, to John the Baptist, to the disciples.123 Thus the whole life of Jesus Christ will make manifest "how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power."124

II.... BORN OF THE VIRGIN MARY

487 What the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it believes about Christ, and what it teaches about Mary illumines in turn its faith in Christ.

Mary's predestination

488 "God sent forth his Son", but to prepare a body for him,125 he wanted the free co-operation of a creature. For this, from all eternity God chose for the mother of his Son a daughter of Israel, a young Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee, "a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary":126

The Father of mercies willed that the Incarnation should be preceded by assent on the part of the predestined mother, so that just as a woman had a share in the coming of death, so also should a woman contribute to the coming of life.127

489 Throughout the Old Covenant the mission of many holy women prepared for that of Mary. At the very beginning there was Eve; despite her disobedience, she receives the promise of a posterity that will be victorious over the evil one, as well as the promise that she will be the mother of all the living.128 By virtue of this promise, Sarah conceives a son in spite of her old age.129 Against all human expectation God chooses those who were considered powerless and weak to show forth his faithfulness to his promises: Hannah, the mother of Samuel; Deborah; Ruth; Judith and Esther; and many other women.130 Mary "stands out among the poor and humble of the Lord, who confidently hope for and receive salvation from him. After a long period of waiting the times are fulfilled in her, the exalted Daughter of Sion, and the new plan of salvation is established."131

The Immaculate Conception

490 To become the mother of the Saviour, Mary "was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role."132 The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as "full of grace".133 In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God's grace.

491 Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, "full of grace" through God,134 was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:

The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.135

492 The "splendour of an entirely unique holiness" by which Mary is "enriched from the first instant of her conception" comes wholly from Christ: she is "redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son".136 The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person "in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places" and chose her "in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love".137

493 The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God "the All-Holy" (Panagia), and celebrate her as "free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature".138 By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long.
"Let it be done to me according to your word. . ."

494 At the announcement that she would give birth to "the Son of the Most High" without knowing man, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary responded with the obedience of faith, certain that "with God nothing will be impossible": "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your word."139 Thus, giving her consent to God's word, Mary becomes the mother of Jesus. Espousing the divine will for salvation wholeheartedly, without a single sin to restrain her, she gave herself entirely to the person and to the work of her Son; she did so in order to serve the mystery of redemption with him and dependent on him, by God's grace:140

As St. Irenaeus says, "Being obedient she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race."141 Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert. . .: "The knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith."142 Comparing her with Eve, they call Mary "the Mother of the living" and frequently claim: "Death through Eve, life through Mary."143

Mary's divine motherhood

495 Called in the Gospels "the mother of Jesus", Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as "the mother of my Lord".144 In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father's eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly "Mother of God" (Theotokos).145

Mary's virginity

496 From the first formulations of her faith, the Church has confessed that Jesus was conceived solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, affirming also the corporeal aspect of this event: Jesus was conceived "by the Holy Spirit without human seed".146 The Fathers see in the virginal conception the sign that it truly was the Son of God who came in a humanity like our own. Thus St. Ignatius of Antioch at the beginning of the second century says:
You are firmly convinced about our Lord, who is truly of the race of David according to the flesh, Son of God according to the will and power of God, truly born of a virgin,. . . he was truly nailed to a tree for us in his flesh under Pontius Pilate. . . he truly suffered, as he is also truly risen.147

497 The Gospel accounts understand the virginal conception of Jesus as a divine work that surpasses all human understanding and possibility:148 "That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit", said the angel to Joseph about Mary his fiancee.149 The Church sees here the fulfilment of the divine promise given through the prophet Isaiah: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son."150

498 People are sometimes troubled by the silence of St. Mark's Gospel and the New Testament Epistles about Jesus' virginal conception. Some might wonder if we were merely dealing with legends or theological constructs not claiming to be history. To this we must respond: Faith in the virginal conception of Jesus met with the lively opposition, mockery or incomprehension of non-believers, Jews and pagans alike;151 so it could hardly have been motivated by pagan mythology or by some adaptation to the ideas of the age. the meaning of this event is accessible only to faith, which understands in it the "connection of these mysteries with one another"152 in the totality of Christ's mysteries, from his Incarnation to his Passover. St. Ignatius of Antioch already bears witness to this connection: "Mary's virginity and giving birth, and even the Lord's death escaped the notice of the prince of this world: these three mysteries worthy of proclamation were accomplished in God's silence."153

Mary - "ever-virgin"

499 The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Mary's real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made man.154 In fact, Christ's birth "did not diminish his mother's virginal integrity but sanctified it."155 and so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the "Ever-virgin".156

500 Against this doctrine the objection is sometimes raised that the Bible mentions brothers and sisters of Jesus.157 The Church has always understood these passages as not referring to other children of the Virgin Mary. In fact James and Joseph, "brothers of Jesus", are the sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ, whom St. Matthew significantly calls "the other Mary".158 They are close relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression.159

501 Jesus is Mary's only son, but her spiritual motherhood extends to all men whom indeed he came to save: "The Son whom she brought forth is he whom God placed as the first-born among many brethren, that is, the faithful in whose generation and formation she co-operates with a mother's love."160

Mary's virginal motherhood in God's plan

502 The eyes of faith can discover in the context of the whole of Revelation the mysterious reasons why God in his saving plan wanted his Son to be born of a virgin. These reasons touch both on the person of Christ and his redemptive mission, and on the welcome Mary gave that mission on behalf of all men.

503 Mary's virginity manifests God's absolute initiative in the Incarnation. Jesus has only God as Father. "He was never estranged from the Father because of the human nature which he assumed. . . He is naturally Son of the Father as to his divinity and naturally son of his mother as to his humanity, but properly Son of the Father in both natures."161

504 Jesus is conceived by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary's womb because he is the New Adam, who inaugurates the new creation: "The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven."162 From his conception, Christ's humanity is filled with the Holy Spirit, for God "gives him the Spirit without measure."163 From "his fullness" as the head of redeemed humanity "we have all received, grace upon grace."164

505 By his virginal conception, Jesus, the New Adam, ushers in the new birth of children adopted in the Holy Spirit through faith. "How can this be?"165 Participation in the divine life arises "not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God".166 The acceptance of this life is virginal because it is entirely the Spirit's gift to man. the spousal character of the human vocation in relation to God167 is fulfilled perfectly in Mary's virginal motherhood.

506 Mary is a virgin because her virginity is the sign of her faith "unadulterated by any doubt", and of her undivided gift of herself to God's will.168 It is her faith that enables her to become the mother of the Saviour: "Mary is more blessed because she embraces faith in Christ than because she conceives the flesh of Christ."169

507 At once virgin and mother, Mary is the symbol and the most perfect realization of the Church: "the Church indeed. . . by receiving the word of God in faith becomes herself a mother. By preaching and Baptism she brings forth sons, who are conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of God, to a new and immortal life. She herself is a virgin, who keeps in its entirety and purity the faith she pledged to her spouse."170

IN BRIEF

508 From among the descendants of Eve, God chose the Virgin Mary to be the mother of his Son. "Full of grace", Mary is "the most excellent fruit of redemption" (SC 103): from the first instant of her conception, she was totally preserved from the stain of original sin and she remained pure from all personal sin throughout her life.

509 Mary is truly "Mother of God" since she is the mother of the eternal Son of God made man, who is God himself.

510 Mary "remained a virgin in conceiving her Son, a virgin in giving birth to him, a virgin in carrying him, a virgin in nursing him at her breast, always a virgin" (St. Augustine, Serm. 186, 1: PL 38, 999): with her whole being she is "the handmaid of the Lord" ( Lk 1:38).

511 The Virgin Mary "co-operated through free faith and obedience in human salvation" (LG 56). She uttered her yes "in the name of all human nature" (St. Thomas Aquinas, S Th III, 30, 1). By her obedience she became the new Eve, mother of the living.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
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