|"The Bridegroom is here" (Matthew). Feast of St Cecilia
Martyr Nov. 22.
i. W.C. Fields' comment
"just looking for loopholes." Seeking to escape the grim reaper and
bypass the judgment to come.
ii. No loopholes in the spiritual life
no sneaking into heaven
when the Bridegroom comes for us
and come He will
He will look for grace in our soul
do we have a participation in the divine nature? A share in God's Life?
In the story of the 10 Virgins, we are given an idea of just how
salvation will be worked out. Our dear Lord
will come looking for appropriate spouses, virgins who are
ready to be espoused and to join the Wedding Feast of Heaven. He may
delay His coming, so the Christian must always be prepared
the true Christian must be a wise virgin whose lamp has oil, i.e. grace
in the soul. The foolish virgins are those Christians who are empty of
grace and therefore have no life, no fire. They have not the Light of
the World. Their end will be the divorce of hell
an eternal separation from God.
the Loss of God
one can lose their wallet, watch, jewelry, best friend, even one's
but to lose God the only Individual Who can truly satisfy our hunger for
this loss is unimaginable. In the cloistered life of a monastery, the
nuns anticipate that wedding feast on earth and they seek to keep the
flame of supernatural life alive. While all Catholics are bound in soul
to the good Lord at Baptism, the religious, the nuns have given their
bodies to Christ as well. Sealed fountains, they will admit no other
lover. Possessed in Body and Soul, they will stay within an enclosure,
for keeping company with the world, flirting with the outside would be
nothing short of adultery. In marriage, spouses have rights over one
another, including bodily rights. The good Lord had such rights over
these His spouses. He has allured them into the desert of the cloister.
iv. But with the cloistered nun having embraced this Divine
Spouse, she learns to love evermore as Christ does. Isn't it true that
spouses in the world become evermore complementary
they belong together
many even begin to resemble each other. Well in the religious life the
same is true and more. Religious should begin to resemble Christ more
fully. One's love can be more universal
with no individual natural spouse nor individual family, the religious
woman should be evermore expansive in her love
her natural instinct to give, to nurture, to mother, to be the Bride
should grow in its capacity until it is truly Christ-like. Such a woman
was the 3rd Century Virgin Martyr, St. Cecilia, who is one of the seven
saintly women mentioned in the great Roman Canon.
v. Even when promised in marriage to a pagan named Valerian, she
remained true to her Divine Spouse. On the evening of their wedding day,
Cecilia told Valerian that she had an angel guarding her virginity
an angel that would cause him suffering if he was to violate her. Being
of good will Valerian said "Show me this angel ... if he be of God, I
will refrain as you wish." Ever the evangelizer, Cecilia, stated that
her husband would only see the angel if he was enlightened and illumined
by the Sacrament of Baptism. Pope Urban I administered the Sacrament,
upon which Valerian saw the heavenly guardian. Cecilia's house would
become a local church in which hundreds during her life would receive
new life with the Sacrament of Faith.
vi. And when one is in love, he often sings. St. Francis and his
companions would sing to the glory of God. And when Francis was truly
happy, he would sing in French. On the day of her wedding, Cecilia sang
in her heart to the God she loved. She sang sacred music, of which she
is the patroness, for such music is set aside for the divine. This is
why St. Cecilia is often pictured next to an organ. An organ is the most
perfect and the most preferred musical instrument in the church for it
most closely imitates the human voice
yes the human voice the most perfect instrument of all for it vocalizes
the love within the soul. People often quote St. Augustine, Church
Father and doctor, as saying singing is praying twice
actually he said singing well is praying twice. I sometimes emphasize
this with the brother knights.
vii. Love desires union with the beloved
for Cecilia it was to be united with Christ in His perfect continence
His perfect, physical virginity and yes, to be united in His death
His martyrdom. Having sought to bury her husband and his friend, who
were martyred for the Faith, Cecilia was executed in her own home. At
first, the executioners sought to suffocate her in a room set aside for
vapor baths. Feeding the furnace with seven times more fuel than normal,
Cecilia remarkably remained alive for a day and a half without any harm.
Like the three young men Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael. Then having
failed in this manner of execution, a soldier sought to behead her in
the same room. Unable to accomplish fully the task after three blows
with a sword
for the law allowed no more blows
Cecilia was left with her head half severed for three days
and how she sang the praises of God as Christians flocked to her side.
At her death, she held out three fingers on her right hand and one on
her left to show her faith in the Holy Trinity
Three Persons in one God.
viii. Under the altar of the Basilica of St. Cecilia, this virgin
martyr is buried. A famous statue that shows the position of her body at
death marks the spot. Also, it is said the marble used for the altar
stone in the Church is the very marble upon which St. Cecilia was
martyred. As is most appropriate for this virgin whose lamp was well lit
with grace, her body was exhumed more than 1300 years after its burial
and was found incorrupt.