Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Prayer to St Valentine

O glorious advocate and protector,
St Valentine,
look with pity upon our wants,
hear our requests,
attend to our prayers,
relieve by your intercession the miseries
under which we labour,
and obtain for us the divine blessing,
that we may be found worthy to join you
in praising the Almighty for all
eternity: through the merits of
Our Lord Jesus Christ.



Memorial of Saint Cyril, monk, and Saint Methodius, Bishop

Jas 1:12-18

Blessed is he who perseveres in temptation,
for when he has been proven he will receive the crown of life
that he promised to those who love him.
No one experiencing temptation should say,
"I am being tempted by God";
for God is not subject to temptation to evil,
and he himself tempts no one.
Rather, each person is tempted when lured and enticed by his desire.
Then desire conceives and brings forth sin,
and when sin reaches maturity it gives birth to death.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers and sisters:
all good giving and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.
He willed to give us birth by the word of truth
that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 94:12-13a, 14-15, 18-19

R. Blessed the man you instruct, O Lord.

Blessed the man whom you instruct, O LORD,
whom by your law you teach,
Giving him rest from evil days.

R. Blessed the man you instruct, O Lord.

For the LORD will not cast off his people,
nor abandon his inheritance;
But judgment shall again be with justice,
and all the upright of heart shall follow it.

R. Blessed the man you instruct, O Lord.

When I say, "My foot is slipping,"
your mercy, O LORD, sustains me;
When cares abound within me,
your comfort gladdens my soul.

R. Blessed the man you instruct, O Lord.

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?"


February 14

Sts. Cyril and Methodius (d. 869; d. 884)

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 (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.

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.

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.

The Frankish clergy, still smarting, continued their accusations, and 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).

St. Valentine (d. 270)

Valentine was a holy priest in Rome, who, with St. Marius and his family, assisted the martyrs in the persecution under Claudius II. He was apprehended, and sent by the emperor to the prefect of Rome, who, on finding all his promises to make him renounce his faith ineffectual, commanded him to be beaten with clubs, and afterwards, to be beheaded, which was executed on February 14, about the year 270.

Pope Julius I is said to have built a church near Ponte Mole to his memory, which for a long time gave name to the gate now called Porta del Popolo, formerly, Porta Valetini. The greatest part of his relics are now in the church of St. Praxedes. His name is celebrated as that of an illustrious martyr in the sacramentary of St. Gregory, the Roman Missal of Thomasius, in the calendar of F. Fronto and that of Allatius, in Bede, Usuard, Ado, Notker and all other martyrologies on this day. To abolish the heathens lewd superstitious custom of boys drawing the names of girls, in honor of their goddess Februata Juno, on the fifteenth of this month, several zealous pastors substituted the names of saints in billets given on this day.


O Lord, open my lips.
And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 66 (67)

Come, let us worship Christ, the prince of shepherds.

– Come, let us worship Christ, the prince of shepherds.

O God, take pity on us and bless us,
and let your face shine upon us,
so that your ways may be known across the world,
and all nations learn of your salvation.

– Come, let us worship Christ, the prince of shepherds.

Let the peoples praise you, O God,
let all the peoples praise you.
Let the nations be glad and rejoice,
for you judge the peoples with fairness
and you guide the nations of the earth.

– Come, let us worship Christ, the prince of shepherds.

Let the peoples praise you, O God,
let all the peoples praise you.
The earth has produced its harvest:
may God, our God, bless us.
May God bless us,
may the whole world revere him.

– Come, let us worship Christ, the prince of shepherds.

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.

– Come, let us worship Christ, the prince of shepherds.


O light of light, O Dayspring bright,
Co-equal in thy Father’s light:
Assist us, as with prayer and psalm
Thy servants break the nightly calm.
All darkness from our minds dispel,
And turn to flight the hosts of hell:
Bid sleepfulness our eyelids fly,
Lest overwhelmed in sloth we lie.
Jesu, thy pardon, kind and free,
Bestow on us who trust in thee:
And as thy praises we declare,
O with acceptance hear our prayer.
O Father, that we ask be done,
Through Jesus Christ, thine only Son,
Who, with the Holy Ghost and thee,
Doth live and reign eternally.

Psalm 36 (37)
The fate of the evil and the righteous

Commit your life to the Lord, and he will act on your behalf.

Do not envy the wicked;
do not be jealous of those that do evil.
They will dry up as quickly as hay;
they will wither like the grass.
Put your trust in the Lord and do good,
and your land and habitation will be secure.
Take your delight in the Lord,
and he will give you what your heart desires.
Entrust your journey to the Lord, and hope in him:
and he will act.
He will make your uprightness shine like the light,
your judgement like the sun at noon.
Take your rest in the Lord, and hope in him:
do not envy the one who thrives in his own way,
the man who weaves plots.
Abstain from wrath, abandon anger:
do not envy him who turns to evil,
for those who do evil will be destroyed,
but those on the side of the Lord
will inherit the earth.
A moment yet – and the sinner will be gone:
you will look where he was and find nothing.
But the needy will inherit the land
and delight in abundant peace.

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.

Commit your life to the Lord, and he will act on your behalf.

Psalm 36 (37)

Turn away from evil and do good: the Lord will support the just.

The wicked will plot against the righteous
and gnash his teeth at him;
but the Lord will deride him in his turn,
for the Lord has seen what awaits him.
The wicked have pulled out their swords,
the wicked have drawn their bows,
to throw down the poor and the destitute,
to murder whoever follows the straight path.
But their swords will enter their own hearts,
and their bows will splinter.
For the righteous, the little they have is better
than the abundant wealth of the wicked.
The limbs of the wicked will be broken
while the Lord gives his strength to the just.
The Lord knows when the day of the perfect will come;
and their inheritance will be eternal.
They will not be troubled in evil times,
and in times of famine they will have more than enough.
For the wicked will perish:
the enemies of the Lord will be like the flowers of the fields,
and like smoke they will vanish away.
The wicked man borrows and does not return;
but the righteous takes pity and gives.
The blessed ones of the Lord will inherit the earth,
but those whom he curses will be cut off.
It is the Lord who strengthens the steps of man
and chooses his path.
Even if he trips he will not fall flat,
for the Lord is holding his hand.
I was young and I have grown old,
but I have not seen the righteous man abandoned
nor his children seeking for bread.
All day long he takes pity and lends,
and his seed will be blessed.
Shun evil and do good,
and you will live for ever.
For the Lord loves right judgement,
and will not abandon his chosen ones.
The unjust will be destroyed for ever,
and the seed of the wicked will be cut off,
but the righteous will inherit the earth
and live there from age to age.

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.

Turn away from evil and do good: the Lord will support the just.

Psalm 36 (37)

Wait for the Lord, keep to his way.

The mouth of the righteous will speak wisdom,
and his tongue will utter right judgement.
The law of his God is in his heart
and his steps will not stumble.
The wicked man watches the just
and seeks to kill him;
but the Lord will rescue the just man from his hands
and not condemn the just in the time of judgement.
Put your hope in the Lord and follow his paths,
and he will raise you up and make the land your inheritance,
let you watch as the wicked are cut off.
I have seen the sinner triumph,
flourish like a green cedar,
but he is gone, he is there no longer:
I have looked for him but have not found him.
Preserve innocence, follow uprightness:
for the future belongs to the man of peace.
The unrighteous will be destroyed altogether,
their posterity will be cut off.
The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord,
and their protection in time of trouble.
The Lord will come to their help and free them,
rescue them from the wicked and save them,
because they have put their trust in him.

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.

Wait for the Lord, keep to his way.

Teach me goodness and discernment and knowledge;
– for I trust in your commands.

Proverbs 8:1-5,12-36

Does Wisdom not call meanwhile?
Does Discernment not lift up her voice?
On the hilltop, on the road,
at the crossways, she takes her stand;
beside the gates of the city,
at the approaches to the gates she cries aloud,
‘O men! I am calling to you;
my cry goes out to the sons of men.
You ignorant ones! Study discretion;
and you fools, come to your senses!
‘I, Wisdom, am mistress of discretion,
the inventor of lucidity of thought.
Good advice and sound judgement belong to me,
perception to me, strength to me.
(To fear the Lord is to hate evil.)
I hate pride and arrogance,
wicked behaviour and a lying mouth.
I love those who love me;
those who seek me eagerly shall find me.
By me monarchs rule
and princes issue just laws;
by me rulers govern,
and the great impose justice on the world.
With me are riches and honour,
lasting wealth and justice.
The fruit I give is better than gold, even the finest,
the return I make is better than pure silver.
I walk in the way of virtue,
in the paths of justice,
enriching those who love me,
filling their treasuries.
‘The Lord created me when his purpose first unfolded,
before the oldest of his works.
From everlasting I was firmly set,
from the beginning, before earth came into being.
The deep was not, when I was born,
there were no springs to gush with water.
Before the mountains were settled,
before the hills, I came to birth;
before he made the earth, the countryside,
or the first grains of the world’s dust.
When he fixed the heavens firm, I was there,
when he drew a ring on the surface of the deep,
when he thickened the clouds above,
when he fixed fast the springs of the deep,
when he assigned the sea its boundaries
– and the waters will not invade the shore –
when he laid down the foundations of the earth,
I was by his side, a master craftsman,
delighting him day after day,
ever at play in his presence,
at play everywhere in his world,
delighting to be with the sons of men.
‘And now, my sons, listen to me;
listen to instruction and learn to be wise,
do not ignore it.
Happy those who keep my ways!
Happy the man who listens to me,
who day after day watches at my gates
to guard the portals.
For the man who finds me finds life,
he will win favour from the Lord;
but he who does injury to me does hurt to his own soul,
all who hate me are in love with death.’


The Lord created me at the beginning of his works, before all else that he made, long ago.

When all things began, the Word already was. The Word dwelt with God; and what God was, the Word was, before all else that he made, long ago.

From an Old Slavonic Life of Constantine

Build up your church and gather all into unity

Constantine, already burdened by many hardships, became ill. At one point during his extended illness, he experienced a vision of God and began to sing this verse: “My spirit rejoiced and my heart exulted because they told me we shall go into the house of the Lord.”

Afterward he remained dressed in the vestments that were to be venerated later, and rejoiced for an entire day, saying: “From now on, I am not the servant of the emperor or of any man on earth, but of almighty God alone. Before, I was dead, now I am alive and I shall live for ever. Amen.”

The following day, he assumed the monastic habit and took the religious name Cyril. He lived the life of a monk for fifty days.

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.

The Patriarch commanded all those in Rome, both the Greeks and Romans, to gather for his funeral. They were to chant over him together and carry candles; they were to celebrate his funeral as if he had been a pope. This they did.


To your friends the prophets you said, I have exalted one chosen from the people. I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him, and my hand shall always be with him.

I will give you shepherds after my own heart, and these shall feed you on knowledge and discretion; with my holy oil I have anointed him, and my hand shall always be with him.

Let us pray.

Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius were your instruments, Lord,
in bringing the light of the gospel to the Slavonic peoples.
May we take your word into our hearts
and be at one in professing the true faith.
We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.

Let us bless the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.