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Daily Catholic Question

What is Mary's relationship to Catholics living today?

Before the Second Vatican Council, Catholics kept Mary on a pedestal, emphasizing her privileged uniqueness. We were so busy craning our necks to look up to her that we missed out on her presence at our side. But the Fathers of Vatican II offered new advice. Paraphrasing Lumen Gentium, they said: "Look again. Mary is a human being who, like us, needed to be redeemed by her Son. She is a model who goes before us, guiding our pilgrimage of faith. She assures us that we too are capable of fidelity to God's call."

We know from Mary's experience as well as our own that hope does not immunize us against doubt, suffering or spiritual setbacks. Her humanity left her vulnerable to misunderstanding Jesus' mission, enduring the stress of his conflicts with religious authorities, bearing the devastation of his humiliating death. Can any parent who has witnessed his or her child's violent death doubt that the green shoots of hope in Mary's heart were trampled and nearly extinguished at Calvary? Yet she endured. And when the early Church gathered to pray for the Spirit's coming, she poured out that same heart in confident expectation.

If we see ourselves as God's works of art ("I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made;/Wonderful are your works"-Ps 139:14), we will honor Mary as God's masterwork. We will treasure the mystery by which she is "potentially every woman, every man." We will emulate her interiority, her prayerfulness, her trust, her hope. For she is an accessible model for all ages.


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Saturday, July 6, 2013
Daily Catholic Question for 7/5/2013 Daily Catholic Question for 7/7/2013


Cyril and Methodius: 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. 
<p>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. </p><p>A decisive change in their lives occurred when the Duke of Moravia (present-day Czech Republic) 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. </p><p>Cyril’s first work was to invent an alphabet, still used in some Eastern liturgies. His followers probably formed the Cyrillic alphabet (for example, modern Russian) from Greek capital letters. Together they translated the Gospels, the psalter, Paul’s letters and the liturgical books into Slavonic, and composed a Slavonic liturgy, highly irregular then. </p><p>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. </p><p>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. </p><p>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. </p><p>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. </p><p>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).</p> American Catholic Blog This is the beauty of self-giving love: Men and women, driven by love, freely choose to give up their autonomy, to limit their freedom, by committing themselves to the good of the spouse. Love is so powerful that it impels them to want to surrender their will to their beloved in this profound way.

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