Her purity remained intact, due in large part to the vigilance of her Guardian Angel.
St. Cecilia is a legendary character of the early Church, which has led to her popularity over the centuries. Various accounts of her life relate extraordinary miracles, including the constant protection of her Guardian Angel.
A medieval text known as the Golden Legend gives a few details behind the miraculous intervention of her Guardian Angel, highlighting her purity and the desire of God to keep that purity unstained on this earth.
It is recorded that Cecilia made a private vow of chastity at a young age and felt called to keep that vow, even after her marriage to a man named Valerian. She said to him on their wedding night, “O sweetest and most loving young man, I have a secret to confess to you…I have a lover, an angel of God, who watches over my body with exceeding zeal. If my angel senses that you are touching me with lust in your heart, he will strike you and you will lose the flower of your gracious youth. If, on the other hand, he knows that you love me with sincere love, he will love you as he loves me, and will show you his glory.”
Valerian, a skeptical pagan, asked her to show him this angel, otherwise he would suspect Cecilia of adultery with another man.
Cecilia sent him to be baptized a Christian, and after being purified, he would be granted the vision of the Guardian Angel.
He was baptized and on returning to see Cecilia, Valerian saw the angel standing in her room.
The angel held two crowns of roses and lilies in his hand, one of which he gave to Cecilia and the other to Valerian, saying: “Guard these crowns with spotless hearts and clean bodies, because I have brought them to you from God’s heaven. They will never wither nor lose their sweet odor, nor can they be seen by anyone except those whom chastity pleases. And you, Valerian, since you have trusted good counsel, ask whatever you wish and you will have it!”
Valerian asked that his brother be united with them in the Christian faith and shortly thereafter, he was baptized.
Whatever the veracity of the stories, it highlights the extraordinary purity that St. Cecilia was able to maintain, and her radiant holiness drew those around her to faith in Jesus Christ.
Cecilia remains a powerful intercessor for all those who struggle with chastity.