Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?

Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."

To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."

As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."

February 14: Saints Cyril and Methodius, "Apostles to the Slavs"

Posted by Jacob

O Cyril and Methodius, inspired by God,

You became equal to the Apostles by your life.
Since you were teachers of the Slavs,
Intercede with the Master of all
That He may strengthen all Orthodox peoples in the True Faith,
And that He may grant peace to the world
And great mercy to our souls.

Today, February 14, we celebrate the feast of Saints Cyril (827-869) and Methodius (826-885), brothers, bishops, confessors, and Christian missionaries among the Slavic people. Known as the “Apostles to the Slavs,” these holy brothers created the Glagolitic and Cyrillic alphabets to translate the Scriptures into language that could be understood by the Slavic people. Together with their disciples, they are primarily responsible for the spread of Christianity through modern-day eastern Europe. For their work, in 1980, Pope John Paul II declared Saints Cyril and Methodius co-patrons of Europe, together with Saint Benedict of Nursia.

Methodius and Cyril (born Constantine) were born into a prominent Christian family in Thessalonica. As the area in which they were raised was a popular spot for Slavic people to settle in, traditions tells us that the holy brothers grew up familiar with the Slavic language (Slavonic). While we know their father was a prominent officer in the army, little is known of their young lives. History has recorded that Methodius, the elder brother, rose to the position of an important civil authority, who likely dealt in law and trade. His brother, Cyril, was trained as a scholar, professor, and philosopher who gained renown in Constantinople.

After some years in public service, Methodius grew tired of worldly affairs and retired, seeking out solace and contemplation in a monastery. Eventually, Cyril joined him there, refusing a district to govern, preferring quiet devotion to the Lord. Together they lived in peace until the Byzantine emperor, having received a request for missionaries by the Moravian prince Rastislav, sent the brothers as missionaries to modern-day Ukraine. Being familiar with the language, and well-acquainted with administration and politics, they were the perfect choice for such a mission. And given Rastislav’s desire for independence from Germany, Eastern missionaries (such as Methodius and Cyril) could help him gain independence over Church affairs.

Cyril and Methodius firmly believed that the Liturgy should be celebrated in the native language of the people, for greater inclusion in the Mass—a tradition which continues today. At that time, many were committed to only celebrating Mass in Greek or Latin, but these holy brothers dedicated themselves to proving otherwise. Prior to their departure for Moravia, they created a script for Slavonic (which had not previously existed). Known as Glagolithic, this written script is considered the precursor to Cyrillic (named after Saint Cyril). The creation of this script would allow the translation of Scripture and Liturgy into the language of the people.

Upon their arrival, Cyril immediately began translating the Liturgy into Slavonic. This created anxiety in the German priests, who saw the use of language as the next step to Slavic independence, and they actively worked against the translation. As neither Cyril nor Methodius was ordained a bishop, they traveled to Rome with their candidates for the priesthood to see the pope. After an audience, the pope approved the use of the Slavonic language in services, ordaining the local priests, and securing the presence of Catholicism in the region.

Sadly, Constantine never returned to Moravia. He entered the monastery, taking the name Cyril, and not long after died. Methodius was stricken with grief, and wished for nothing more than live the remainder of his days in the monastery, but honored a promise made to his brother and returned to finish their missionary work. Due to the political upheaval in Moravia, he was forbidden to return there. However, upon his ordination as bishop, he was invited to modern-day Serbia and Croatia, where he assumed the bishopric of Sirmium. There he continued to say Mass and administer baptisms in the native, Slavonic tongue.

Again, falling victim to the anxiety of the German priests and bishops, Saint Methodius was imprisoned, and only released following Moravian independence from German and intervention from the pope. Again, Methodius traveled to Rome, meeting with the Pope, and explaining how important it was to celebrate the Liturgy in the tongue people understood. Instead of condemning him, as the German bishops had hoped, the pope gave him permission to use Slavonic in the Mass, in Scripture reading, and in the office. He also made him head of the hierarchy in Moravia.

Saint Methodius, despite constant criticism and backlash, never stopped translating. It is said that he had translated the Bible and the works of the Church Fathers into Slavonic before his death.

Pope Benedict XVI said of Saints Cyril and Methodius: “Cyril and Methodius are a classic example of what is today referred to with the term "inculturation": Each people should make the revealed message penetrate into their own culture, and express the salvific truth with their own language. This implies a very exacting work of "translation," as it requires finding adequate terms to propose anew the richness of the revealed Word, without betraying it. The two brother saints have left in this sense a particularly significant testimony that the Church continues looking at today to be inspired and guided.” (For the complete text of Pope Benedict’s General Audience, see here).

The work of Saints Cyril and Methodius are a powerful reminder of our role in the celebration of the Liturgy. God speaks to us—to each of us—in a language that we can understand, and based upon that understanding we are called to live the Gospel. We pray today for more active participation, greater comprehension, and the ability to successfully live the Word of God for all to see!

Almighty and everlasting God, who by the power of the Holy Spirit moved your servant Cyril and his brother Methodius to bring the light of the Gospel to a hostile and divided people: Overcome all bitterness and strife among us by the love of Christ, and make us one united family under the banner of the Prince of Peace; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Year 2: Day 45 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Active participation in the Liturgy; Living God’s word.
Requested Intentions: Employment for a son (C); Successful attainment of an important appointed position (J); Recovery from cancer for a friend (Z); For a family’s freedom from sin (M); For a daughter with Diabetes (A); Reconciliation of a marriage (D); Assistance with a legal matter, financial freedom (R); Healing for a friend (M); For a son in medical school (H); Financial assistance (M); Successful employment (N): Freedom from mental illness for a friend (L); For successful marriage (N); For friends having and recovering from surgery; for the reduction of a brain tumor (L); For resolution of a housing crisis (P); For a brother who is struggling financially, for a son who is struggling academically (B); For financial security for a friend (C); Success in business; familial happiness and health (J); Health and recovery of a sister (I); Healing of a father following stroke (S).


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