Skip to comments.Catholic Caucus: Daily Mass Readings, 02-14-14, M, Sts. Cyril, Monk, and Methodius, Bishop
Posted on 02/13/2014 9:48:43 PM PST by Salvation
February 14, 2014
Reading 1 1 Kgs 11:29-32; 12:19
Jeroboam left Jerusalem,
and the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite met him on the road.
The two were alone in the area,
and the prophet was wearing a new cloak.
Ahijah took off his new cloak,
tore it into twelve pieces, and said to Jeroboam:
“Take ten pieces for yourself;
the LORD, the God of Israel, says:
‘I will tear away the kingdom from Solomon’s grasp
and will give you ten of the tribes.
One tribe shall remain to him for the sake of David my servant,
and of Jerusalem,
the city I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel.’”
Israel went into rebellion against David’s house to this day.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 81:10-11ab, 12-13, 14-15
R. (11a and 9a) I am the Lord, your God: hear my voice.
“There shall be no strange god among you
nor shall you worship any alien god.
I, the LORD, am your God
who led you forth from the land of Egypt.”
R. I am the Lord, your God: hear my voice.
“My people heard not my voice,
and Israel obeyed me not;
So I gave them up to the hardness of their hearts;
they walked according to their own counsels.”
R. I am the Lord, your God: hear my voice.
“If only my people would hear me,
and Israel walk in my ways,
Quickly would I humble their enemies;
against their foes I would turn my hand.”
R. I am the Lord, your God: hear my voice.
Gospel Mk 7:31-37
Jesus left the district of Tyre
and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee,
into the district of the Decapolis.
And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment
and begged him to lay his hand on him.
He took him off by himself away from the crowd.
He put his finger into the man’s ears
and, spitting, touched his tongue;
then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him,
“Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”)
And immediately the man’s ears were opened,
his speech impediment was removed,
and he spoke plainly.
He ordered them not to tell anyone.
But the more he ordered them not to,
the more they proclaimed it.
They were exceedingly astonished and they said,
“He has done all things well.
He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
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From: 1 Kings 11:29-32; 12:19
Jeroboam Revolts and Becomes King of Israel (Continuation)
Ten Tribes Withdraw (Continuation)
11:26-40. Jeroboam’s revolt is the will of the Lord God of Israel. Through the pro-
phet Ahijah, he makes Jeroboam, who was not a descendant of Solomon, king
of the ten tribes of the North, of which Ephraim was the most important. In the
past, it was God, too, who designated the king of Israel, as in the case of Saul
(cf. 1 Sam 10:22-24) and David (cf. 1 Sam 16:1-12). Now God decides who is to
rule each of the two kingdoms (Israel and Judah) that come into being as a pu-
nishment for Solomon’s sin—and in keeping with God’s promise. On account of
the sin, the kingdom ought to be taken away from Solomon’s line, but because
God is faithful to his promise to David he will keep a member of David’s house
on the throne. So, two kingdoms come into being.
St Cyprian sees the prophet Ahijah’s gesture of tearing his cloak into twelve
pieces as a counter-symbol to the unity of the Church as symbolized by Christ’s
tunic. “Christ carried within him the unity which exists on high, the unity of hea-
ven and the Father; this unity can never be sundered by anyone who acquires or
possesses it; rather, it always retains as its indivisible character all the solidity
and stability of unity. No one who breaks and divides his Church can put on the
garment of Christ. What happens is the opposite of what took place at the death
of Solomon, when his kingdom and his people were divided up. At that time, the
prophet Ahijah, on his way out to meet Jeroboam in the fields, tore his cloak into
twelve parts, saying: ‘Take ten pieces...’. Just as the twelve tribes of Israel were
separated, Ahijah tore his cloak. But since the people of Christ cannot be divi-
ded, the Lord’s tunic, woven in a single piece without seam, was not torn up by
those who fought to take possession of it: undivided, close-knit and united, the
tunic is a symbol of the harmony that ought to exist among our people, we who
have submitted ourselves to the service of Christ. Christ prefigures the unity of
the Church in the mystery and symbolism of his tunic” (”De Unilate Ecclesiae”,
12:16-19. The cry “To your tents, O Israel” (v. 16) is not so much a declaration
of independence as an act of treachery, as when Sheba rebelled against David
(cf. 2 Sam 20:1). The situation that the Northern tribes want to recreate by cut-
ting themselves off from the house of David, is interpreted by the sacred writer
as a crime and not a right. They call themselves “Israel”, which will be the name
of the kingdom of the North, whereas that of the South, where David’s line will
continue, will be called “Judah”, after the tribe that made it up. The observation
“to this day” (v. 19) shows that this history was written at a time when those
two kingdoms still existed but it also denotes hope of a future reunification.
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.
Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.
From: Mark 7:31-37
The Curing of a Deaf Man
32-33. Sacred Scripture quite often shows the laying on of hands as a gesture in-
dicating the transfer of power or blessing (cf. Genesis 48:14ff; 2 Kings 5:11; Luke
13:13). Everyone knows that saliva can help heal minor cuts. In the language of
Revelation fingers symbolized powerful Divine action (cf. Exodus 8:19; Psalm 8:4;
Luke 11:20). So Jesus uses signs which suit in some way the effect He wants to
achieve, though we can see from the text that the effect—the instantaneous cure
of the deaf and dumb man—far exceeds the sign used.
In the miracle of the deaf and dumb man we can see a symbol of the way God
acts on souls: for us to believe, God must first open our heart so we can listen to
His word. Then, like the Apostles, we too can proclaim the “magnalia Dei”, the mi-
ghty works of God (cf. Acts 2:11). In the Church’s liturgy (cf. the hymn “Veni Crea-
tor”) the Holy Spirit is compared to the finger of the right hand of God the Father
(”Digitus paternae dexterae”). The Consoler produces in our souls, in the superna-
tural order, effects comparable to those which Christ produces in the body of the
deaf and dumb man.
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.
Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.
1 Kings 11:29-32,12:19 ©
One day when Jeroboam had gone out of Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah of Shiloh accosted him on the road. Ahijah was wearing a new cloak; the two of them were in the open country by themselves. Ahijah took the new cloak he was wearing and tore it into twelve strips, saying to Jeroboam, ‘Take ten strips for yourself, for thus the Lord speaks, the God of Israel, “I am going to tear the kingdom from Solomon’s hand and give ten tribes to you. He shall keep one tribe for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel.’
And Israel has been separated from the House of David until the present day.
Psalm 80:10-15 ©
I am the Lord your God: listen to my warning.
Let there be no foreign god among you.
no worship of an alien god.
I am the Lord your God,
who brought you from the land of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.
I am the Lord your God: listen to my warning.
But my people did not heed my voice
and Israel would not obey,
so I left them in their stubbornness of heart
to follow their own designs.
I am the Lord your God: listen to my warning.
O that my people would heed me,
that Israel would walk in my ways!
At once I would subdue their foes,
turn my hand against their enemies.
I am the Lord your God: listen to my warning.
Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life;
you have the message of eternal life.
Open our heart, O Lord,
to accept the words of your Son.
Mark 7:31-37 ©
Returning from the district of Tyre, Jesus went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, right through the Decapolis region. And they brought him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they asked him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, put his fingers into the man’s ears and touched his tongue with spittle. Then looking up to heaven he sighed; and he said to him, ‘Ephphatha’, that is, ‘Be opened.’ And his ears were opened, and the ligament of his tongue was loosened and he spoke clearly. And Jesus ordered them to tell no one about it, but the more he insisted, the more widely they published it. Their admiration was unbounded. ‘He has done all things well,’ they said ‘he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.’
We thank you, God our Father, for those who have responded to your call to priestly ministry.
Accept this prayer we offer on their behalf: Fill your priests with the sure knowledge of your love.
Open their hearts to the power and consolation of the Holy Spirit.
Lead them to new depths of union with your Son.
Increase in them profound faith in the Sacraments they celebrate as they nourish, strengthen and heal us.
Lord Jesus Christ, grant that these, your priests, may inspire us to strive for holiness by the power of their example, as men of prayer who ponder your word and follow your will.
O Mary, Mother of Christ and our mother, guard with your maternal care these chosen ones, so dear to the Heart of your Son.
Intercede for our priests, that offering the Sacrifice of your Son, they may be conformed more each day to the image of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Saint John Vianney, universal patron of priests, pray for us and our priests
This icon shows Jesus Christ, our eternal high priest.
The gold pelican over His heart represents self-sacrifice.
The border contains an altar and grapevines, representing the Mass, and icons of Melchizedek and St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney.
Melchizedek: king of righteousness (left icon) was priest and king of Jerusalem. He blessed Abraham and has been considered an ideal priest-king.
St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney is the patron saint of parish priests.
1. Sign of the Cross: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
2. The Apostles Creed: II BELIEVE in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
3. The Lord's Prayer: OUR Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
4. (3) Hail Mary: HAIL Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen. (Three times)
5. Glory Be: GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Fatima Prayer: Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.
Announce each mystery, then say 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be and 1 Fatima prayer. Repeat the process with each mystery.
End with the Hail Holy Queen:
Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears! Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus!
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Final step -- The Sign of the Cross
St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle
Be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil;
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God,
Cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.
From an Obama bumper sticker on a car:
"Pray for Obama. Psalm 109:8"
PLEASE JOIN US -
Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. The month of February has been primarily asociated with the Holy Family, probably due to the feast of Our Lord's presentation at the temple, celebrated on February 2. At the very outset of Christ's work on earth, God showed the world a family in which, as Pope Leo XIII teaches, "all men might behold a perfect model of domestic life, and of all virtue and holiness." The harmony, unity, and holiness which characterized this holy Family make it the model for all Christian families.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph most kind, Bless us now and in death's agony.
FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE HOLY FAMILY
Grant unto us, Lord Jesus, ever to follow the example of Thy holy Family, that in the hour of our death Thy glorious Virgin Mother together with blessed Joseph may come to meet us and we may be worthily received by Thee into everlasting dwellings: who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY FAMILY
O Jesus, our most loving Redeemer, who having come to enlighten the world with Thy teaching and example, didst will to pass the greater part of Thy life in humility and subjection to Mary and Joseph in the poor home of Nazareth, thus sanctifying the Family that was to be an example for all Christian families, graciously receive our family as it dedicates and consecrates itself to Thee this day. Do Thou defend us, guard us and establish amongst us Thy holy fear, true peace, and concord in Christian love: in order that, by conforming ourselves to the divine pattern of Thy family, we may be able, all of us without exception, to attain to eternal happiness.
Mary, dear Mother of Jesus and Mother of us, by thy kindly intercession make this our humble offering acceptable in the sight of Jesus, and obtain for us His graces and blessings.
O Saint Joseph, most holy guardian of Jesus and Mary, assist us by thy prayers in all our spiritual and temporal necessities; that so we may be enabled to praise our divine Savior Jesus, together with Mary and thee, for all eternity.
Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be, three times.
IN HONOR OF THE HOLY FAMILY
O God, heavenly Father, it was part of Thine eternal decree that Thine only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, should form a holy family with Mary, His blessed mother, and His foster father, Saint Joseph. In Nazareth home life was sanctified, and a perfect example was given to every Christian family. Grant, we beseech Thee, that we may fully comprehend and faithfully imitate the virtues of the Holy Family so that we may be united with them one day in their heavenly glory. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954
Holy Family Chaplet
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I give you my heart.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, be with me in my last hour.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul
in peace with you.
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man.
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy.
Blessed be St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse. Amen.
Say 3 Our Father's, 3 Hail Mary's, and 3 Glory be's.
THE HOLY FAMILY
GOD our Heavenly Father, You call all peoples to be united as one family in worshipping You as the one and true God. You willed that Your Son become man, giving Him a virgin mother and a foster father to form the Holy Family of Nazareth.
WE pray: may the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, image and model of every human family unit walk in the spirit of Nazareth and grow in the understanding of its particular mission in society and the Church. May our families be living cells of love, faithfulness and unity, thus reflecting God's covenant with humanity and Christ's redeeming love for His Church.
JESUS, Mary and Joseph protect our families from all evil; keep us, who are away from home, one in love with our dear ones.
Imitating the Holy Family: Four Traits that Make It Possible
[Catholic Caucus] On the Holy Family [Angelus]
Biblical Teachings on Marriage and Family. A Homily for the Feast of the Holy Family
Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
Recovering Gods Plan for Marriage and Family: A Sermon on the Feast of the Holy Family
Why were you looking for me?" (On the Feast of The Holy Family)
U.S. Postal Service Issues Holy Family Forever Stamp
On Prayer in the Life of the Holy Family
The Holy Family - held together by Love through all their problems [Ecumenical]
Feast of the Holy Family: The Christian Family is a Domestic Church
Chesterton on "The Human Family and the Holy Family"
Joseph, Mary and Jesus: A Model Family
ADVICE TO PARENTS by Saint Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)
The Holy Family
St. Joseph as Head of the Holy Family (Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)
Feast of the Holy Family
Feast of the Holy Family (Dom Guéranger OSB)
The Feast of the Holy Family
The Holy Family vs. The Holy Innocents: A Christmas season reflection [Catholic Caucus]
Vatican creche to place Holy Family in Joseph's carpentry workshop
The Redemption and Protection of the Family [Feast of the Holy Family]
Study Backs Tradition of Loreto House - Stones in Altar Match Those in Nazareth, It Says
Unraveling Jesus' mystery years in Egypt
Gaudis Church of the Holy Family to be ready for worship in 2008
Imitating the Holy Family; Four Traits that Make It Possible
Lots of Graphics: Post your favorite image of the St. Mary and Child, the Holy Family...
Universal: That the Church and society may respect the wisdom and experience of older people.
For Evangelization: That priests, religious, and lay people may work together with generosity for evangelization.
Friday of the Fifth week in Ordinary Time
Commentary of the day
Benedict XVI, pope from 2005 to 2013
Speech to seminarians 17/02/07 (trans. © Libreria Editrice Vaticana)
« Oh that today you would hear his voice! » (Ps 95,7)
How can we distinguish God's voice from among the thousands of voices we hear each day in our world. I would say: God speaks with us in many different ways. He speaks through others, through friends, parents, pastors, priests. Here, the priests to whom you are entrusted, who are guiding you. He speaks by means of the events in our life, in which we are able to discern God's touch; he speaks also through nature, creation, and he speaks, naturally and above all, through his Word, in Sacred Scripture, read in the communion of the Church and read personally in conversation with God.
It is important to read Sacred Scripture in a very personal way, and really, as St Paul says, not as a human word or a document from the past as we read Homer or Virgil, but as God's Word which is ever timely and speaks to me. It is important to learn to understand in a historical text, a text from the past, the living Word of God, that is, to enter into prayer and thus read Sacred Scripture as a conversation with God. St Augustine often says in his homilies: I knocked on various occasions at the door of this Word until I could perceive what God himself was saying to me. It is of paramount importance to combine this very personal reading, this personal talk with God in which I search for what the Lord is saying to me, and in addition to this personal reading, reading it in the community is very important because the living subject of Sacred Scripture is the People of God, it is the Church.
| Friday, February 14, 2014
Saints Cyril, Monk and Methodius, Bishop (Memorial)
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The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary:
Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word.
And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us.
For the Lord will strike Israel as a reed is shaken in the water; and He will uproot Israel from this good land which He gave to their fathers, and will scatter them beyond the Euphrates River, because they have made their Asherim, provoking the Lord to anger. He will give up Israel on account of the sins of Jeroboam, which he committed and with which he made Israel to sin.
That last reference echoes down the centuries that follow as an absolutely incredible memorial.
"Jeroboam, son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin."
That's just one of those things that has always astonished me, made me stop and wonder. And that, of course, may be precisely the point.
Still, imagine being of so execrable a character that no one remembers you or the character of your crime without both being remembered together.
The Asherim were, of course, those outrageous looking representations of the so-called goddess of the Moon, of fertility and water, and death; repugnant and, among any people even with the slightest oral history left of the Exodus, an affront to the God of Abraham.
Saint Cyril, monk,
& Saint Methodius, bishop
Saints Cyril and Methodius – Icon – tempera on wood. Artist unknown - ca 16th c
"The apostolic and missionary activity of Saints Cyril and Methodius, which belongs to the second half of the ninth century, can be considered the first effective evangelization of the Slavs. [ ] Their work is an outstanding contribution to the formation of the common Christian roots of Europe, roots which by their strength and vitality are one of the most solid points of reference, which no serious attempt to reconstruct in a new and relevant way the unity of the Continent can ignore [ ] Cyril and Methodius are as it were the connecting links or spiritual bridge between the Eastern and Western traditions, which both come together in the one great Tradition of the universal Church. For us they are the champions and also the patrons of the ecumenical endeavor of the sister Churches of East and West, for the rediscovery through prayer and dialogue of visible Unity in perfect and total communion...”
— Pope John Paul II
Slavorum Apostoli 23, 25, 27
In 1985, Pope John Paul II wrote an encyclical, Slavorum Apostoli (Apostles to the Slavs) on the life and work of the brothers, Saints Cyril and Methodius.
Following is the Holy Father's biographical sketch of these two missionary brothers whose apostolic work was key to the evangelization of Europe. Pope John Paul also declared Saints Cyril and Methodius co-patrons of Europe (in addition to Sain Benedict).
The complete encyclical is accessible on the Vatican web site: http://www.vatican.va/edocs/ENG0220/_INDEX.HTM
4. ... The city which saw the birth of the two holy Brothers is the modern Salonika, which in the ninth century was an important centre of commercial and political life in the Byzantine Empire, and occupied a notable position in the intellectual and social life of that part of the Balkans. Being situated on the frontier of the Slav territories, it also certainly had a Slav name: Solun.
Methodius was the elder brother and his baptismal name was probably Michael. He was born between 815 and 820. His younger brother Constantine, who came to be better known by his religious name Cyril, was born in 827 or 828. Their father was a senior official of the imperial administration. The family's social position made possible for the two Brothers a similar career, which in fact Methodius did take up, reaching the rank of Archon or Prefect in one of the frontier Provinces where many Slavs lived. However, towards the year 840 he interrupted his career and retired to one of the monasteries at the foot of Mount Olympus in Bithynia, then known as the Holy Mountain.
His brother Cyril studied with great success in Byzantium, where he received Holy Orders, after having resolutely refused a brilliant political future. By reason of his exceptional intellectual and religious talents and knowledge, there were entrusted to him while he has still a young man delicate ecclesiastical appointments, such as that of Librarian of the Archive attached to the great church of Holy Wisdom in Constantinople, and, simultaneously, the prestigious position of Secretary to the Patriarch of that city. However, he very soon made it known that he wished to be relieved of these posts, in order to be able to devote himself to study and the contemplative life, far from the pursuit of ambition. Thus he retired secretly to a monastery on the Black Sea coast. He was discovered six months later, and was persuaded to accept the task of teaching philosophy in the School of higher learning in Constantinople, where by reason of the excellence of his knowledge he gained the epithet of The Philosopher by which he is still known. Later on he was sent by the emperor and the Patriarch on a mission to the Saracens. On the completion of this task he retired from public life in order to join his elder brother Methodius and share with him the monastic life. But once again, together with Methodius, he was included in a Byzantine delegation sent to the Khazars, acting as a religious and cultural expert. While staying in the Crimea at Kherson, they identified what they believed to be the church in which had been buried Saint Clement, Pope of Rome and martyr, who had been exiled to that distant region. They recovered his relics and took them with them. These relics later accompanied the two holy Brothers on their missionary journey to the West, until they were able to bring them solemnly to Rome and present them to Pope Hadrian II.
5. The event which was to determine the whole of the rest of their lives was the request made by Prince Rastislav of Greater Moravia to the Emperor Michael III, to send to his peoples "a Bishop and teacher ... able to explain to them the true Christian faith in their own language".
Those chosen were Saints Cyril and Methodius, who readily accepted, set out and, probably by the year 863, reached Greater Moravia-a State then including various Slav peoples of Central Europe, at the crossroads of the mutual influences between East and West. They undertook among these peoples that mission to which both of them devoted the rest of their lives, spent amidst journeys, privations, sufferings, hostility and persecution, which for Methodius included even a period of cruel imprisonment. All of this they bore with strong faith and indomitable hope in God. They had in fact prepared well for the task entrusted to them: they took with them the texts of the Sacred Scriptures needed for celebrating the Sacred Liturgy, which they had prepared and translated into the Old Slavonic language and written in a new alphabet, devised by Constantine the Philosopher and perfectly adapted to the sounds of that language. The missionary activity of the two Brothers was accompanied by notable success, but also by the understandable difficulties which the preceding initial Christianization, carried out by the neighboring Latin Churches, placed in the way of the new missionaries.
About three years later, while travelling to Rome, they stopped in Pannonia where the Slav Prince Kocel, who had fled from the important civil and religious center of Nitra, gave them a hospitable reception. From here, after some months, they set out again for Rome together with their followers, for whom they desired to obtain Holy Orders. Their route passed through Venice, where the innovating elements of the mission they were carrying out were subjected to a public discussion. In Rome Pope Hadrian II, who had in the meantime succeeded Nicholas I, received them very cordially. He approved the Slavonic liturgical books, which he ordered to be solemnly placed on the altar in the Church of Saint Mary ad Praesepe, today known as Saint Mary Major, and recommended that their followers be ordained priests. This phase of their efforts concluded in a most favorable manner. Methodius however had to carry out the next stages by himself, because his younger brother, now gravely ill, scarcely had time to take religious vows and put on the monastic habit before he died shortly afterwards, on February 14, 869 in Rome.
6. Saint Methodius remained faithful to the words which Cyril had said to him on his deathbed: "Behold, my brother, we have shared the same destiny, ploughing the same furrow; I now fall in the field at the end of my day. I know that you greatly love your Mountain; but do not for the sake of the Mountain give up your work of teaching. For where better can you and salvation?"
Consecrated Archbishop for the territory of the ancient Diocese of Pannonia, and named Papal Legate "ad gentes" (for the Slav peoples), he assumed the ecclesiastical title of the re-established Episcopal See of Sirmium. However, Methodius' apostolic activity was cut short as the result of political and religious complications which culminated in his imprisonment for two years, on the charge of having invaded the episcopal jurisdiction of another. He was set free only on the personal intervention of Pope John VIII. The new sovereign of Greater Moravia, Prince Svatopluk, also subsequently showed hostility to the work of Methodius. He opposed the Slavonic liturgy and spread doubts in Rome about the new Archbishop's orthodoxy. In the year 880 Methodius was called ad limina Apostolorum, to present once more the whole question personally to John VIII. In Rome, absolved of all the accusations, he obtained from the Pope the publication of the Bull Industriae Tuae, which, at least in substance, restored the prerogatives granted to the liturgy in Slavonic by Pope John's predecessor Hadrian II.
When in 881 or 882 Methodius went to Constantinople, he received a similar recognition of perfect legitimacy and orthodoxy also from the Byzantine Emperor and the Patriarch Photius, who at that time was in full communion with Rome. He devoted the last years of his life principally to making further translations of the Sacred Scriptures, the liturgical books, the works of the Fathers of the Church and also the collection of ecclesiastical and Byzantine civil laws called the Nomocanon. Concerned for the survival of the work which he had begun, he named as his successor his disciple Gorazd. He died on April 6, 885 in the service of the Church established among the Slav peoples.
7. His far-seeing work, his profound and orthodox doctrine, his balance, loyalty, apostolic zeal and intrepid magnanimity gained Methodius the recognition and trust of Roman Pontiffs, of Patriarchs of Constantinople, of Byzantine Emperors and of various Princes of the young Slav peoples. Thus he became the guide and legitimate Pastor of the Church which in that age became established in the midst of those nations. He is unanimously venerated, together with his brother Constantine, as the preacher of the Gospel and teacher "from God and the holy Apostle Peter", and as the foundation of full unity between the Churches of recent foundation and the more ancient ones.
For this reason, "men and women, humble and powerful, rich and poor, free men and slaves, widows and orphans, foreigners and local people, the healthy and the sick" made up the throng that amid tears and songs accompanied to his burial place the good Teacher and Pastor who had become "all things to all men, that I might by all means save some".
To tell the truth, after the death of Methodius the work of the holy Brothers suffered a grave crisis, and persecution of their followers grew so severe that the latter were forced to abandon their missionary field. Nonetheless, their sowing of the Gospel seed did not cease to bear fruit, and their pastoral attitude of concern to bring the revealed truth to new peoples while respecting their cultural originality remains a living model for the Church and for the missionaries of all ages.
O God, who enlightened the Slavic peoples
through the brothers Saints Cyril and Methodius,
grant that our hearts may grasp the words of your teaching,
and perfect us as a people of one accord
in true faith and right confession.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.
First Reading: The Acts of the Apostles 13:46-49
And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, "It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, 'I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the uttermost parts of the earth.'"
And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of God; and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord spread throughout all the region.
Gospel Reading: Luke 10:1-9
After this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of Him, two by two, into every town and place where He Himself was about to come. And He said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and salute no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace be to this house!' And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages; do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you; heal the sick in it and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.'
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII ON SS. CYRIL AND METHODIUS
To all the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops and
Bishops of the Catholic world who enjoy Favor and
Communion with the Apostolic See.
Venerable Brothers, Greetings and Apostolic Blessing.
Cyril and Methodius, Missionaries to the Slavs
The great duty of spreading the Christian name was entrusted in a special way to Peter, the head of the apostles, and to his successors. It urges the popes to send messengers of the Gospel to the various peoples of the earth, as the affairs of the merciful God demand. For this reason they sent Augustine to the Britons, Patrick to the Irish, Boniface to the Germans, and Willebrord to the Flemish, Dutch, and Belgians. Often they sent other men to other peoples to care for their souls. So in the exercise of their apostolic duty, they commissioned the holy men Cyril and Methodius to go to the Slavic people. Through their presence and more especially through their labors, those people have seen the light of the Gospel and have been led from their barbarian ways to a humane and civilized culture.
Extension of the Feast of Cyril and Methodius
2. All Slovenia has continued to celebrate the work of Cyril and Methodius, well-known peers of the apostles, and the Roman Church has honored both of them with just as much fervor. The Church honored both of them in many ways while they lived, and in death it did not want to be without the remains of one of them. The Bohemians, Moravians, and Croatians were accustomed to celebrating religious feasts annually on March 9. Since 1863 Pius IX granted them permission to hold their feasts on July 5 and to discharge due prayers in memory of Cyril and Methodius. Not long after that, when the great council was held at the Vatican, many bishops humbly requested from this Apostolic See that their cult and appointed feast be extended to the whole Church. Until now the matter has been under study. But because of the change in the status of the government in those areas over the years, it seems like an excellent opportunity to help the people of Slovenia, whose well-being and salvation greatly concern Us. Therefore, We shall not allow Our paternal love to fail. We wish to promote and increase the devotion to these most holy men who once spread the Catholic faith and recalled the Slavic people from ruin to salvation. They now serve as our heavenly advocates and will powerfully defend us. Moreover, in order to bring out more fully what kind of men We propose for the veneration and worship of the Catholic world, We wish to give a brief history of their deeds.
Youth and Cyril's First Mission
3. The brothers Cyril and Methodius, born in Thessalonica, went as boys to Constantinople in order to study the humanities in the chief city of the East. The spark of genius already discerned in these young men soon became apparent. They both advanced quickly, especially Cyril, who became so distinguished in learning that he won for himself the title of "The Philosopher." Soon after this, Methodius undertook the monastic life. Under the influence of the Patriarch Ignatius, the Empress Theodora commissioned Cyril to teach the Christian faith to the Khazer tribes who dwelt beyond the Chersonese. These people had asked that suitable priests might be sent to them from Constantinople. Cyril accepted the mission willingly and departed for Tauric Chersonese so that, as some relate, he could study the language of the people. It was at this time that he had the good fortune to discover the remains of Pope Clement I. This courageous martyr was thrown into the sea by order of the Emperor Trajan and was afterwards buried with the anchor to which he had been fastened. The anchor, together with the ancient tradition, made it very easy to identify the remains. With this priceless treasure, Cyril went into the towns and homes of the Khazars. In a short time, after abolishing many superstitions, he won for Jesus Christ these people, who were taught by his word and moved by the spirit of God. To the new Christian community Cyril gave an example of self control and charity by refusing all the gifts offered to him by the inhabitants, except the slaves whose liberty he restored to them when they embraced Christianity. He soon returned to Constantinople to enter the monastery of Polychronius, which Methodius had entered.
The Mission to Moravia
4. Meanwhile, reports of the great events happening among the Khazars reached Rastislav, Prince of Moravia. Aroused by their example, he negotiated with the Emperor Michael III for an evangelizing mission to be sent from Constantinople, and his wish was granted. Thus, the great worth of Cyril and Methodius as seen in their previous accomplishments, together with their zeal for helping their neighbors, caused their selection for the Moravian mission.
5. As they began their journey through Bulgaria, which had already been converted to Christianity, they let pass no opportunity for increasing the faith. Upon reaching Moravia, they were met by a large crowd who had come with great desire and joy to greet them. Without delay the apostles strove to penetrate their minds with the doctrines of Christianity and to raise their hopes to heavenly things. They did this with so much force and with such energetic zeal that in a very short rime the Moravian people gave themselves to Jesus Christ.
6. Much of their success was due to Cyril's knowledge of the Slavic language, which he had acquired earlier. The influence of the Old and New Testaments as translated by him into the vernacular was also considerable. The whole Slavic people owe much to the man who gave them the Christian faith and with it the advantages of civilization. Cyril and Methodius were also the inventors of the alphabet which afforded the Slavic tongue the means for a written language, and they are even looked upon as having formed the language.
Journey to Rome
7. Another report from these remote provinces announced to Dome the glory of their deeds. And so, when Pope Nicholas I ordered the brothers to Rome, they obeyed without hesitation. They began their Roman journey quickly, bringing with them the remains of St. Clement. At this news Adrian II, who was elected to replace the late Pope Nicholas, went out with the clergy and the people to greet the illustrious visitors. The body of St. Clement was brought with great portents into the basilica constructed at the time of Constantine, in the very tracks of the ancestral home of that invincible martyr.
8. Cyril and Methodius then recounted to the Supreme Pontiff and his clergy the apostolic mission they had fulfilled with so much holiness and labor. They were accused of acting in opposition to ancient customs and contrary to holy rites in making use of the Slavic language for religious matters. However, they pleaded their cause with such indisputable and noble reasoning that the pope and all the clergy praised them and approved their course of action. Both then took an oath in the Catholic manner and swore that they would remain in the faith of St. Peter and of the popes. After that they were created bishops and consecrated by Adrian himself, and many of their disciples were raised to different grades in Holy Orders.
Death of Cyril
9. However, it was divine foresight that Cyril should die on February 14, 869, more mature in virtue than in age. After a splendid public funeral like that given to popes, he was buried with honors in a tomb which Adrian had built for himself. Because the Roman people could not bear to send the holy corpse to Constantinople though his grieving parent asked for it, it was brought to the basilica of St. Clement and buried near him whom Cyril had held in reverence for so many years. As he was taken through the city among festal songs and psalms - not so much in the manner of a funeral as that of a triumph - the Roman people made offerings of heavenly honor to the holy man.
Methodius' Return to Moravia
10. After these things had taken place, Methodius returned under Papal orders to Moravia as bishop. In that province, having become a spiritual model for his flock, he began to serve Catholicism more keenly every day. He strongly resisted the factions of reform, lest the Catholic name fall through unsound thinking. He educated prince Svatopluk, who succeeded Rastislav in religious matters. He warned him about shirking his duties, rebuked him, and finally excommunicated him. For these reasons he incurred the anger of that revolting and wicked tyrant; then he was sent into exile. He was recalled a short time later, and his efforts produced a change of heart in the prince and an understanding that he should return to a new purity of life.
11. It is remarkable that Methodius' vigilant love had crossed the borders of Moravia and reached the Liburnians and Serbs, since he was Cyril's successor. Now it reached the Pannonians, whose prince, Kocel, he disposed to the Catholic religion and retained in his duties. It also reached the Bulgarians, whom he confirmed in the faith along with their leader Boris. Then he dispensed the gifts of heaven to the Dalmatians. Finally, he worked strenuously that the Carinthians might be brought to the knowledge and the worship of the one true God.
Methodius' Trip to Rome
12. But this became a source of trial to Methodius. Some members of the new Christian community became jealous of his accomplishments and virtue. They accused him, to Pope John VIII, Adrian's successor, of being unsound in faith, though he was innocent. They also accused him of violating the traditions of the Fathers who used only the Latin or Greek languages in discharging their religious duties. Wanting to preserve the integrity of the faith and to maintain the ancient traditions, the pope then summoned Methodius to Rome to justify himself. Methodius appeared before Pope John, several bishops, and the Roman clergy in 880, for he was ever ready to obey and confident in the testimony of his conscience. He obtained an easy victory by proving that he had followed Catholic teachings himself. He showed that he had always taught others the faith which he had sworn on the tomb of St. Peter, the prince of the Apostles, an oath given in the presence of Adrian and with his approval. If he had used the Slavic language in the celebration of the sacraments, he had done so for good reasons, since he had the special permission of Pope Adrian himself and the Holy Scriptures did not forbid it. Methodius freed himself so completely from every suspicion of guilt that the pope embraced him then and there and confirmed his archiepiscopal jurisdiction and his mission to the Slavs. Methodius returned to Moravia in the company of several bishops who were to be his coadjutors, with letters of recommendation and freedom of action in his work.
Return to Moravia
13. To confirm those things, the pope sent letters to Methodius so that he would not again become subject to the envy of his detractors. For this reason, Methodius performed his assigned duties more vigilantly, confident that he was joined to the pope and to the whole Roman church in a close bond of faith and love. His labor soon produced an exceptional harvest. With the assistance of a priest, he converted prince Boriwoj of Bohemia, then his wife Ludmilla, and before long Christianity spread throughout that land. At the same time he brought the light of the Gospel to Poland; he penetrated Galicia, where he established the episcopal see of Lwdw. Then, as some report, he penetrated into Muscovy and established the episcopal See of Kiev.
Death of Methodius
14. Having crowned himself with imperishable laurels, he returned to Moravia and his own people. He felt his death approaching and named his successor, and his last words exhorted the clergy and people to practice virtue. He departed in peace from this life, which had been the path to heaven for him. As Rome mourned Cyril, so Moravia mourned the loss of Methodius, showing its grief by giving his burial every honor.
Papal Concern for the Slavs
15. Venerable brothers, the memory of these events causes Us great joy. We are deeply moved by the magnificent association of the Slavic nation and the Roman church, an association with the noblest beginnings. Though these two apostles of the Christian faith went from Constantinople to preach to people in foreign lands, it was from this Apostolic See, the center of Catholic unity, that they received the investiture of their mission or, as happened more than once, its solemn approbation. Truly it was here in this city of Rome that they rendered an account of their mission and answered their accusers. It was here at the tombs of Peter and Paul that they swore to keep the Catholic faith. It was here that they received episcopal consecration and the power to establish the sacred hierarchy, while observing in it the distinction of each order. Finally, it was here that they sought and obtained permission to use the Slavic language in holy rites. This year, ten centuries will have passed since Pope John VIII wrote to prince Svatopluk of Moravia: "It is right that we praise the Slavic language, which re-echoes with the praises due to God. We ordain that the proclamations and works of our Lord Jesus Christ should be said in that language. Nothing in true faith, or doctrine forbids us to sing the Mass in the Slavic language, or to read the Gospel lessons (correctly translated and interpreted) in it, or to chant in it the Divine Hours." After many changes, Pope Benedict XIV sanctioned this custom in an apostolic letter dated August 25, 1754. Whenever the rulers of the peoples evangelized by Cyril and Methodius asked them, the popes gave generously of their humanity in teaching, kindness in giving advice, and singular good will wherever possible. Above all, Rastislav, Svatopluk, Kocel, Saint Ludmilla, and Boris have experienced the remarkable love of Our predecessors.
16. The paternal concern of the popes for the Slavic people did not stop with the death of Cyril and Methodius. Rather, it has always shone forth in preserving among them the holiness of religion and public prosperity. In fact, Nicholas I sent priests from Rome to the Bulgarians to educate the people, and he also sent the bishops of Populonia and Ostia to govern the new Christian community. He gave a loving response in the frequent controversies of the Bulgarians concerning holy law. In this matter, even those who do not favor the Roman Church praise and admire its prudence. After this calamitous disagreement, We must praise Innocent III for reconciling the Bulgarians with the Catholic Church, and We must praise Gregory IX, Innocent IV, Nicholas IV, and Eugene IV for preserving them in reconciled grace. Similarly the love of Our predecessors shines forth in their contacts with the Bosnians and Erzevovinenses, who were deceived by evil opinions. We make special note of Innocent III and Innocent IV, who eradicated this spiritual error, and of Gregory IX, Clement VI, and Pius II who were eager to establish firmly the levels of sacred authority in those areas. Innocent III, Nicholas IV, Benedict XI, and Clement V conferred neither the last nor the least of their cares on the Serbs, who cunningly prepared deceptions to harm religion, deceptions which the popes prudently contained. The Dalmatians and the Liburnians received singular favor because of the constancy of their faith and their changing duties. John X, Gregory VII, Gregory IX, and Urban IV held them up as examples for all. Finally, there are many evidences of the good will of Gregory IX and Clement XIV toward the church of Sirmium, which was destroyed in the sixth century by barbarians and later rebuilt through the care of St. Stephen I, king of Hungary.
17. For this reason, We thank God for giving Us this suitable occasion to thank the Slavic people and to effect a common benefit for them. Indeed We do this no less eagerly than Our predecessors. Certainly We foresee and desire that the Slavic nation should learn from the great abundance of bishops and priests. May they be strengthened in the profession of the true faith, in true obedience to the Church of Jesus Christ. May they understand more each day how great a force of good comes from the customs of the Catholic Church in family life and in all the orders of government. Certainly those churches vindicate the many great cares We showed toward them. There is nothing We desire more than to take the appropriate measures for their comfort and prosperity and to have all their relations with Us be in perpetual harmony. This is the greatest and the best bond of safety. It remains that God, who is rich in mercy, might look upon Our plans and favor what We have begun. Meanwhile, We have Cyril and Methodius, the teachers of Slovenia, as intercessors with Him. As We wish to promote their veneration, so We trust in their future heavenly patronage.
18. Therefore, We decree that July 5 be set aside in the calendar of the universal Roman Church, as Pius IX ordained. On this day the feast of Sts. Cyril and Methodius shall be celebrated annually with the office and mass proper to a double minor rite, as approved by the holy council.
19. And We entrust to all of you, venerable brothers, the publication of this letter. Order every priest who celebrates the divine office according to the rites of the Roman Church to observe everything that is prescribed in this letter in each church, province, city, diocese, and monastery. We persuade and encourage you to stimulate prayer to Cyril and Methodius, so that they might intercede with God and watch over Christianity in the East. May there be constancy in all Catholic men and the will to reconcile all dissidents to the true Church.
20. We order this to be established and fixed as written above, notwithstanding the constitutions of Pope St. Pius V and other apostolic documents on the reform of the breviary and the Roman Missal, or other statutes and customs - even very old ones - or anything else to the contrary.
21. As a pledge of Our good wishes and of divine favor, venerable brothers, We lovingly impart Our apostolic blessing to each one of you, to all the clergy, and to each and every person committed to your care.
Given in Rome, at St. Peter's, on September 30, 1880, in the third year of Our Pontificate.
Saint Valentine's Day
Cupids. Candy. Flowers. Lacy hearts. Strange, isn't it, that the best known Christian saint on the secular calendar -- a holiday devoted to romantic love -- is a martyr for the Christian faith?
Saint Valentine did "die of love", to be sure -- but not of the romantic sort! Strange, also, considering its enormous popularity, that this saint's feast no longer appears on the Church's calendar. (Officially, February 14 marks the feast of Sts. Cyril and Methodias, 9th century missionaries to the Slavs.)
How did the "Saint" dissappear from Valentine's Day? Can we "re-Christianize" the celebration of this popular holiday? Who is Saint Valentine, anyway?
There are at three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, mentioned in the early martyrologies for the date of February 14th.
One is described as a priest in Rome, another a bishop (of Interamna, the modern Terni). Both apparently were martyred in the second half of the third century and buried at different places on the Flaminian Way outside of Rome. The third St. Valentine was martyred in Africa with a number of companions.
Almost nothing is known about any of these early Christian men -- except that they died for the love of Christ!
The popular customs connected with Saint Valentine's Day's probably originated in medieval Europe. At that time, when "courtly love" was in flower, there was a common belief in England and France that on February 14th, precisely half way through the second month of the year, the birds began to pair.
Thus, we read in the 14th century English poet, Geoffrey Chaucer's "Parliament of Foules":
For this was on Seynt Valentynes' day
Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate. (Chaucer's original spelling).
This belief about "love-birds" is probably the reason Saint Valentine's feast day came to be seen as specially consecrated to lovers, and as a proper occasion for writing love letters and sending lover's tokens. The literature of the fourteenth and fifteenth-century in both France and England contain allusions to this practice.
This association with romantic love, along with the medieval revival of interest in classic literature, no doubt led to the "paganizing" of this martyr's feast, so that the Roman god, Cupid (the counterpart of Eros in Greek mythology), supplanted the saint in the celebration of the feast. In Roman mythology, Cupid, the son of Venus, was a winged immortal who had the mischievous habit of shooting invisible arrows into the hearts of mortals, which inflamed them with blind and helpless passion -- for the next person they might see.
The Golden Legend, a medieval book of stories about saints, says that Valentine, a priest, was imprisioned by the emperor Claudius II for leading people to Christ. While Valentine was being interrogated by a Roman officer, the priest preached Christ as the "one and only Light". The officer, who had a blind daughter, challenged Valentine to pray to Christ for her cure. The girl was cured, and the entire family were converted to Christianity.
According to legend, while awaiting execution, he wrote notes of instruction, affection and encouragement to the Christian community in Rome, which were secretly delivered by a boy who visited him in prison.
It is ironic that a Roman Christian who died defending the faith is now chiefly associated with a pagan god, Cupid!
"Christianizing" Valentine's Day:
Family prayers and activities
On Saint Valentine's Day, we Christians have an opportunity for some real "inculturation" -- that is, planting seeds of Christ's truth into the culture in which we live.
When we remember that the heart of Saint Valentine was, like other Christian martyrs, "pierced" by the love of Our Lord, and he shed his blood for this, it seems appropriate that the red heart is a symbol for this powerful love. We think about the power of the love of God - our love for Him and His for us - to inspire our love for others. It is this kind of love that gives heart (or "en-courages") to faithful Christians to accomplish deeds of extraordinary courage - even unto death - to bring the truth of faith to others. We are reminded, too, that suffering that often accompanies genuine love.
In our Catholic families, we can focus our thoughts, this day, not only in expressing our love for our friends and families (and yes, sweethearts) by gifts and loving greetings; but also in prayer and meditation on Scripture.
A Prayer for Saint Valentine's Day
The following prayer is adapted from a collect (prayer) for feasts of martyrs.
Most Gracious Heavenly Father, You gave Saint Valentine the courage to witness to the gospel of Christ, even to the point of giving his life for it. Help us to endure all suffering for love of you, and to seek you with all our hearts; for you alone are the source of life and love. Grant that we may have the courage and love to be strong witnesses of your truth to our friends and family and to the whole world. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Prayer to St. Valentine
Almighty God, grant we beseech You,
that we who celebrate the glorious martyrdom of St. Valentine, Your servant, may by his intercession be filled with the love of God and neighbor and be delivered from all the evils that threaten us.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen +
There are many passages of the Bible that reflect God's love. One of the best known of these is probably John 3:16:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
During family prayers, or at dinner time, older children could read aloud the "love chapter" of Saint Paul's first letter to the Christian Church in Corinth, I Corinthians 13.
This would be a good time, too, to explain the three kinds of "love" in the Scripture (in English there is only one word for these three separate kinds of love, but Greek has a word for each one).
Agape (a-gah-pay) - selfless love for others and for God
Philio (fee-lee-o) - brotherly love
Eros (air-ross) - romantic or sexual love
Why not start children on memorizing parts of Holy Scripture with John 3:16, which tells about God's immense love for us and our response to this love? One way to help with memorizing is to have them write out this verse on cut-out paper hearts -- for Valentines!
The color red is used by the Church as a symbol of the blood shed by martyrs who died for the faith. (You can point out that priests wear red vestments on feasts of martyrs.) Hearts, too, are symbols of deep Christian love. (The traditional devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is an example.)
Young children may need help cutting out the hearts and printing the verse, but even very tiny ones can make original designs with crayon or markers.
In addition to construction paper, you might also supply some paper doilies, heart-shaped red foil stickers, markers or crayons, glitter glue, etc., red or gold ribbon, for a real assembly line of Valentine production. (We've found it's a good idea to start this project a few days before Valentine's day, to allow time to make enough for everyone - and to send to out-of-town grandparents and aunts and uncles.)
We can almost guarantee that teachers, parents and grandparents would be very, very pleased to receive a Valentine like this!
While you're overseeing the Valentine-making project, you can tell about the real saint, and about the great love he had for Christ and for other people.
Valentine cake or cupcakes
If you have heart-shaped cake pans, you can make a very impressive big cake that will delight children. You can use any flavor cake-mix, and use a buttercream frosting or ready-made white icing. Cupcakes are another option -- especially as a treat to bring to school on Valentine's Day. The cake or cupcakes decorated with white or pink icing, adorned with candy sprinkles shaped like hearts (store-bought) or gum-drop hearts, heart-shaped red-hots, or red jelly beans. This is pretty, and simple enough that even toddlers can get into the spirit (and mess!) of it.
Store-bought sugar cookies or graham crackers can be decorated like this, too, if you're really short on time.
Of course, there's no substitute for real, home-made sugar cookies cut out with heart-shaped cutters. They can be frosted in different pastel colors (quickie hint: canned vanilla frosting divided into different bowls and colored with cake coloring).
Older children could use a tube of red icing to write "John 3:16" on each cookie - or "JOY" (which stands for "Jesus, Others, You"-- a Christian's order of priorities in loving). The cookies resemble those little candy hearts with cute sayings - only they have a real message of love. Kids can explain these "code messages" to their classmates.
More ambitious, but interesting, is this recipe for "Love Knots", a recipe from Evelyn Birge Vitz's cookbook for feasts of the church year, A Continual Feast (Ignatius Press). In the late Middle Ages, she says, there was a custom of wearing "love knots" on Saint Valentines's Day - golden pins shaped like sideways figure-8s, a symbol of infinity, to suggest that love is without end, eternal. The love knots were made of gold, which never tarnishes, never loses it perfection, and were given to one's sweetheart.
This is a recipe for edible "love Knots", a sweet pretzel-like twist.
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
a few drops yellow food coloring
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
Yellow sugar sprinkles
Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg yolk, the eggs, sour cream, vanilla extract and yellow food coloring (to make the dough more "golden"). Sift and stir in the flour; add the lemon rind.
Chill the dough for several hours and only remove it from the refrigerator a little at a time: this will make it easier to handle.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Shape the dough into ropes about 1/2 inch in diameter and 12 inches long, and twist these into figure 8s. Place the twists on a greased baking sheet, and bake for about 15 minutes. About halfway through the cooking, "gild" with yellow sprinkles.
Yield: 12 to 14 "love knots".
Feast Day: February 14
Born: 827 and 826, Thessaloniki, Byzantine Empire (present-day Greece)
Died: February 14, 869 and 6 April 885
Patron of: Bulgaria, Czech Republic (including Bohemia, and Moravia), Ecumenism, unity of the Eastern and Western Churches, Europe, Slovakia
Feast Day: February 14
St. Cyril and St. Methodius
Feast Day: February 14
Born:827/815 :: Died:869/885
Cyril and Methodius were brothers from Thessalonica in Greece. In their youth they learnt how to speak many languages, including Slavonic which at that time was not written down. Methodius was a provincial governor and the younger brother Cyril was a distinguished professor of Philosophy in Constantinople.
They both became priests and shared the same holy desires to spread the faith. Then the prince of Moravia asked for missionaries. He wanted them to bring the Good News of Jesus and the Church to his country. The prince added one more request: that the missionaries speak the language of his people.
The two brothers, Cyril and Methodius, volunteered and were accepted. They realized that they were being asked to leave their own country, language and culture behind out of love for Jesus. They did this willingly. They became missionaries to the Slav nations of Moravia, Bohemia and Bulgaria.
Cyril and Methodius invented a Slav alphabet. They translated the Bible and the Church's liturgy into the Slav language. Because of them, the people were able to receive Christianity in words they could understand.
Some people in the Church at that time did not approve of the use of a native language in the Church's liturgy and complained about the two brothers to the pope. Pope Nicholas I called them to Rome for a meeting to solve the problem.
But by the time they arrived, Adrian II had became pope and he was in favor of using the local language of the people in the liturgy. The pope showed his gratitude and admiration for the two missionaries. He approved their methods of spreading the faith and named them bishops.
Unfortunately, Cyril died on February 14, 869 before he could actually be consecrated a bishop and is buried in the Church of St. Clement in Rome. But Methodius became bishop, returned to the Slav countries and continued his labors for fifteen more years. He died on April 6, 885.
Cyril and Methodius were Greeks, under the authority of a Roman Pope, working together with the authorities of the Eastern Church. They symbolized bridge-building and connection between the two churches and are now seen as patron saints of ecumenism (unity) between the Eastern and Western branches of Christendom (Christianity).
St. Cyril and St. Methodius are also named co-patrons of Europe along with St. Benedict.
Reflection: These two men brought the light of the Gospel to the Slavic nations and helped promote unity without imposing rigid uniformity. Let us pray for unity among Christians that we may become one in faith and praise.
Liturgical Color: White
Today is the Memorial of St. Cyril, monk
and St. Methodius, bishop. They were 8th
century brothers of Greek nobility with a
calling to the religious life. Together they
evangelized Slavic countries and translated
the Bible into the Slavic languages.
Daily Readings for:February 14, 2014
(Readings on USCCB website)
Collect: O God, who enlightened the Slavic peoples through the brothers Saints Cyril and Methodius, grant that our hearts may grasp the words of your teaching, and perfect us as a people of one accord in true faith and right confession. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
· Ordinary Time: February 14th
· Memorial of Sts. Cyril, monk and St. Methodius, bishop
Old Calendar: St. Valentine, priest and martyr ; Other Titles: St. Valentine's Day
St. Cyril was a priest and a philosopher and accompanied his brother St. Methodius to Moravia to preach the Gospel. They both perfected a Slavonic alphabet which is now known as the Cyrillic alphabet and translated the liturgy into this language. They were summoned to Rome, where Cyril died on this date in 869, and Methodius was consecrated bishop and sent to Pannonia. He died on April 6, 885, in Velehrad, Czech Republic, after working tirelessly on spreading the Gospel. According to the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, their feast is celebrated on July 7.
According to the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Valentine. St. Valentine, a priest of Rome, was martyred, it would appear, in about 270. On the Flaminian Way, at the site of his martyrdom, Julius I built a basilica which was visited frequently.
Sts. Cyril and Methodius
Cyril and Methodius, the apostles of the Slavs, were brothers who hailed from Thessalonia. After receiving an excellent education, they were sent by the Eastern Emperor Michael III (842-856) into the kingdom of Grand-Moravia; through great effort and in spite of tremendous difficulties they converted the Slavonic nations. They translated the Bible into Slavonic and devised a kind of writing, called glagolitic, which even to the present day is used in the liturgical services of some Eastern rites.
In 867 the two brothers came to Rome, were met by Pope Hadrian II (867-872) and the whole papal court. They gave a report of their labors but encountered opposition on the part of jealous clergy who took offense, it was said, because of their liturgical innovations. Cyril and Methodius explained their methods and from the Pope himself received episcopal consecration (868). Soon after, Cyril died at Rome, only forty-two years old, and was buried in St. Peter's; later his body was transferred to San Clemente, where his remains still rest. His funeral resembled a triumphal procession.
Methodius returned to Moravia and labored as a missionary among the Hungarians, Bulgarians, Dalmatians, and the inhabitants of Carinthia. Falling again under suspicion, he returned to Rome and defended the use of the Slavonic language in the liturgy. The Pope bestowed upon him the dignity of archbishop. After his return to Moravia, he converted the duke of Bohemia and his wife, spread the light of faith in Bohemia and Poland, is said to have gone to Moscow (after the erection of the See of Lemberg), and to have established the diocese of Kiev. After his return he died in Bohemia and was buried in the Church of St. Mary at Velehrad, the services being conducted in Greek, Slavonic, and Latin.
— Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch
Patron: Slavic Peoples; Bohemia; Bulgaria; Bosnia; Croatia; Czech Republic; Czechoslovakia; ecumenism; Europe; Moravia; Russia; unity of the Eastern and Western Churches; Yugoslavia; ecumenism; against storms.
Symbols for St. Cyril: With Saint Methodius; Oriental monk holding a church with the help of Methodius; surrounded by Bulgarian converts; wearing a long philosopher's coat.
Symbols for St. Methodius: With Saint Cyril; Oriental bishop holding up a church with Saint Cyril; Oriental bishop holding a picture of the Last Judgement.
Things to Do:
Legend states that Valentine, along with St. Marius, aided the Christian martyrs during the Claudian persecution. In addition to his other edicts against helping Christians, Claudius had also issued a decree forbidding marriage. In order to increase troops for his army, he forbade young men to marry, believing that single men made better soldiers than married men.
Valentine defied this decree and urged young lovers to come to him in secret so that he could join them in the sacrament of matrimony. Eventually he was discovered by the Emperor, who promptly had Valentine arrested and brought before him. Because he was so impressed with the young priest, Claudius attempted to convert him to Roman paganism rather than execute him. However, Valentine held steadfast and in turn attempted to convert Claudius to Christianity, at which point the Emperor condemned him to death.
While in prison, Valentine was tended by the jailer, Asterius, and his blind daughter. Asterius' daughter was very kind to Valentine and brought him food and messages. They developed a friendship and toward the end of his imprisonment Valentine was able to convert both father and daughter to Christianity. Legend has it that he also miraculously restored the sight of the jailer's daughter.
The night before his execution, the priest wrote a farewell message to the girl and signed it affectionately "From Your Valentine," a phrase that lives on even to today. He was executed on February 14th, 273 AD in Rome. The Martyrology says, "At Rome, on the Flaminian Way, the heavenly birthday of the blessed martyr Valentine, a priest. After performing many miraculous cures and giving much wise counsel he was beaten and beheaded under Claudius Caesar."
The church in which he is buried existed already in the fourth century and was the first sanctuary Roman pilgrims visited upon entering the Eternal City.
The valentine has become the universal symbol of friendship and affection shared each anniversary of the priest's execution -- St. Valentine's Day. Valentine has also become the patron of engaged couples.
Patron: Affianced couples; against fainting; bee keepers; betrothed couples; engaged couples; epilepsy; fainting; greeting card manufacturers; greetings; happy marriages; love; lovers; plague; travelers; young people.
Symbols: Birds; roses; bishop with a crippled or epileptic child at his feet; bishop with a rooster nearby; bishop refusing to adore an idol; bishop being beheaded; priest bearing a sword; priest holding a sun; priest giving sight to a blind girl.
Things to Do:
Saints Cyril, Monk, and Methodius, Bishop
People brought to him a deaf man. (Mark 7:32)
“Come here; you’ve got to see this!” You’ve probably had someone say this and tug you along to witness something amazing. Or a friend calls you to tell you that something you need is on sale at the store. “Quick! Get over there while you can still get it!” So it seems to have been with these people in the Decapolis, hurrying the deaf man up to Jesus. “Quick, he’s here now. Let’s get him to heal you!” Being deaf, the man hadn’t heard anything about Jesus. Being impeded in speech, he hadn’t said anything about wanting to go to Jesus for healing. He just stood there as his friends begged Jesus to heal him.
Still, for all his impediments, this man didn’t resist Jesus. He went along with him away from the crowd. He was open to finding out what would happen. The results—complete restoration of his hearing and speech—tell us that the man’s limited understanding of the whole situation didn’t keep Jesus from working a miracle. Healing doesn’t depend absolutely on whether we think we can be healed or not. It’s not a matter, or a sign, of our faith. We can be disposed to receive healing, or we can be unsure; we can be full of faith, or we can have our doubts. It doesn’t all depend on us.
Know this: whether you’re eager or baffled, believing or skeptical, Jesus can heal. He can work wonders, even in the face of the things we consider obstacles. Sometimes, as in the case of this deaf man, he does things that cause exceeding astonishment. Sometimes we ask and feel let down because we aren’t healed exactly as we imagined. But God is sovereign, and we are children whom he loves. Jesus said that we are to ask, and it will be given to us.
So ask! Imitate this deaf man. Be present to Jesus. Be open to what happens—because if you ask, something will happen. Be open, and keep looking for the gift God has for you, especially if you haven’t seen precisely what you are expecting. God is good; he does all things well. He is faithful; he hears you when you call on him. He loves you, and he loves to give you good gifts.
“Jesus, I open my heart to you today. Take me off by myself with you, and heal me.”
1 Kings 11:29-32; 12:19; Psalm 81:10-15
Daily Marriage Tip for February 14, 2014:
Whats the most romantic trip you can take? Perhaps its a trip down memory lane. On this day of love, remember how you met, your first date, your first kiss, your proposal/acceptance, your first night as a married couple
An Act of Hope and Confidence in God
Friday, 14 February 2014 20:30
February 15th is the liturgical memorial of Saint Claude La Colombière, Priest, S.J.
My God, I believe most firmly
that Thou watchest over all who hope in Thee,
and that we can want for nothing
when we rely upon Thee in all things;
therefore I am resolved for the future to have no anxieties,
and to cast all my cares upon Thee.
People may deprive me of worldly goods and of honors;
sickness may take from me my strength
and the means of serving Thee;
I may even lose Thy grace by sin;
but my trust shall never leave me.
I will preserve it to the last moment of my life,
and the powers of hell shall seek in vain to wrestle it from me.
Let others seek happiness in their wealth, in their talents;
let them trust to the purity of their lives,
the severity of their mortifications,
to the number of their good works, the fervor of their prayers;
as for me, O my God, in my very confidence lies all my hope.
“For Thou, O Lord, singularly has settled me in hope.”
This confidence can never be in vain.
“No one has hoped in the Lord and has been confounded.”
I am assured, therefore, of my eternal happiness,
for I firmly hope for it, and all my hope is in Thee.
“In Thee, O Lord, I have hoped; let me never be confounded.”
I know, alas! I know but too well that I am frail and changeable;
I know the power of temptation against the strongest virtue.
I have seen stars fall from heaven, and pillars of firmament totter;
but these things alarm me not.
While I hope in Thee I am sheltered from all misfortune,
and I am sure that my trust shall endure,
for I rely upon Thee to sustain this unfailing hope.
Finally, I know that my confidence cannot exceed Thy bounty,
and that I shall never receive less than I have hoped for from Thee.
Therefore I hope that Thou wilt sustain me against my evil inclinations;
that Thou wilt protect me against the most furious assaults of the evil one,
and that Thou wilt cause my weakness to triumph over my most powerful enemies.
I hope that Thou wilt never cease to love me,
and that I shall love Thee unceasingly.
“In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped; let me never be confounded.”
Saint Claude La Colombière, Priest, S.J.
Memorial of Saints Cyril, monk and Methodius, bishop
Jesus left the district of Tyre and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, into the district of the Decapolis. And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”) And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly. He ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it. They were exceedingly astonished and they said, “He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
Introductory Prayer:Lord, I truly sense your love in my heart. I hope in you, for you have won my confidence by revealing your sacrificial love to me. I love you, Lord, and I wish to be a witness of your love to all.
Petition: Lord, open my heart to your love so I may be a convincing witness to the world that your love exists.
1. Who Would I Be if I Did Not Have the Faith? We can be so familiar with and immersed in our Catholic heritage that we take for granted the truths we have received from our Catholic Church, much like most of us take for granted our ability to hear or speak. Today’s Gospel gives us an opportunity to contemplate a man who from birth did not enjoy either of these common faculties. There are people who cannot embrace Jesus’ revelation not because it isn’t given, but because they are not prepared to receive it. Let us rejoice in the grace we have received and honor it with our fidelity. What type of person would I be (or soon become) if I didn’t have the gift of faith to support, guide or mold my values?
2. Christ Is the Revelation of the Father and His Love: Christ revealed himself to this man, and his power gave him hearing and good speech. “Christ … by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and his love, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear”(Gaudium et Spes, no. 22).Inasmuch as we are deaf to divine revelation we are like this man. Unable to speak the message of the meaning of our lives, unable to give ourselves to God and others, life just passes us by. But if God touches our ears and tongue, if he cures and empowers us with his grace, our lives take on a whole new direction and significance. God does touch our ears and tongue, but we must embrace his grace and purpose in our lives.
3. We Are Witnesses to the World that Love Exists: Our Lord restored to this man the health of his ears and tongue. Christ thus revealed to him his real identity: “He, who is ‘the image of the invisible God’ (Colossians 1:15), is himself the perfect man” (Redemptor Hominis, no. 10). How difficult his life must have been before this revelation! How hard must it have been for him to believe and love! “Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it” (Ibid). With his health restored, the man became an agent of God’s redemption. Who could keep him silent now about this wonderful experience of his Savior he has had? How loved by God this man must have felt that day when Christ restored his health! This man believed and so he speaks! Why am I silent? Do I not know that as a Catholic I am to be a witness to the world that love exists?
Conversation with Christ:
Resolution: Today, I will share an aspect of my faith with a friend or family member.
February 14, 2014
Homily of the Day
There shall be no strange god among you, you shall not worship any alien god, for I the Lord am your God, who led you forth from the land of Egypt. But my people did not listen; Israel did not obey. So I gave them over to their stubbornness and they followed their own counsels. Ps 81: 10-11ab, 12-13
Our lives are filled to the brim. But what is it filled with? Earning a living and making it big? Becoming successful and rich? Being beautiful and popular? Owning the latest and newest gadgets? Buying a new car or a new house? Going on trips to see and be seen? In the midst of living our life to the fullest, where is God in the everyday of our lives? Are we, through our actions and without conscious thoughts, running after and worshipping other gods? Are success, fame and fortune dominating our minds, hearts, and souls? Are we still in touch with what is important in our lives? God? Our family? Our friends? Are we happy with where we are now?
If only my people would listen, if only Israel would walk in my ways, I would quickly subdue their adversaries and turn my hand against their enemies. Ps 81:14-15
Maybe now is a good time to be still and listen. To take stock of our life. To pray and to listen to our Lord. For he knows what is good for us.
|English: Douay-Rheims||Latin: Vulgata Clementina||Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)|
|31.||And again going out of the coasts of Tyre, he came by Sidon to the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis.||Et iterum exiens de finibus Tyri, venit per Sidonem ad mare Galilææ inter medios fines Decapoleos.||και παλιν εξελθων εκ των οριων τυρου και σιδωνος ηλθεν προς την θαλασσαν της γαλιλαιας ανα μεσον των οριων δεκαπολεως|
|32.||And they bring to him one deaf and dumb; and they besought him that he would lay his hand upon him.||Et adducunt ei surdum, et mutum, et deprecabantur eum, ut imponat illi manum.||και φερουσιν αυτω κωφον μογγιλαλον και παρακαλουσιν αυτον ινα επιθη αυτω την χειρα|
|33.||And taking him from the multitude apart, he put his fingers into his ears, and spitting, he touched his tongue:||Et apprehendens eum de turba seorsum, misit digitos suos in auriculas ejus : et exspuens, tetigit linguam ejus :||και απολαβομενος αυτον απο του οχλου κατ ιδιαν εβαλεν τους δακτυλους αυτου εις τα ωτα αυτου και πτυσας ηψατο της γλωσσης αυτου|
|34.||And looking up to heaven, he groaned, and said to him: Ephpheta, which is, Be thou opened.||et suscipiens in cælum, ingemuit, et ait illi : Ephphetha, quod est, Adaperire.||και αναβλεψας εις τον ουρανον εστεναξεν και λεγει αυτω εφφαθα ο εστιν διανοιχθητι|
|35.||And immediately his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke right.||Et statim apertæ sunt aures ejus, et solutum est vinculum linguæ ejus, et loquebatur recte.||και ευθεως διηνοιχθησαν αυτου αι ακοαι και ελυθη ο δεσμος της γλωσσης αυτου και ελαλει ορθως|
|36.||And he charged them that they should tell no man. But the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal did they publish it.||Et præcepit illis ne cui dicerent. Quanto autem eis præcipiebat, tanto magis plus prædicabant :||και διεστειλατο αυτοις ινα μηδενι ειπωσιν οσον δε αυτος αυτοις διεστελλετο μαλλον περισσοτερον εκηρυσσον|
|37.||And so much the more did they wonder, saying: He hath done all things well; he hath made both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.||et eo amplius admirabantur, dicentes : Bene omnia fecit : et surdos fecit audire, et mutos loqui.||και υπερπερισσως εξεπλησσοντο λεγοντες καλως παντα πεποιηκεν και τους κωφους ποιει ακουειν και τους αλαλους λαλειν|
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Parents for Life
Love both the parent and the child.
They never asked us to vote for Obama. I have a string of links to Bishops who urged us NOT to vote for Obama.