Can we not see a likeness between the evangelization of Europe by Ss. Cyril and Methodius for the Second Millennium, and the Theology of the Body of John Paul II as translator of Vatican II for the Third Millennium? Consider the following remarks of Benedict XVI yesterday (June 17) and the cultural impact that the TOB as the spearhead of Vatican II is beginning to have. Consider also the paper of Joseph Ratzinger on "The New Evangelization" delivered in the year 2000 where he is calling for an "experience" of God that TOB is all about.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
As we continue our catechesis on the early Christian writers of the East and the West, we now turn to the brothers Saints Cyril and Methodius. They were born in Thessalonica in the early ninth century. Cyril, whose baptismal name was Constantine, was educated at the Byzantine Court, ordained a priest, and became an acclaimed teacher of sacred and profane sciences. When his brother Michael became a monk, taking the name of Methodius, Cyril also decided to embrace the monastic life. Having retrieved the relics of Pope Clement I during a mission in Crimea, the brothers successfully preached Christianity to the people of Moravia. Inventing an alphabet for the Slavonic language, they together with their disciples translated the Liturgy, the Bible and texts of the Fathers, shaping the culture of the Slav peoples and leaving an outstanding example of inculturation. Pope Adrian II received them in Rome and encouraged their missionary work. When Cyril died in Rome in 869, Methodius continued the mission in spite of persecution. After his death in 885, some of his disciples, providentially released from slavery, spread the Gospel in Bulgaria and in "the Land of the Rus". In recognition of the brothers’ vast influence, they were named Co-Patrons of Europe by Pope John Paul II. May we imitate their strong faith and their Christian wisdom as we bear witness to the Gospel in our daily lives!