Tuesday, February 14, 2017

One loaf with them in the boat

The Greater Love When love occurs, it appears to be something happening only between two people. But thinking of it in that way makes love very small

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The Greater Love

When love occurs, it appears to be something happening only between two people. But thinking of it in that way makes love very small and ordinary. When you truly love, it is the beautiful Being you are seeing and loving, even though your eyes may be looking at another person. If you let love lead you, it will carry you to the greater Love. And your eyes will be opened to many beautiful things.

-from The Divine Spark


"A man who governs his passions is master of his world. We must either command them or be enslaved by them. It is better to be a hammer than an anvil."
— St. Dominic


"Each of us must come to the evening of life. Each of us must enter on eternity. Each of us must come to that quiet, awful time, when we will appear before the Lord of the vineyard, and answer for the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or bad. That, my dear brethren, you will have to undergo. ... It will be the dread moment of expectation when your fate for eternity is in the balance, and when you are about to be sent forth as the companion of either saints or devils, without possibility of change. There can be no change; there can be no reversal. As that judgment decides it, so it will be for ever and ever. Such is the particular judgment. ... when we find ourselves by ourselves, one by one, in his presence, and have brought before us most vividly all the thoughts, words, and deeds of this past life. Who will be able to bear the sight of himself? And yet we shall be obliged steadily to confront ourselves and to see ourselves. In this life we shrink from knowing our real selves. We do not like to know how sinful we are. We love those who prophecy smooth things to us, and we are angry with those who tell us of our faults. But on that day, not one fault only, but all the secret, as well as evident, defects of our character will be clearly brought out. We shall see what we feared to see here, and much more. And then, when the full sight of ourselves comes to us, who will not wish that he had known more of himself here, rather than leaving it for the inevitable day to reveal it all to him!"
— Blessed John Henry Newman, p.101
A Year with the Saints


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Saints Cyril and Methodius monument | Bulgaria

Saints Cyril and Methodius

(Cyril: c. 827 – February 14, 869; Methodius: c. 815 – April 6, 884)

Saints Cyril and Methodius' Story

Because their father was an officer in a part of Greece inhabited by many Slavs, these two Greek brothers ultimately became missionaries, teachers, and patrons of the Slavic peoples.

After a brilliant course of studies, Cyril (called Constantine until he became a monk shortly before his death) refused the governorship of a district such as his brother had accepted among the Slavic-speaking population. Cyril withdrew to a monastery where his brother Methodius had become a monk after some years in a governmental post.

A decisive change in their lives occurred when the Duke of Moravia asked the Eastern Emperor Michael for political independence from German rule and ecclesiastical autonomy (having their own clergy and liturgy). Cyril and Methodius undertook the missionary task.

Cyril's first work was to invent an alphabet, still used in some Eastern liturgies. His followers probably formed the Cyrillic alphabet. Together they translated the Gospels, the psalter, Paul's letters and the liturgical books into Slavonic, and composed a Slavonic liturgy, highly irregular then.

That and their free use of the vernacular in preaching led to opposition from the German clergy. The bishop refused to consecrate Slavic bishops and priests, and Cyril was forced to appeal to Rome. On the visit to Rome, he and Methodius had the joy of seeing their new liturgy approved by Pope Adrian II. Cyril, long an invalid, died in Rome 50 days after taking the monastic habit.

Methodius continued mission work for 16 more years. He was papal legate for all the Slavic peoples, consecrated a bishop and then given an ancient see (now in the Czech Republic). When much of their former territory was removed from their jurisdiction, the Bavarian bishops retaliated with a violent storm of accusation against Methodius. As a result, Emperor Louis the German exiled Methodius for three years. Pope John VIII secured his release.

Because the Frankish clergy, still smarting, continued their accusations, Methodius had to go to Rome to defend himself against charges of heresy and uphold his use of the Slavonic liturgy. He was again vindicated.

Legend has it that in a feverish period of activity, Methodius translated the whole Bible into Slavonic in eight months. He died on Tuesday of Holy Week, surrounded by his disciples, in his cathedral church.

Opposition continued after his death, and the work of the brothers in Moravia was brought to an end and their disciples scattered. But the expulsions had the beneficial effect of spreading the spiritual, liturgical, and cultural work of the brothers to Bulgaria, Bohemia and southern Poland. Patrons of Moravia, and specially venerated by Catholic Czechs, Slovaks, Croatians, Orthodox Serbians and Bulgarians, Cyril and Methodius are eminently fitted to guard the long-desired unity of East and West. In 1980, Pope John Paul II named them additional co-patrons of Europe (with Benedict).


Holiness means reacting to human life with God's love: human life as it is, crisscrossed with the political and the cultural, the beautiful and the ugly, the selfish and the saintly. For Cyril and Methodius much of their daily cross had to do with the language of the liturgy. They are not saints because they got the liturgy into Slavonic, but because they did so with the courage and humility of Christ.

Saints Cyril and Methodius are the Patron Saints of:

Slavic Peoples


Sacred Space
Memorial of Saints Cyril, Monk, and Methodius, Bishop

Reading 1 Gn 6:5-8; 7:1-5, 10

When the LORD saw how great was man's wickedness on earth,
and how no desire that his heart conceived
was ever anything but evil,
he regretted that he had made man on the earth,
and his heart was grieved.

So the LORD said:
"I will wipe out from the earth the men whom I have created,
and not only the men,
but also the beasts and the creeping things and the birds of the air,
for I am sorry that I made them."
But Noah found favor with the LORD.

Then the LORD said to Noah:
"Go into the ark, you and all your household,
for you alone in this age have I found to be truly just.
Of every clean animal, take with you seven pairs,
a male and its mate;
and of the unclean animals, one pair,
a male and its mate;
likewise, of every clean bird of the air, seven pairs,
a male and a female,
and of all the unclean birds, one pair,
a male and a female.
Thus you will keep their issue alive over all the earth.
Seven days from now I will bring rain down on the earth
for forty days and forty nights,
and so I will wipe out from the surface of the earth
every moving creature that I have made."
Noah did just as the LORD had commanded him.

As soon as the seven days were over,
the waters of the flood came upon the earth.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 29:1a and 2, 3ac-4, 3b and 9c-10

R. (11b) The Lord will bless his people with peace.
Give to the LORD, you sons of God,
give to the LORD glory and praise,
Give to the LORD the glory due his name;
adore the LORD in holy attire.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.
The voice of the LORD is over the waters,
the LORD, over vast waters.
The voice of the LORD is mighty;
the voice of the LORD is majestic.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.
The God of glory thunders,
and in his temple all say, "Glory!"
The LORD is enthroned above the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as king forever.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.

Alleluia Jn 14:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord;
and my Father will love him
and we will come to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 8:14-21

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread,
and they had only one loaf with them in the boat.
Jesus enjoined them, "Watch out,
guard against the leaven of the Pharisees
and the leaven of Herod."
They concluded among themselves that
it was because they had no bread.
When he became aware of this he said to them,
"Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread?
Do you not yet understand or comprehend?
Are your hearts hardened?
Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?
And do you not remember,
when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand,
how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?"
They answered him, "Twelve."
"When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand,
how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?"
They answered him, "Seven."
He said to them, "Do you still not understand?"

Meditation: Mark 8:14-21
Saints Cyril, Monk, and Methodius, Bishop (Memorial)

Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear? (Mark 8:18)

Have you ever been looking for something that, it turns out, has been right in front of you all along? Maybe it was your car keys or checkbook. You're almost embarrassed when your spouse points it out to you. How could you have missed it?

In today's Gospel, the disciples miss what—or, rather, who—is right in front of them. This is why Jesus asks, "Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?" (Mark 8:18). They had just seen him multiply bread for four thousand people, and they're still worried about having enough bread!

Like not noticing your car keys, it may seem obvious that the disciples should have turned to Jesus. But let's not be too hard on them. Instead, let's think about how easy it can be to overlook people, especially the people closest to us.

Sometimes we take our loved ones for granted. They're right there in front of us, but it's as if we don't notice them. We may forget to smile, to say, "I love you," or to listen carefully to them. Whether it's a spouse or a child, an aging parent or a dear friend, nobody likes to feel forgotten. Everyone needs to be loved.

This is a good reminder for today's observance of Valentine's Day. In the third century, Emperor Claudius II banned all marriages in Rome so that he could have more single men for his army. Valentine, a bishop, disobeyed Claudius' order and married couples in secret. He was ultimately arrested, beaten, and beheaded. Valentine could have ignored the couples who wanted to marry, but he sacrificed his life in love instead.

Love is our mission too: "God who created man out of love also calls him to love" (CCC, 1604). For us, this call to love starts with those close at hand: our families.

First, ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and ears so that you can notice your family members and their needs. Then find one simple way to show them your love and appreciation. Unlike St. Valentine, you won't be beheaded for washing dishes or giving a hug. Your sacrifices may seem smaller, but they are just as important.

"Jesus, open my eyes and my ears. Teach me to love as you loved—from the heart!"

Genesis 6:5-8; 7:1-5, 10
Psalm 29:1-4, 9-10



From today's 1st Holy Scripture: "...he regretted that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was grieved." Not only were the men filled with evil, but it was so widespread that the Lord saw that the whole land needed cleansing, including animals. Only a select few were to be chosen to continue His will. This shows something very important...God cares. His heart was hurt, He grieved, just like Jesus wept while He walked this earth. He cried. He stressed, He suffered tremendously savage insults and temptations, tortures like no man on earth would ever have to endure, because His heart was so great, and He loved so much. It is always the one that loves more that hurts more, isn't it? God loves more. Shall we continue to hurt Him by our sins? Because modern culture in theology says very little to this effect. They make it seem like God is immune to pain, therefore, none of us should have to suffer. Lies. Lies are evil, because lies are of the devil, and they aim to separate us from God, the love of God, and this hurts God. Yes, He hurts, Love hurts. Because if the Body of Christ hurts, it is the one He is joined with intimately...His Holy Church, and the people He has created.

We pray today "The Lord will bless his people with peace. The God of glory thunders, and in his temple all say, "Glory!" and "The LORD is enthroned above the flood; the LORD is enthroned as king forever."

The floods came and washed away evil. A brother said he was touched to the heart to see an infant baptized this past Sunday. The baby girl was asleep until the waters poured over her head and it seemed she was jolted awake. Her spirit was born in the Lord, the soul. We are joined into His body, His Kingdom at this moment, with a grace. The floods came and wiped away the iniquity.

Yet we fail to see, we forget what we see. It is the case of the disciples being fooled by the leaven of Pharisees, that of Herod, that of being blinded, that of being fooled by lies that begin with a doubt, as the serpent in Genesis. "Something shocking and horrible has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests teach on their own authority;Yet my people like it this way; what will you do when the end comes?" Jeremiah 5:30. People put themselves first...above God. This is backwards. This is evil. This is of the knowledge of evil, this is why Lucifer, Satan was cast from Heaven, and this is why Eve and Adam were cast from the Garden, because they thought they knew better...and it was to their ultimate demise. Fast forward to today. We believe we know so much, we believe we know better, we believe....wrong...the leaven of Pharisees, and of Herod, that put themselves above all. There's a song that says something like "how could I forget you are God". How soon we forget when we fret. How soon we forget, when we sin. How soon we forget that He is in control. At any given moment, a storm can hit, and it causes chaos, and at any given moment too, evil can lurk in and around your place, your ministries, your heart. Be careful of paying too much attention to that leaven that is not from Heaven. Focus on God. Surrender to Him. Noah did, and he was called the fool. Ridiculed and scorned and mocked, he did as God said...and he and his loved ones were saved...those that believe, those not full of themselves.
God, Jesus says "I provide something out of nothing, while you making nothing out of something". Jesus provides a bread that is everlasting...His own body. We turn it into nothing, as if it were nothing with our disbelief. Where is your faith? Where is your light? Where is your love of God!?