November 22, 2018
by Tamora Whitney
Creighton University's English Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of Saint Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr
Lectionary: 500

Revelation 5:1-10
Psalms 149:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b
Luke 19:41-44

Praying Ordinary Time

For those in the U.S. celebrating Thanksgiving Day today

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Today is the feast day of St. Cecilia, patron saint of musicians. It’s said that on her wedding day she sang in her heart to the Lord, and she was able to retain her virginity and convert her new husband to Christianity. He was baptized and then could see the angel who protected her.

Music can be very powerful. I personally came to the church through music many years ago. When I started college at the College of St. Mary in Omaha, I joined the choir. I had been playing guitar for several years then and had been singing, my mother says, since before I could talk. The sisters suggested that I sing for Mass, but I had never been to Mass. I hadn’t been raised in a religion. I hadn’t been baptized. But I went to Mass. And I loved the music. And soon I was singing for Mass with the choir, with my classmates, and on my own. And I converted to Catholicism when I was a sophomore in college. I sang in my heart, and in the chapel, to God, and he heard me and accepted me. Like Cecilia’s husband, I was baptized and converted. And I still love the music at Mass. I think singing is the purest means of praise.

In the first reading from Revelation, when the lamb who was slain was worthy to open the scrolls, the elders sang a hymn praising the one who paid for our salvation in blood. They sang a new hymn. Until Jesus’ sacrifice, no one could open the scroll. But now this wonderful occurrence deserved a new song worthy of situation. Their song was created from the sacrifice of love. The psalm encourages us to sing a new song to God, to praise him in singing and dancing, to use music and movement to express our love for God where ever we are, since he loves us so much. We need to sing a new song like the elders. We should not harden our hearts, but should sing in our hearts to God.

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