Sweet St Cecilia Pianos
If you ever wanted to see my Grandpa Fred smile, all you had to do was turn on some old Gospel music, get out the guitar, or sit at the piano and start playing some chords. No matter what you played, Grandpa started singing along. Very rarely, though, he just sang the song’s melody. He always added his own harmony perfectly on key. When you sang with Fred, you were making beautiful music. It’s the type of music I imagine St. Cecilia, named “Queen of Harmony” and patron of musicians, heard on her wedding night when she joined her heart in song with the angels.
Born into a noble family in late 2nd Century Rome to pagan parents, St. Cecilia was moved by the new, growing faith and chose Christianity at an early age. She spent her time caring for Rome’s poor and learning more about Jesus and Christian doctrine. Soon she gave her heart entirely to Jesus and consecrated herself to Him alone for the rest of her life. Her parents, however, still gave her in marriage to a young pagan named Valerian.
During their wedding celebration, while music played to the pagan gods, Cecilia quietly sang a psalm of purity in her heart, asking Jesus for the strength to remain true to the consecration she made before the wedding. That evening, she informed Valerian of her consecration and of the guardian angel standing at her side to protect her. She explained that in order for him to see this angel, he must first become a Christian. Because of her insistence and powerful witness, Valerian agreed.
Upon his return to her, Valerian saw the angel adorn Cecilia with a crown of roses and lilies (foreshadowing her martyrdom). From that moment, husband and wife served the Christian community. Valerian buried the martyred Christians while Cecilia preached and converted people to the faith.
Eventually captured and sentenced to death, Cecilia survived suffocation and the executioner’s three attempts to behead her. However, after three days of prayer and preaching, St. Cecilia died from her neck wounds. When her body was exhumed more than 1,300 years later in 1599, St. Cecilia’s tomb emanated an aroma of flowers and her body was incorrupt. Her Bridegroom truly protected her.
The Church celebrates St. Cecilia’s entrance into heaven on Nov. 22. During Mass on this day, we get to re-echo the psalm of purity she sang in her heart on her wedding day. It is my prayer that, as our children grow, they too can bring their souls into such close harmony with the will of God and will one day join my grandpa and the beautiful choir of saints and angels in heaven.
This article appeared in the November edition of The Catholic Telegraph Magazine. For your complimentary subscription, click here.