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3 Lessons in holiness from St. Cecilia’s life


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Philip Kosloski - published on 11/21/23

St. Cecilia was a holy and virtuous young woman who sought to live close to Jesus Christ.

St. Cecilia devoted herself to Jesus Christ at a young age, promising to follow him as bride, even if it cost her life.

This did not change when she married a pagan, who quickly converted to Christianity after their wedding night.

Dom Prosper Guéranger shares in his Liturgical Year three important lessons in holiness we can learn from her life.

A Chaste Heart

St. Cecilia reportedly made a vow of virginity before her marriage to Valerian, and said to her new husband that an angel was assigned to protect her purity. She did not waver in this regard and even her husband came to respect that vow.

While virginity in marriage is not a virtue for all to follow, St. Cecilia possessed a chaste heart even in marriage. Chastity is for everyone, not only religious. This is something we can all follow, recognizing the dignity of marriage and not abusing it, as Guéranger explains:

Let marriage with its chaste consequences be held in honor; let it cease to be an amusement or a speculation; let fatherhood and motherhood be no longer a calculation, but an austere duty: and soon through the family, the city, and the nation will resume their dignity and their vigor.

Ardent Zeal

St. Cecilia was zealous in her faith, loving everyone as well as desiring that they be united with her in the Christian reilgion.

Guéranger extols the charity that these early Christians had for others:

[T]he pagans used to say, “See how they love one another!” And how could they help loving one another? For in the order of faith they were fathers and children. What maternal tenderness Cecilia felt for the souls of her brethren from the mere fact that she was a Christian!

Superhuman Courage

St. Cecilia also displayed superhuman courage in the midst of persecution and the sentence of death.

Guéranger explains how St. Cecilia’s courage can help us banish fear in our lives, recognizing our ultimate destiny:

Have we forgotten that we are merely pilgrims on this earth? And has the hope of future good died out of our hearts? Cecilia will teach us how to rid ourselves of this sentiment of fear. In her days life was less secure than now. There certainly was then some reason to fear and yet Christians were so courageous that the powerful pagans often trembled at the words of their victims.

St. Cecilia remains a powerful example to us and we can learn many lessons from her short life.

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