Miracles and Saints: “What a woman of faith can do”November 22, 2011 No Comments
November 22, 2011 | CatholicDaily.net
(Society of Saints) – Today, 22 Nov 2011, is the happy feast day of St Cecilia, a martyr of the early Church whose name is mentioned in Eucharistic Prayer 1 of the Mass. Although only a woman in those Patrician times, her lively faith brought a great many souls to baptism. To achieve what she did, and to persevere despite the risk of martyrdom shows that she must have had a truly active prayer life.
The scholars dispute about whether she lived in the latter part of the 2nd century or in the early part of the 3rd century. This doesn’t matter a great deal, since what does matter is that God very generously responds when we seek her intercession. Honouring St Cecilia is a joy because she has been rather active in my life and in the lineage of my family. One of the religious in my mother’s line who was born in 1843 took Cecilia’s name in religion a very long time before my mother chose St Cecilia as her Conformation patron saint. In recent times it was with St Cecilia’s intercession that a pipe organ for the new church was obtained, and it has been to St Cecilia that I have turned in seeking the deeper conversion of certain individuals.
From the legends that have come down to us we know that St Cecilia was raised a Christian in Rome. Because she was from a noble family, she was obliged to marry even though her greatest desire was to have Jesus as her only spouse. She seriously fasted and prayed that she might remain chaste in body despite her marriage. Graciously God heard her prayer, and her husband listened to her request and preference. Having believed her story of a powerful angel guardian that he would only see if he sought Baptism, the young man was moved to seek Baptism and when he returned he saw the angel guardian giving him and his newly wedded wife crowns of heavenly flowers. When asked by the angel about what he would like from God’s bounty, his answer was the conversion of his brother. Swiftly this prayer was answered, and the two brothers gave themselves to works of charity, particularly burying the dead.
When people start giving significant amounts of money and goods to the poor, it is soon noticed. The locals certainly noticed the changes in these two brothers, and when the next persecution broke out they were arrested on the suspicion of being Christians. Marytrdom soon followed and St Cecilia buried their bodies. It would be her turn next.
Hauled before the officials, St Cecilia refused to sacrifice to the Roman gods. Killing a woman in public would cause a stir, so she was returned to the bath house attached to her home and they tried to suffocate her with steam and smoke. When the offcials realised that this method of killing her hadn’t worked, they despatched an executioner with an axe. Coming to the bath house the executioner tried to decapitate her with three blows of the axe. He was only partially successful. St Cecilia was left to die a slow and painful death, a death that lingered for three days. During these three days St cecilia arranged that her home would become a church, a place for Christians to gather for Holy Mass. While she was still able to talk she spoke about God and His wonders to all those who came to say goodbye or who came to see how a Christian woman dies. When the time came that she was unable to speak, she arranged her hands so that they continued to preach for her. On one hand a single finger was pointing, signifying one God. On the other hand, three fingers were extended, signifying the three persons within the Holy Trinity. The Holy Bishop of Rome was kept quite busy, as a consequence, in baptizing many. In 1599 we are told that her body was still incorrupt, and a most eloquent statue was made depicting St Cecilia in her death position.
From one woman’s living faith, many came to be believers in the Lord Jesus and to accept Baptism. Thank you Lord Jesus for the all the wonders you worked in St Cecilia’s life and in the lives of all those who have been inspired by her to seek the Sacrament of Baptism.
St Cecilia, pray for us.
Here is a novena to St Cecilia that you might find useful.
Novena to St. Cecilia
Dear St. Cecilia, I confide in your intercession because you generously offered your life as a sacrifice for the love of Jesus, to Whom you were devoted with your whole heart and soul. You led your husband and his friends to faith in Him. You remained strong and steadfast despite a slow death. Even in that death you proclaimed your belief in the Triune God. Jesus will not refuse your prayers. Beg Jesus to grant me this favour: (Mention your request…………………….. For the sake of Jesus Christ, Who filled your heart with pure and heroic love, Who crowned you with the glorious crown of martyrdom, Who permitted your body to remain incorrupt through these many centuries, and Who willed that your memory be praised by the Church at every Holy Day Mass, I earnestly ask you to intercede for me. I resign myself entirely to the Holy Will of God. Help me to imitate your faith and love of God, that I may be ready to make any sacrifice for my Catholic faith. Through your prayers may I someday reach heaven and praise with you the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the loving Spouse of your soul and mine. Amen.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. (3 times)
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