IN the evening of her wedding-day, with the music of the marriage-hymn ringing in her ears, Cecilia, a rich, beautiful, and noble Roman maiden, renewed the vow by which she had consecrated her virginity to God. "Pure be my heart and undefiled my flesh; for I have a spouse you know not of—an angel of my Lord." The heart of her young husband Valerian was moved by her words; he 'received Baptism, and within a few days he and his brother Tiburtius, who had been brought by him to a knowledge of the Faith, sealed their confession with their blood. Cecilia only remained. "Do you not know," was her answer to the threats of the prefect, "that I am the bride of my Lord Jesus Christ?" The death appointed for her was suffocation, and she remained a day and a night in a hot-air bath, heated seven times its wont. But "the flames had no power over her body, neither was a hair of her head singed." The lictor sent to dispatch her struck with trembling hand the three blows which the law allowed, and left her still alive. For two days and nights Cecilia lay with her head, half severed on the pavement of her bath, fully sensible, and joyfully awaiting her crown; on the third the agony was over, and in 177 the virgin Saint gave back her pure spirit to Christ.
Reflection. —St. Cecilia teaches us to rejoice in every sacrifice as a pledge of our love of Christ, and to welcome sufferings and death as hastening our union with Him.
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition www.globalgrey.co.uk
Prayers and Reading for Today’s MASS
Introit • Ps. 118, 46, 47
I spoke of Thy testimonies before kings, and I was not ashamed: I meditated also on Thy commandments, which I loved exceedingly. (P. T. Alleluia, alleluia.) Ps. 118, 1. Blessed are the undefiled in the way: who walk in the law of the Lord. Glory be …
O God, Who dost gladden us with the annual feast of blessed Cecilia, Thy virgin and martyr, grant that, as we venerate her in our liturgy, we may also follow her example in godly living. Through our Lord.
Epistle • Ecclus. 51, 13-17
[A prayer of praise and thanksgiving.]
Oh, Lord, my God, Thou hast exalted my dwelling place upon the earth and I have prayed for death to pass away. I called upon the Lord, the father of my Lord, that he would not leave me in the day of my trouble, and in the time of the proud without help. I will praise thy name continually, and will praise it with thanksgiving, and my prayer was heard. And thou hast saved me from destruction, and hast delivered me from the evil time. Therefore I will give thanks, and praise thee, and bless the name of the Lord.
Gradual • Ps. 44, 11, 12
Harken, O daughter, and see, and incline thine ear; for the King hath greatly desired thy beauty. Ps. 44, 5. With thy comeliness and thy beauty, set out, proceed prosperously, and reign.
Alleluia, alleluia. Matt. 25, 4, 6. The five wise virgins took oil in their vessels with the lamps: and at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet Christ our Lord. Alleluia.
Gospel • Matt. 25, 1-13
Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Matthew.
[The parable of the ten virgins and of the talents. The description of the last judgment.]
At that time, Jesus spoke this parable to His disciples: The kingdom of heaven shall be like to ten virgins, who taking their lamps went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride. And five of them were foolish, and five wise. But the five foolish, having taken their lamps, did not take oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with the lamps. And the bridegroom tarrying, they all slumbered and slept.
And at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise: Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out. The wise answered, saying: Lest perhaps there be not enough for us and for you, go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. Now whilst they went to buy, the bridegroom came: and they that were ready, went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut.
But at last come also the other virgins, saying: Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answering said: Amen I say to you, I know you not. Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour.
Offertory • Ps. 44, 15, 16
After her shall virgins be brought to the King: her neighbors shall be brought to thee with gladness and rejoicing; They shall be brought into the temple to the King our Lord. (P.T. alleluia.)
May this sacrifice of atonement and praise, we beseech Thee, O Lord, by the intercession of blessed Cecilia, Thy virgin and martyr, ever make us worthy of Thy forgiveness. Through our Lord.
Communion • Ps. 118, 78-80
Let the proud be ashamed, because they have done unjustly toward me: but I will be employed in Thy commandments, in Thy justifications, that I may not be confounded. (P.T. Alleluia.)
O Lord, Thou hast regaled Thy household with sacred gifts; ever comfort us, we pray, with her intercession who festival we celebrate. Through our Lord.