Thought for the Day – 22 November – The Memorial of St Cecilia (died 3rd Century) Virgin Martyr
For the early Christians, their faith was an amazing revelation that brought light and joy into a world of gloom and uncertainty. It is should not be difficult for us to truly realise how startling this must’ve been in those pagan times, for how different are these times of ours, which seem to be the return of barbarism. We should reflect on what the faith means to us now, in our modern world and perhaps, we will begin to understand this stupendous courage and wonderful joy of the martyrs.
Quote of the Day – 22 November – The Memorial of St Cecilia (died 3rd Century) Virgin Martyr – Patron of Musicians
Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of the faithful!…Psalm 149:1
Let us sing to the Lord, a song of love!
“Sing to the Lord a new song, His praise is in the assembly of the saints. We are urged to sing a new song to the Lord, as new men who have learned a new song. A song is a thing of joy, more profoundly, it is a thing of love. Anyone, therefore, who has learned to love the new life has learned to sing a new song and the new song reminds us of our new life. The new man, the new song, the new covenant, all belong to the one kingdom of God and so the new man will sing a new song and will belong to the new covenant.
There is not one who does not love something, but the question is, what to love. The psalms do not tell us not to love but to choose the object of our love. But how can we choose unless we are first chosen? We cannot love unless someone has loved us first. Listen to the apostle John: We love Him, because He first loved us. The source of man’s love for God can only be found in the fact that God loved him first. He has given us Himself as the object of our love and He has also given us its source. What this source is you may learn more clearly from the apostle Paul who tells us: The love of God has been poured into our hearts. This love is not something we generate ourselves, it comes to us through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Since we have such an assurance, then, let us love God with the love He has given us. As John tells us more fully. God is love and whoever dwells in love dwells in God and God in him. It is not enough to say, Love is from God. Which of us would dare to pronounce the words of Scripture – God is love? He alone could say it who knew what it was to have God dwelling within him. God offers us a short route to the possession of Himself. He cries out – Love me and you will have me, for you would be unable to love me if you did not possess me already.
My dear brothers and sons, fruit of the true faith, holy seed of heaven, all you who have been born again in Christ and whose life is from above, listen to me, or rather, listen to the Holy Spirit saying through me: Sing to the Lord a new song. Look, you tell me, I am singing. Yes indeed, you are singing, you are singing clearly, I can hear you. But make sure that your life does not contradict your words. Sing with your voices, your hearts, your lips and your lives – Sing to the Lord a new song!
Now it is your unquestioned desire to sing of Him whom you love but you ask me how to sing His praises. You have heard the words – Sing to the Lord a new song and you wish to know what praises to sing. The answer is – His praise is in the assembly of the saints, it is in the singers themselves . lf you desire to praise Him, then live what you express. Live good lives and you yourselves, will be His praise.”
From a sermon by Saint Augustine (354-430), Father & Doctor – (Sermo 34.1-3, 5-6; CCL 41, 424-426) …Vatican.va
One Minute Reflection – 22 November – Today’s Gospel: Luke 19:41-44, Thursday of the Thirty-third week in Ordinary Time, Year B and The Memorial of St Cecilia (died 3rd Century) Virgin Martyr
And when he drew near and saw the city he wept over it, saying, “Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace!”…Luke 19:41-42
REFLECTION – “I leaned out of the window… The sun was beginning to rise. A great peace reigned over nature. Everything began to wake up – earth, sky, birds. Everything began, little by little, to wake up under God’s order. Everything obeyed His divine laws without complaint or sudden spurts, gently, smoothly, the light as much as the darkness, the blue sky as much as the hard earth covered with morning dew. How good God is, I thought! There is peace everywhere except in the human heart.
And delicately, gently, by means of this sweet and peaceful dawn, God taught me, too, to obey – a very great peace filled my soul. I thought how God alone is good, how all is ordained by Him, how nothing is of importance in what people do or say and how, where I am concerned, there must be nothing else in the world but God. God who will arrange everything for my good. God who causes the sun to rise each morning, who makes the ice melt, who cause the birds to sing and changes the clouds of heaven in a thousand soft colours. God who offers me a little corner on this earth for prayer, who gives me a little corner in which to wait for what I hope.
God is so good to me that, in the silence, He speaks to my heart and teaches me, little by little, sometimes in tears, always with the cross, to detach myself from creatures, not to look for perfection except in Him and showing me Mary and saying to me : “Here is the only perfect creature, you will find in her the love and charity you fail to find in men. What are you complaining about, Brother Raphael? Love me; suffer with me, it is I, Jesus!”... St Raphael Arnaiz Baron (1911-1938)
PRAYER – Lord our God, in Your mercy listen to our prayers! Teach us the peace of Your love. Guide us in the ways of Your Commandments. Let the path laid out by Your Son, be our Light and our Joy. Grant that by the prayers of Your Martyr, St Cecilia and all Your Saints, we may receive strength for our journey. Through Jesus our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God for all eternity, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 22 November – My God, My Hope is in You
My God, My Hope is in You By St Claude de la Colombière, SJ (1641-1682)
Loving and tender Providence of my God,
into Your hands I commend my spirit,
to You I abandon my hopes and fears,
my desires and repugnances,
my temporal and eternal prospects.
To You I commit the wants of my perishable body,
to You I commit the more precious interests of my immortal soul
for whose lot I have nothing to fear
as long as I do not leave Your care.
Though my faults are many, my misery great,
my spiritual poverty extreme,
my hope in You surpasses all.
it is superior to my weakness,
greater than my difficulties, stronger than death.
Though temptations should assail me, I will hope in You,
though I break my resolutions,
I will look to You confidently for grace to keep them at last.
though You should ask me to die, even then I will trust in You,
for You are my father, my God, the support of my salvation.
You are my kind, compassionate and indulgent parent,
and I am Your devoted child,
who casts myself into Your arms and begs Your blessing.
I put my trust in You
and so trusting, shall not be confounded.
Saint of the Day – 22 November – St Cecilia (died 3rd Century) Virgin & Martyr – Patronages: Hymns, musicians, poets, City of Albi in France, Mar del Plata, Argentina, Academy of Music in Rome, chastity and purity, composers, musical instrument manufacturers, 3 Diocese, City of Acquasparta, Italy. St Cecilia, is the Patroness of Musicians because it is written that as the musicians played at her wedding she “sang in her heart to the Lord”.
With many of the early church martyrs, there are often stories and legends but not much historical information. Saint Cecilia probably lived in the third century and tradition says she died about 177 – 230 AD. Although details of her life may be unknown to us, Saint Cecilia was one of the most revered early virgin martyrs of Rome, as evidenced by her name appearing in the Roman Canon of the Mass (Eucharistic Prayer 1). She is one of the seven women commemorated by name in the Roman Canon. There is evidence of a church named in her honour dating to the late fourth century. A feast day in honour of Saint Cecilia was celebrated as early as 545.
Cecilia was born in a wealthy Roman family and was a Christian by birth. Her family gave her in marriage to Valerius, a pagan nobleman. Cecilia promised to remain a virgin and she was successful in persuading Valerius to respect her virginity on their wedding night. Later, Valerius was converted to Catholicism along with his brother, Tiburtius.
These two brothers dedicated themselves to burying the Christian martyrs, which was illegal. They were arrested and sentenced to death for refusing to renounce their religion.
Cecilia continued the work of converting people to the Christian faith and of burying the Christian dead, even though it was against the law. Hundreds were baptised through her witness and strength of faith. She planned to have her home preserved as a church after her death. Her refusal to worship false gods and her burying of the dead lead to her arrest.
Saint Cecilia was brought to trial and sentenced to death. It took several days for her to die and it is said that she converted many people who came to care for her as she was dying. Saint Cecilia died lying on her right side with her hands crossed in prayer. The position of her fingers—three extended on her right hand and one on the left—were her final silent profession of faith in the Holy Trinity, Three Persons in one God. Saint Cecilia was buried in the Catacomb of Saint Callistus.
In the Middle Ages, Saint Cecilia became a very popular saint. There is a story that Saint Cecilia was said to have heard heavenly music inside her heart when she was forced to marry the pagan Valerian. During her wedding, Cecilia sat and sang to God in her heart. Thus, she was declared to be the patron of musicians. Musical compositions, poems, art, and festivals have grown out of this story.
A few examples of the many artistic works about Saint Cecilia:
The first record of a music festival in her honor was held at Évreux in Normandy in 1570.
Chaucer commemorates Saint Cecilia in his “Second Nun’s Tale.”
John Dryden’s poem “A Song for Saint Cecilia’s Day” was set to music by Handel in his “Ode for Saint Cecilia’s Day.”
Charles Gounod composed the Saint Cecilia Mass.
Benjamin Britten composed the “Hymn to Saint Cecilia.”
Saint Cecilia reminds us of the ways that our music and art can lead us to praise God.
The Sisters of Saint Cecilia, religious sisters, shear the lambs’ wool used to make the palliums of new metropolitan archbishops. The lambs are raised by the Cistercian Trappist Fathers of the Tre Fontane (Three Fountains) Abbey in Rome. The lambs are blessed by the Pope every year on 21 January, the Feast of the martyr Saint Agnes. The pallia are given by the Pope to the new metropolitan archbishops on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, 29 June.
St Cecilia’s body was exhumed in the 1599 and is the first instance in the Church of a saint being incorrupt. Her remains are located at the Church of St Cecilia in the Trastevere region of Rome, where a beautiful Statue depicting the position in which her body lay as she died by Stefano Maderno (1600), one of the most famous examples of Baroque sculpture. The pavement in front of the statue encloses a marble slab with Maderno’s sworn statement that he has recorded the body as he saw it when the tomb was opened in 1599. The statue depicts the three axe strokes described in the 5th-century account of her martyrdom. It also is meant to underscore the incorruptibility of her body, which miraculously still had congealed blood after centuries,
St Amphilochius of Iconium
St Ananias of Arbela
St Benignus of Milan
St Christian of Auxerre
St Dayniolen the Younger
St Mark of Antioch
St Maurus of North Africa
Bl Pedro Esqueda Ramirez
St Pragmatius of Autun
St Sabinian the Abbot
Bl Salvatore Lilli
Stephen of Antioch
Bl Tommaso Reggio
Apostles of Bulgaria – 7 saints
Martyrs of Armenia – 8 beati: A group of eight Franciscans martyred in the region of Mujuk-Dersi, Armenia (modern Turkey) by invading Islamic Turks who tortured them, demanded they convert, and murdered them when they did not. They were
• Baldji Oghlou Ohannes
• David Oghlou David
• Dimbalac Oghlou Wartavar
• Geremia Oghlou Boghos
• Khodianin Oghlou Kadir
• Kouradji Oghlou Tzeroum
• Salvatore Lilli
• Toros Oghlou David
They were martyred on 22 November 1895 in Mujuk-Dersi, Armenia (in modern Turkey) and Beatified on 3 October 1982 by St Pope John Paul II.
Martyrs of England, Scotland and Wales – 85 beati: 85 English, Scottish and Welsh Catholics who were martyred during the persecutions by Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries. They are commemorated together on 22 November.
• Blessed Alexander Blake • Blessed Alexander Crow • Blessed Antony Page • Blessed Arthur Bell • Blessed Charles Meehan • Blessed Christopher Robinson • Blessed Christopher Wharton • Blessed Edmund Duke • Blessed Edmund Sykes • Blessed Edward Bamber • Blessed Edward Burden • Blessed Edward Osbaldeston • Blessed Edward Thwing • Blessed Francis Ingleby • Blessed George Beesley • Blessed George Douglas • Blessed George Errington • Blessed George Haydock • Blessed George Nichols • Blessed Henry Heath • Blessed Henry Webley • Blessed Hugh Taylor • Blessed Humphrey Pritchard • Blessed John Adams • Blessed John Bretton • Blessed John Fingley • Blessed John Hambley • Blessed John Hogg • Blessed John Lowe • Blessed John Norton • Blessed John Sandys • Blessed John Sugar • Blessed John Talbot • Blessed John Thules • Blessed John Woodcock • Blessed Joseph Lambton • Blessed Marmaduke Bowes • Blessed Matthew Flathers • Blessed Montfort Scott • Blessed Nicholas Garlick • Blessed Nicholas Horner • Blessed Nicholas Postgate • Blessed Nicholas Woodfen • Blessed Peter Snow • Blessed Ralph Grimston • Blessed Richard Flower • Blessed Richard Hill • Blessed Richard Holiday • Blessed Richard Sergeant • Blessed Richard Simpson • Blessed Richard Yaxley • Blessed Robert Bickerdike • Blessed Robert Dibdale • Blessed Robert Drury • Blessed Robert Grissold • Blessed Robert Hardesty • Blessed Robert Ludlam • Blessed Robert Middleton • Blessed Robert Nutter • Blessed Robert Sutton • Blessed Robert Sutton • Blessed Robert Thorpe • Blessed Roger Cadwallador • Blessed Roger Filcock • Blessed Roger Wrenno • Blessed Stephen Rowsham • Blessed Thomas Atkinson • Blessed Thomas Belson • Blessed Thomas Bullaker • Blessed Thomas Hunt • Blessed Thomas Palaser • Blessed Thomas Pilcher • Blessed Thomas Pormort • Blessed Thomas Sprott • Blessed Thomas Watkinson • Blessed Thomas Whitaker • Blessed Thurstan Hunt • Blessed William Carter • Blessed William Davies • Blessed William Gibson • Blessed William Knight • Blessed William Lampley • Blessed William Pike • Blessed William Southerne • Blessed William Spenser • Blessed William Thomson •
22 November 1987 by St Pope John Paul II.