This patroness of music lived in early times. What we know about her goes back to the fourth century. Cecilia was a Roman noblewoman who had given her heart to Christ. She wanted to be his bride, but Cecilia’s father gave her in marriage to a young pagan nobleman. It is said that during the wedding celebration, the lovely bride sat apart. She was singing to God in her heart and praying for his help. When she and Valerian, her husband, were alone, she gathered up her courage and said to him: “I have a secret to tell you. You must know that I have an angel of God watching over me. If you let me keep my promise to be Christ’s bride only, my angel will love you as he loves me.”
Valerian was convinced by Cecilia to honor her vow of virginity and to become a Christian. His brother, Tiburtius, also learned of the Christian faith from Cecilia. She spoke so beautifully of Jesus that before long he, too, was baptized. Together the two brothers performed many works of charity. When they were arrested for being Christians, they went bravely to death rather than give up their new faith in Jesus. St. Cecilia lovingly buried their bodies before she, too, was arrested. She converted the very officers who tried to make her sacrifice to false gods. When she was put into a fire, it did not harm her. At last, a man was sent to behead her. He struck her neck three times, but Cecilia did not die right away. She lay on the floor of her own home unable to move. Yet, by holding out three fingers of one hand and one of the other, she still professed her belief in the Blessed Trinity: that there is one God in three divine Persons.
St. Cecilia’s faith was strong enough to convince others to believe in Jesus. Her love was strong enough to make her remain faithful to Christ even in the face of danger. We can pray to St. Cecilia for the same faith and love that made her a saint.
- Daughters of St. Paul