Discovering St. Cecilia’s Intercession — A personal devotion on her Feast Day
By Michelle Gresser, UF student
“Be filled with the Spirit, singing and playing to the Lord with all your heart,” Ephesians 5:18–19.
Saint Cecilia has been such a vital part in my faith journey and today on her feast day I wanted to pay homage to this beautiful woman of God.
Cecilia was born into a wealthy family in Rome and was well-rooted in her Christian faith. She wore sackcloth as a sign of her humility, fasted, and even dedicated her life to serving the Lord, praying often through the intercession of the Angels and Saints to protect her virginity. Despite this commitment, she was forced to marry a pagan man who would later become St. Valerian. During the ceremony, it is said that she sang praises to God within her heart. After her nuptials, Cecilia told Valerian of her vow and that an angel was by her side, protecting her. When asked for proof of the angel’s presence, she implored him to travel and be baptized by Pope Urbanus, for then he would be able to see. Upon returning home, Valerian did indeed see the angel and respected Cecilia’s wish.
Over the course of her life, Cecilia spent her time preaching, especially to those less fortunate, and was able to bring over four hundred people to the Church. How amazing is that?! But the most amazing example of God’s divine protection was in the time leading up to her death. Being that Christians were persecuted at the time, Cecilia was arrested and sentenced to death. They shut her in the baths for well over a day with expectations of her dying by suffocation from the fires. She wasn’t affected in the slightest; not even breaking out in sweat. This enraged the prefect of Rome, Turcius Almachius, and Almachius ordered her decapitation. Three times was she struck and abandoned at the unsuccess. In her final three days, Cecilia continued to preach to others and pray before succumbing to her wounds (source: Catholic Online).
My Saint Friend
Like I said earlier, this beautiful Saint has been such an important part of my spiritual life. I’ve debated whether or not to write this, due to fear of judgement and shame of my past, but I think it’s time to tell my story.
I was born and raised a “cradle Catholic”; was baptized and completed the Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Communion. Then came time for my Confirmation. At the time, I didn’t understand what was going on nor the importance of it. I did enjoy going to Mass when I was really young but as I grew older, I became very disinterested in anything having to do with being Catholic. So by the time my Confirmation came around, I wasn’t fully aware of what I was doing. I decided upon the patron saint of musicians as my confirmation Saint because I was a music kid and it seemed like the most obvious option. But looking back now, I think she chose me.
There was a very dark period of time in my life where I was so far away from the Church that it seemed hopeless in returning, like I was a lost cause. But I slowly started to find my way back. It wasn’t until my freshman year of college that the love of Christ began to burn within me once more. At the time, I was living in a smaller town and had to travel by rural roads to my community college campus. It was a lengthy ride and I would often listen to the radio on my way. One morning, nothing being played was interesting me so I decided to flip through the stations and landed on the local one for KLOVE. I remember just being quiet the entire way and just listening, absorbing what was being said and played. I couldn’t stop thinking about it the entire day, so I decided to tune in again on the way home. Soon enough, it became my escape and inspired me to embrace my faith again. It wasn’t until I came to UF two years later that I truly accepted God’s call and embrace to come back to Him, to His church. God led me to the one place that I didn’t even know my soul had been searching for for so long; somewhere where I feel I actually belong.
So, how exactly does this relate to St. Cecilia choosing me? I believe through her intercession I “stumbled” across KLOVE that day. And I believe long before that, she would pray for me, pray for my soul, my reconversion, until the moment she was able to step in and steer me on the right path again. It fills my heart with such joy whenever I’m able to sing my heart out to a worship song in the car or when I’m at Mass. It makes me feel connected to God in the best way possible, and I have my Saint friend to thank for it.
Saint Cecilia, thank you for all of your prayers, for interceding on my behalf when I didn’t even recognize it. Taking the time to know more about you has only deepened my admiration. Thank you for being a role model to us women, praying and spreading the love of God up until your final breath. May my faith grow and strengthen like yours. May I have the capacity to pursue the Sacred Heart of our Savior, as did you, even when it seems futile. And may we all open our hearts and sing praises to our loving God, forever and always.
Saint Cecilia, pray for us!
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