Sweet Nov. 22

St. Cecilia statue
One finger. Two fingers… Yes! Christ: One Person, two natures (human and divine). Thank you, St. Cecilia, for teaching the faith even in death.

What an amazingly wonderful day today is! At Holy Mass, we read about the 25th day of Chislev. The 25th day of Chislev will arrive next week! This year our friends will light their menorahs while the turkey’s in the oven. And in church we read all about it today!

Not being a rabbi, I will offer no Hanukkah exhortations. But the festival certainly has to do with the altar—and during Hanukkah this year, we will have our first Mass in Martinsville, Va., with our tabernacle re-positioned at the altar! Too good!

They belong together of course: The altar of Christ’s Body and Christ’s Body. The altar and the sacrament of the altar—they belong together.

We read in Maccabees how, when the sanctuary had been purified, the Israelites prostrated themselves and adored and praised heaven!

But we’re not done recounting the wonders of today. According to the official history of the martyrs,

Today, November 22, at Rome, St. Cecilia, virgin and martyr, died, who brought to the faith of Christ her betrothed Valerian and his brother Tiburtius, and encouraged them to martyrdom. After their death, being arrested by order of Almachius, prefect of the city, and exposed to the fire, from which she came out uninjured, she terminated her glorious sufferings by the sword, in the time of the emperor Marcus Aurelius Severus Alexander.

Our prayer for the day is:

Grant that what has been devoutly handed down concerning St. Cecilia may offer us examples to imitate and proclaim the wonders worked in his servants by Christ your Son.

Cecilia heard the music of heaven by an interior sense, which makes her the patroness of musicians. May President Kennedy rest in peace. May we play the song of a holy life for the glory of God in Christ.

3 thoughts on “Sweet Nov. 22

  1. Father Mark,

    “… we will have our first Mass in Martinsville, Va., with our tabernacle re-positioned at the altar!” Was ist es mit Ihnen? haben Sie gelesen zu viel George Weigel? Actually, this and the direction we face at different parts of the Mass might seem trivial; but might well be of enormous consequence. Why, it’s almost like ” … one finger, two fingers.”

    Certainly reading Maccabees, or 2nd Samuel, or 1st & 2nd Kings, can be like reading an adventure novel. The tendency is to say that that was then, and this is now. But, if so, we misapprehend. We live in exciting times; let us hope that we can have the sense to realize that, and to respond accordingly. If we respond as the hierarchy of our Church seems to be responding (with a voluminous questionnaire on Marriage and Family) we might very well miss the excitement and mire down in the morass of words.

    Admittedly, the Devil IS in the detail; and lack of serious consideration of the issues which the Church, Marriage, and Family face in this age might condemn us to repeat the mistakes of the past, and, particularly, the last half-century. But there has to be a more humane and sensitive way to deal with these issues. How about a stepwise, discussion within the Family of the Church? First priority issues first; and the first discussion would be to define the priorities. Moderated by a Priest. Open to all to listen. Open to the few who fill in the questionnaire to speak. Again, one topic at a time. And, oh, by the way, no more mealy-mouthed hiding behind a “religious freedom” banner.

    Yes, the issues are about religious freedom; but they’re also about survival of the human race. So, let’s get real, call the issues what they are, and begin a concerted effort to right the derelict ship of Church and brake the speeding locomotive of self-destruction of our society.

    In God we trust.



  2. I was able to celebrate the feast with the Benedictine nuns of Santa Cecelia — I may write about it in a week or two. What a lovely experience.

    Buona festa domani!

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