“O Cecilia, your breaking my heart”

“O Cecilia, your breaking my heart, your shaking my confidence daily” – this is the reverence which Simon & Garfunkle held for Saint Cecilia. There lack of respect breaks my heart. Saint Cecilia was an amazing woman. November 22 marks the Feast Day of Saint Cecilia.

On Cecilia’s wedding day to Valerian, she sang in her heart to the Lord and she knew she was to remain a virgin; her husband consented to this request. During the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius (ca. 161-180), there were persecutions and Cecilia was number among the martyrs. Officials attempted to smother her with steam, she did not die. Then they proceeded to try and cut off her head, she did not die. While she lay in her blood, she was singing praises to God. She refused to die until she received Holy Communion. She is celebrated in all major Christian Churches on November 22 and is one of seven women, excluding the Theotokos, commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass. She is the patron saint of Musicians and Church Music. Saint Cecilia reminds me of my wife, Sara, in that she sings in her heart constantly. The following is the Catholic Litany of St. Cecilia (prayer with multiple petitions), it may seem odd to some Protestant believers out there, but I hope you find it inspiring nonetheless:

Lord, have mercy on us.   

Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ hear us.  Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven, Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, Have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us.
Saint Cecilia, Pray for us. 
Saint Cecilia, wise virgin, Pray for us. 
Saint Cecilia, whose heart burned with the fire of Divine love, Pray for us. 
Saint Cecilia, apostle by thy zeal and charity, Pray for us. 
Saint Cecilia, who converted thy spouse and procured for him the crown of Martyrdom, Pray for us. 
Saint Cecilia, who by thy pleadings moved the hearts of pagans, and brought them into the true Church,
Pray for us. 

Saint Cecilia, who didst unceasingly see thy guardian Angel by thy side, Pray for us. 
Saint Cecilia, who didst mingle thy voice with the celestial harmonies of the virgins, Pray for us. 
Saint Cecilia, who by thy melodious accents celebrated the praises of Jesus, Pray for us. 
Saint Cecilia, illustrious Martyr of Jesus Christ, Pray for us. 
Saint Cecilia, who during three days dist suffer most excruciating torments, Pray for us. 
Saint Cecilia, consolation of the afflicted, Pray for us. 
Saint Cecilia, protectress of all who invoke thee, Pray for us. 
Saint Cecilia, patroness of holy canticles, Pray for us. 
Saint Cecilia, special patroness and advocate of all singers, musicians, authors, and students, Pray for us.

We salute thee, O Virgin, who didst give thy blood for the defense and faith of Jesus Christ.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.

God glorified Saint Cecilia, 
And He crowned her virtues.

Let us pray: O Eternal God, Who didst give us, in the person of Saint Cecilia, a powerful protectress, grant that after having faithfully passed our days, like herself, in innocence and holiness, we may one day attain the land of beatitude, where in concert with her, we may praise Thee and bless Thee forevermore in eternity. Amen.

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