For those of you who are musicians, whether you play an instrument or sing, this is your feast day. Today we celebrate Saint Cecilia, a virgin and martyr of the early church who is the patron saint of musicians.
Saint Cecilia was a force for good among those who knew her. She worked hard to convert as many as she could to the faith, and before her death, is said to have converted at least four hundred people. She was born to a rich family, and promised in marriage to a youth named Valerian. She prayed, fasted, and wore sackcloth, beseeching the saints and angels to guard her virginity.
During her wedding ceremony, she was said to have sung in her heart to God, which is why she is the patroness of musicians. Before the consummation of the marriage, she informed Valerian of her vow of virginity and that she had an angel protecting her. He wanted to see the angel as proof. She said he would see the angel after he was baptized, which he was by Pope Urbanus. Returning, he found the angel at her side. Valerian’s brother Tibertius heard of the angel and his brother’s baptism, and he asked to be baptized too.
After their baptisms, Cecila went about preaching and calling people to baptism, and Valerian and Tibertius would each day bury the saints who were murdered by the prefect of the city. Eventually Valerian and Tibertius were arrested and executed by the prefect after they refused to make sacrifice to pagan gods. Eventually Cecilia was arrested and condemned, although it took three attempts to put her to death.
In today’s Gospel, the widow gives everything she has in worship of God. Saint Cecilia, her husband, and brother-in-law also gave everything in worship of God. Today we literally sing their praises, and ask for the intercession of Saint Cecilia that we might be willing to give everything we have to God who has given everything to us.
Saint Cecilia, pray for us.