Tuesday, November 22, 2016

St. Cecilia

A very special saint in My Domestic Church as we are all musicians!


Prayer to St. Cecilia
O gentle Cecilia, sweet voice and melody of the Heart of Jesus. We come to you to beg your assistance. Pray for us Cecilia, teach us to sing to glories of God and also for the Glory of God. Give us the voice to sing the "Ave" as you did at the hour of your martyrdom. Pray for us o martyr with a singing heart. Amen.

From the First Eucharistic prayer:

Remember, Lord, those who have died and have gone before us marked with the sign of faith, especially those for whom we now pray, {names deceased loved ones whom the celebrant or parishioner wishes to offer before God}. May these, and all who sleep in Christ, find in your presence light, happiness, and peace. [Through Christ our Lord. Amen.]

For ourselves, too, we ask some share in the fellowship of your apostles and martyrs, with John the Baptist, Stephen, Matthias, Barnabas, [Ignatius, Alexander, Marcellinus, Peter, Felicity, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia, Anastasia] and all the saints. Though we are sinners, we trust in your mercy and love. Do not consider what we truly deserve, but grant us your forgiveness. Through Christ our Lord.


From the Office of Readings:
Sing to him a new song, sing to him with joyful melody. Every one of us tries to discover how to sing to God. You must sing to him, but you must sing well. He does not want your voice to come harshly to his ears, so sing well, brothers! If you were asked, “Sing to please this musician,” you would not like to do so without having taken some instruction in music, because you would not like to offend an expert in the art.

 An untrained listener does not notice the faults a musician would point out to you. Who, then, will offer to sing well for God, the great artist whose discrimination is faultless, whose attention is on the minutest detail, whose ear nothing escapes? When will you be able to offer him a perfect performance that you will in no way displease such a supremely discerning listener? See how he himself provides you with a way of singing. Do not search for words, as if you could find a lyric which would give God pleasure. Sing to him “with songs of joy.” This is singing well to God, just singing with songs of joy. But how is this done? You must first understand that words cannot express the things that are sung by the heart.

 Take the case of people singing while harvesting in the fields or in the vineyards or when any other strenuous work is in progress. Although they begin by giving expression to their happiness in sung words, yet shortly there is a change. As if so happy that words can no longer express what they feel, they discard the restricting syllables. They burst out into a simple sound of joy, of jubilation. Such a cry of joy is a sound signifying that the heart is bringing to birth what it cannot utter in words. Now, who is more worthy of such a cry of jubilation than God himself, whom all words fail to describe? If words will not serve, and yet you must not remain silent, what else can you do but cry out for joy? Your heart must rejoice beyond words, soaring into an immensity of gladness, unrestrained by syllabic bonds. Sing to him with songs of joy.


From Catholic Culture:
St. Cecilia
Cecilia was so highly venerated by the ancient Roman Church that her name was placed in the Canon of the Mass. Already in the fourth century there was a church of St. Cecilia in Trastevere, erected on the site where her home had stood. Her martyrdom probably occurred during the reign of Emperor Alexander Severus, about the year 230. In 1599 her grave was opened and her body found in a coffin of cypress wood. It lay incorrupt, as if she had just breathed forth her soul. Stephen Maderna, who often saw the body, chiseled a statue that resembled the body as closely as possible. Since the Middle Ages, Cecilia has been honored as patroness of Church music, a practice having its source in a false application of a passage from the Office (cantantibus organis).
Apart from the fact of her martyrdom, we know practically nothing about her that is historically genuine. Among other details the breviary offers the following:

Cecilia led a life of prayer and meditation and had vowed lifelong virginity, but a youth by the name of Valerian, relying upon the approval of her parents, hoped to marry her. When the wedding night arrived, she confided to Valerian, "There is a secret, Valerian, I wish to tell you. I have as a lover an angel of God who jealously guards my body." Valerian promised to believe in Christ if he would be enabled to see that angel. Cecilia explained how such was impossible without baptism, and Valerian consented to be baptized. After he was baptized by Pope Urban and had returned "He found Cecilia in her little room lost in prayer, and next to her the angel of the Lord was standing. When Valerian saw the angel, he was seized with great terror." The angel handed to them a bouquet of fiery red roses and snow-white lilies as a reward for Cecilia's love of chastity, a bouquet that would not wither, yet would be visible only to those who love chastity. As a further favor Valerian besought the conversion of his brother Tiburtius.

Upon arriving to congratulate the newlyweds, Tiburtius was astounded by the unspeakably beautiful roses and lilies. As soon as he was informed regarding their origin, he too asked for the waters of baptism. "St. Cecilia said to Tiburtius: Today I acknowledge you as a brother-in-law, because the love of God has made you despise the idols. Just as the love of God gave me your brother as a spouse, so it has given you to me as a brother in-law." When Almachius, the prefect, heard of the conversions, he ordered Maximus, his officer, to arrest and imprison all of them. Before being put to death, they instructed Maximus and his family, and baptized them during the night preceding execution.

At dawn Cecilia roused the two brothers to struggle heroically for Christ, as the glow of morning disappeared, Cecilia called: "Arise, soldiers of Christ, throw away the works of darkness and put on the armor of light." Cecilia pursued her victory as the soldiers willingly listened, "We believe that Christ is the true Son of God, who has chosen such a servant." Led before the prefect, she professed her faith in Christ, "We profess His holy Name and we will not deny Him."

In order to avoid further show, the prefect commanded her to be suffocated in the baths. She remained unharmed and prayed, "I thank You, Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, that through Your Son the fire was extinguished at my side." Beheading was next in order. The executioner made three attempts (the law prohibited more) and let her lie in her blood. She lived for three days


St. Cecilia Story


Saint Cecilia: Patron Saint of Church Music: "Along with St. Catherine, St. Cecilia is considered one of the muses of poetic art. This fact helps to explain why she so often appears in art. Another reason St. Cecilia appears widely in art is because artists like to work with the 'rapt expression' associated with St. Cecilia's facial expressions (Jameson 345). St. Cecilia, however, is confined mainly to Western art. The oldest known art work of St. Cecilia is a rude drawing on the wall of a catacomb at San Lorenzo, which dates from 817 AD (Jameson 349). Another well-known piece of art with Cecilia as the subject is the sculpture 'St. Cecilia Lying Dead.' It was commissioned by Cardinal Sfondrati to commemorate the attitude in which she was found (Jameson 347). Sir Charles Bell describes the statue:The body lies on its side, the limbs a little drawn up; the hands are delicate and fine,--they are not locked, but crossed at the wrist: the arms are stretched out. The drapery is beautifully modelled, and modestly covers the limbs. The head is enveloped in linen, but the general form is seen... (Jameson 347).In the late fifteenth century, St. Cecilia begins to be associated with music. Artists begin to portray her with an organ or singing. Artists also like to paint her with cherubem at this point.

 File:Blanchard, Jacques - Saint Cecilia - 17th c.jpg





 Before her association with music, St. Cecilia was portrayed with a palm in one hand and the gospel often in the other. She was also often depicted wearing either the martyr's crown or a crown of roses (Jameson 351). The most celebrated modern representation of the virgin saint is the painting by Raphael (see right). It was commissioned as the alter piece for her chapel in the church of San Giovanni-in-Monte near Bologne (Jameson 350-51).




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