St. Methodius I
St. Methodius lived in the ninth century. He was born and raised in Sicily. Methodius had received an excellent education and he wanted a position worthy of it. He decided to sail to Constantinople to seek an important job at the emperor's court. Somewhere in his travels, he met a holy monk who shared with him long, deep conversations. All of the questions about God and eternity came to Methodius' mind. The monk helped him see that to find real joy in life he should give himself to God in religious life. So when Methodius arrived in Constantinople, he passed up the palace and went to a monastery instead.
The Christians were having serious difficulties in Constantinople. Some felt that it was wrong to have religious pictures and icons. They mistakenly thought that people were praying to the picture or statue, not to the person it represented. There were bitter fights and the emperor was involved. He agreed with the people who thought that pictures and statues were evil. St. Methodius, on the other hand, did not agree with the emperor. He understood why Christians needed pictures and statues. He was chosen to go to Rome and ask the pope to straighten out the situation. When he returned, the emperor punished him with a prison term of seven years. Methodius suffered in a dark, damp prison but he wouldn't let his spirit be crushed. He knew that Jesus would use his sufferings to help the Church. Finally, in 842 the emperor died. His wife, Theodora, ruled because her son was a baby. Theodora had a different opinion than her husband, the emperor had. She felt that people should be free to have statues, icons and sacred pictures if they wanted them. Methodius and those who had suffered for a long time were so happy. Now they were free.
One of the people who had made St. Methodius suffer the most was sent into exile by the empress. Then Methodius became the patriarch of Constan-tinople. The people loved him very much.
St. Methodius wrote beautiful essays about theology and the spiritual life. He also wrote lives of saints and poetry.
Four years after becoming patriarch, Metho-dius died. It was June 14, 847.
We face daily choices in life; there are big ones and small ones. In our prayer today, we ask for the gift of wisdom to choose what is best for us for this life and for our life in eternity with God.