Praised be Jesus Christ, now and for ever. Amen.
Saint Cecilia whose memory we celebrate today was awise virgin who carefully provided oil for her lamp, so that when her Lordcame, He found her waiting and ready to meet Him with her lamp burningbrightly. We know little about her life, but, from tradition, we know theessence of her heroic holiness. She was a young Roman maiden, who was raised inthe Christian faith.
She, in fact, developed so strongly in her love of ourLord, through prayer and penance, that she resolved to offer her virginity toOur Lord as a perpetual gift, that is, to espouse our Lord alone as herBridegroom for ever. Contrary to her resolve, her father insisted that shemarry a certain pagan by the name of Valerian, but, on the day of her wedding,we are told that "amid the music and rejoicing of the guests, Cecilia satapart, singing to God in her heart and praying for help in her predicament."
One imagines that she was praying the words of thePsalms according to the ancient chant of the Church, which developedorganically from the chant used in Jewish worship and continues today to besingularly suited to the raising of our minds and hearts to the Lord.
The Lord heard her prayer, made even more pure andbeautiful because it was offered to Him in sacred song. Through the help of anangel, her new husband was converted to the faith and received Baptism at thehands of the Bishop of Rome, Pope Urban. Having come to life in Christ throughBaptism, Valerian fully respected Cecilia's virginal consecration. With SaintCecilia, he rapidly grew in pure and selfless love, and soon gave, with her,the supreme witness of total and faithful love of our Lord by accepting a cruelmartyrdom for the faith.
In the life of Saint Cecilia, we see...