Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Hymn to Saint Cecilia

On Friday, November 22, 1992, I was reborn and adopted by the Eternal Father through the blood of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit in Holy Baptism.

November 22 is also the Memorial of Saint Cecilia, virgin and martyr.  Happily, then, my whole life since that day has enjoyed the patronage and intercession of that glorious martyr who gave her life rather than sacrifice her virgin purity, which she had dedicated to Christ, to the vicious, pagan husband who was forced upon her by her relatives.

Ultimately, three blows from a Roman executioner's sword mortally wounded the beautiful saint, but she, sustained by the grace of almighty God, lived for three days, all the while praising the Lord in song.  At last, when she expired, she was laid in the Catacombs of Saint Callixtus at Rome.

Long the patroness of music, because of her three days' praise, Saint Cecilia has been venerated by musicians for centuries.  In my turn, I now offer this Hymn to that great lady whose favor I, too, have now enjoyed for more than two decades.



A noble woman full of pious love
She, forced to marry, one who did not know
Her true and holy Bridegroom, Jesus Christ
Pray for us, Cecilia!

She would not bow to pagan idols mean,
Nor would she sacrifice her purity:
Instead she strove for Him who died for her:
Pray for us, Cecilia!

Brought to the block, her head to lose for Him
Whose death and rising saves us all from sin
Her martyr's crown she won with courage grim
Pray for us, Cecilia!

Though three blows struck her pure-white neck again
Most glorious virgin, she endured to win
The praise for God who kept her praising Him
Pray for us Cecilia!

When finally laid they her in the cold tomb
Among the martyrs slain by Caesar's whim
Ne'er was her praise to be outdone again
Pray for us Cecilia! Amen.

Tune: Engelberg (C.V. Stanford, 1852-1942)
Alternately sung with "When in our  music God is glorified"

Text: D. E. Barker, b. 1983.


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