Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Memorial of St. Cecilia, virgin and martyr

According to tradition, Cecilia was a young Roman woman who took a vow of virginity and was beheaded when she refused to renounce her vow and her faith. She is the patron saint of musicians. How did she come by this designation? Apparently her executioner botched his work as he tried to behead her and finally fled in fear when in his third attempt he failed. Cecilia lingered and as she lay dying for three days she sang God’s praises. Imagine: in pain and dying and praising God! Whether in good times or in bad we too are called to praise God always. That’s what St. Paul told the Ephesians would help them live a good life. He wrote: “Be filled with the Holy Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and playing to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father” (Ephesians 5: 4). One of the great traditions of the Eastern Catholic Churches is music. Let us pray that we may esteem the liturgy and music of the East so that our own celebration may become more beautiful. Our reflection is from Blessed John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter “The Light of the East.”

[I]n comparison to any other culture, the Christian East has a unique and privileged role as the original setting where the Church was born. The Christian tradition of the East implies a way of accepting, understanding and living faith in the Lord Jesus. … From the beginning, the Christian East has proved to contain a wealth of forms capable of assuming the characteristic features of each individual culture, with supreme respect for each particular community. …

[C]onversion is required of the Latin Church, that she may respect and fully appreciate the dignity of Eastern Christians, and accept gratefully the spiritual treasures of which the Eastern Catholic Churches are the bearers, to the benefit of the entire catholic communion; that she may show concretely far more than in the past, how she esteems and admires the Christian East and how essential she considers its contributions to the full realization of the Church’s universality.

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