Cecilia

We've had snow again this week. Not as much snow as the blizzard the day after Christmas, still I'd say it was a good 9 or 10 inches here yesterday.  Enough to keep everyone home from work and school. So we all found ourselves with a little bit of stolen time. I used mine to add a few new veils to my ever growing collection.




Here's one. It's named Cecilia. [These pictures are the updated Cecilia--Cecilia II] Do you like it?



 It seemed appropriate to use gold--to my mind anyway--because my husband and I  happen to have a gold relief of the saint in the living room here. 


Much of St. Cecelia's story is said to have been embellished over the years with pious legends. What is most important and true is that she gave her live for Christ.
Her story has been written in some of the classics,
including Geoffrey Chaucer. He tells her story in the "Second Nun's Tale" from  
The Canterbury Tales.


St. Cecilia was a consecrated virgin from a 2nd century noble Roman family. Never-the-less, her father gave in marriage to a pagan nobleman named Valerius. On her wedding day, Cecilia sang the Psalms in her heart, asking God to protect her virginity, even while living in the married state.



In the Raphael painting above, St. Cecilia is listening to the Heavenly Hymns. She's the patron saint of musicians and is almost always depicted with a musical instrument in her hands. Angels often tend to be a part of the theme in the paintings, too. St. Cecilia is the subject of countless masterpieces. 



On her wedding night Cecilia told Valerianus that she was "betrothed to an angel" and that he must not ask to violate her virginity. Valerianus, skeptical, requested to see this angel. Cecilia replied that he must first be Baptized by Pope Urbanus, who was hiding in the Catacombs. Upon returning to Cecilia after his Baptism, the angel appeared and crowned the couple with roses and lilies. The lilies were symbolic of their purity; the roses, of the martyrdom that was to come.

This piece here below is attributed possibly to Pietro da Cortuna.
 

Valerianus and subsequently his brother Tiburtius were moved to conversion and ultimately martyred for Christ. They refused to bend their knee to the Roman idols.  At the command of the wicked prefect, Turcius Almachius, a henchman named Maximus was appointed to swap off their heads. But when Maximus saw the souls of these brothers being received into Heaven, he too was converted and martyred. Then the three men were all buried by St. Cecelia in one tomb. 


 Cecilia was also condemned for refusing to offer sacrifices to Jupiter. She was to be suffocated to death in her own home, by the steam of her own bath. But her guardian angel protected her from the steam.

Astonished to hear the soldiers report that she'd survived the ordeal, the evil prefect ordered her decapitated. Three times the executioner attempted in vain to sever her head from her body. A forth stroke would have been illegal under Roman law. Her tormentor flew in terror, leaving the holy victim in a pool of blood. Cecilia had prayed that she might live for three more days in order to convert souls for Christ, and it is said that she had many visitors, and converted many souls during those last three days. Upon her death bed she asked that her house would become a church. And so it was, and Pope Urbanus buried her among bishops and the confessors in the Catacomb of Callistus. 


  Stefano Maderno's Statue of St. Cecilia (1610) is said to have been sculpted exactly as the saints incorruptible body was found in her tomb in the Catacombs long after her death, which is the position in which she had died. On one hand she had three fingers outstretched and on the other hand just one finger, denoting the doctrine of the one true God in three persons, the Blessed Trinity. Below, the tomb of St. Cecilia under the high altar in Rome. Her body is now in the crypt beneath the sanctuary, in the church built over her house which bears her name.



Cecilia is among the saints remembered by name in the Canon of the Mass.

P:  Nobis quoque peccatoribus     P:  To us sinners,  also,  Thy

famulis tuis,  de multitudine     servants,  who put our trust

miserationum tuarum               in the multitude of Thy

sperantibus,  partem aliquam      mercies, vouchsafe to grant

et societatem donare digneris,    some part and fellowship with

cum tuis sanctis Apostolis et     Thy holy apostles and martyrs;

Martyribus:  cum Joanne,          with John,  Stephen,

Stephano,  Matthia,  Barnaba,     Matthias, Barnabas,  Ignatius,

Ignatio,  Alexandro,              Alexander,  Marcellinus,

Marcellino,  Petro,               Peter,  Felicitas,  Perpetua,

Felicitate,  Perpetua,            Agatha,  Lucy,  Agnes,

Agatha,  Lucia,  Agnete,          Cecilia,  Anastasia,  and with

Caecilia,  Anastasia,  et         all Thy saints.  Into their

omnibus sanctis tuis:  intra      company do Thou,  we beseech

quorum nos consortium,  non       Thee,  admit us,  not weighing

aestimator meriti,  sed           our merits,  but freely

veniae,  quaesumus,  largitor     pardoning our offenses:

admitte.  Per Christum Dominum    through Christ our Lord.

nostrum.    

                    
Above, nineteenth century painter William Bouguereau's St. Cecilia.


Psalm 32
A psalm for David. 

Rejoice in the Lord, O ye just: praise becometh the upright. Give praise to the Lord on the harp; sing to him with the psaltery, the instrument of ten strings.Sing to him a new canticle, sing well unto him with a loud noise. For the word of the Lord is right, and all his works are done with faithfulness. He loveth mercy and judgment; the earth is full of the mercy of the Lord.
 







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