14th February – Ss Cyril & Methodius, Patrons of Europe.

cyril-n-methodiusToday is the feast of Saints Cyril & Methodius, two brother missionaries of the 9th century who did much to evangelise the Slavonic peoples. They were nominated patron saints of Europe by St Pope John Paul II.

The greatest goods in terms of the Kingdom are the glory of God and salvation of souls. This was at the heart of St Cyril’s life and Last Words as expressed in today’s Office of Readings. As you read it, make Cyril’s words your own.

When the time came for him to set out from this world to the peace of his heavenly homeland, he prayed to God with his hands outstretched and his eyes filled with tears: “O Lord, my God, you have created the choirs of angels and spiritual powers; you have stretched forth the heavens and established the earth, creating all that exists from nothing. You hear those who obey your will and keep your commands in holy fear. Hear my prayer and protect your faithful people, for you have established me as their unsuitable and unworthy servant.

“Keep them free from harm and the worldly cunning of those who blaspheme you. Build up your Church and gather all into unity. Make your people known for the unity and profession of their faith. Inspire the hearts of your people with your word and your teaching. You called us to preach the Gospel of your Christ and to encourage them to lives and works pleasing to you.

“I now return to you, your people, your gift to me. Direct them with your powerful right hand, and protect them under the shadow of your wings. May all praise and glorify your name, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.”

Once he had exchanged the gift of peace with everyone, he said: “Blessed be God, who did not hand us over to our invisible enemy, but freed us from his snare and delivered us from perdition.” He then fell asleep in the Lord at the age of forty-two.