By Mary Ellen Barrett
“She encouraged each of them in the language of their ancestors. Filled with a noble spirit, she reinforced her woman’s reasoning with a man’s courage, ” ~ 2 Maccabees 7:21
A reluctant choir boy
My son Sean was a reluctant children’s choir member. One day, as he was getting out of the car to go to practice, I laughingly said, “Go sing with gusto, Sean,” and he, with great forbearance and a huge sigh, said, “ok, who is Gusto and where do I find him?”
Serving the church sometimes requires some forbearance, often humility, and always a desire to grow closer to God. Sean was fortunate that all he was required to do was give up a few hours a week to sing at Mass.
Much more was required of St. Cecilia, whose feast we celebrate today. She was a beautiful young woman from a wealthy family who was given, as a child, in marriage to a pagan named Valerian. During her wedding ceremony, she sang in her heart to God to spare her this marriage and preserve her virginity. Her piety converted Valerian and his brother Tibertius; all three were eventually martyred for the faith.
Women have unique gifts
It makes singing in the choir, serving on the altar, lectoring, or other pastoral duties seem tame.
St. Cecilia is a shining example of how a woman’s greatest strength lies not in positions of power and influence (although those things are good in many cases) but in the quiet example of loving God and serving faithfully. Her vow brought her closer to God and converted many at great sacrifice. Women, who are designed uniquely, have strengths different from men’s but equally (and perhaps more) powerful. We evangelize by caring for our families and homes by serving in church and communities. We should plant the seeds of faith wherever we go and hope for abundant growth.
Dear Lord, I ask that you reveal how I may best serve you faithfully so that I may, like your daughter Cecilia, bring souls to your heavenly kingdom. Please guide me in this and in all ways to grow closer to you. Amen.
Call to Action
Prayerfully look through your parish bulletin this Sunday and see where God might be asking you to serve.
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