Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.Psalm 95:1
Lately I’ve found myself singing hymns more often. Instead of singing my favorite pop songs, I’ve been catching myself humming and singing church hymns, like “O God Beyond All Praising” and contemporary Christian songs, like “10,000 Reasons.” This might be because I’ve been listening to this music more often, or it could be that I was anticipating St. Cecelia’s feast day.
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St. Cecilia is the patroness of musicians and singers. She made a vow of chastity, although she was forced to marry a man whom she initially didn’t want to. During her wedding, she sang praises to God in her heart, and she was at peace knowing that somehow everything would be okay. St. Cecelia not only kept her vow of chastity, but she also converted her husband and his brother!
I asked for St. Cecelia’s intercession so much when I was younger because I was very devoted to music. I learned how to read sheet music by learning how to play the piano, and then I fell in love with singing. I loved singing in my high school’s chorus and cantoring for Mass in my home Parish. As I got more serious about dance, I started singing less, but I still sing for Mass at the Newman Center. Although my desire to stay involved in music might have dimmed, God has beautiful ways of keeping us on fire for what brings us to life.
My boyfriend, Nathan is a music education major. He told me that music is his way of praising God, and I see this in him whether he sings for church services or when he sings or plays trombone for concerts. St. Irenaeus said “The glory of God is man fully alive,” and I have no doubt that Nathan glorifies God through music, because he is fully alive indeed when he makes music. Nathan’s dedication to his art inspires me to say the least. I’m certain that God gave me Nathan so that I would continue praising him and encountering him through music.
St. Cecelia reminds me that music is a completely valid and beautiful way to go to our Heavenly Father. He delights when we use our art and our passions to glorify him. There are times when I can’t help but sing to praise God. It could be because I’m overjoyed or because a song is stuck in my head and demands to be sung out loud. There are times when I know I’ll burst into tears if I utter one syllable, but I sit and listen to music and let the Spirit embrace me through songs. In any situation, we can always sing (or hum, or play, or whistle) a song to remind us of God’s goodness, love, and mercy.
St. Cecelia, pray for us.