Readings for Monday, November 22/St. Cecilia:
No cross, no crown.
Yesterday we heard Saint Luke’s account of the crucifixion of Our Lord, reminding us of the fact that it was only through his passion, death, and resurrection that Christ became the King of All Creation. The cross won Him the crown. And as we begin this last week in Ordinary Time, we find that the Cross has now cast its shadow across these final days. As we celebrate the memorial of Saint Cecilia, we recognize that today kicks off a sort of ‘Week of Martyrs,’ in which the necessity of the Cross in the Christian life is made manifest by the shedding of blood of so many witnesses – Cecilia, Clement, Andrew Dung Lac and his companions, and finally Catherine of Alexandria before we get a break from the bloodshed on Friday. Though this isn’t necessarily something planned by the Church for the last week of the year, it does stand for us as a reminder of the close connection between the cross and our heavenly crown.
In these our final weeks of class, most of us are starting to feel more intensely the weight of the cross in the forms of papers, presentations, and other such academic requirements. This in addition to the private crosses of spiritual struggles, the sickness or death of loved ones, and many other burdens that each of us are given to bear. But in all of these things, we must keep our eyes on the prize of heaven. Rather than give in to frustrations and to try to avoid the weight of the cross, we must rather accept it joyfully and put our trust in the Lord. Like the poor widow in the gospel who gave her whole livelihood, trusting that the Lord would take care of her, we too must give ourselves entirely over to Him, trusting that He will also take care of us not only in this life, but also in the next.
*And because it's my mom's patronal feast day: a second picture of Saint Cecilia rocking out with the angels!