Day XV. Wednesday, Week II
"The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, who will condemn him to death. They will turn him over to the Gentiles, to be made sport of and flogged and crucified. But on the third day he will be raised up" (Gospel for today - Mt 20:18-19).
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere. Through prayers and good example, Saint Cecilia converted her husband, St. Valerian, and her brother-in-law, St. Tiburtius, to Christianity. As a result, all three were condemned to death (230). They tried unsuccessfully to suffocate St. Cecilia in her own bath by steaming her alive. Witnesses heard her singing songs to God throughout the ordeal (that is why she is the patron saint of music). They then tried to
behead her. By Roman law, the executioner only had three attempts to severe the head.
The executioner, unsuccessful, ran away leaving her to slowly bleed to death. During the next few days, many were converted by her preaching. She died in a pool of her own blood, her fingers outstretched to proclaim her faith in the Triune God.
The bodies of this holy family were transferred to this church in 821 by Pope Paschal I (817-824). (See the mosaic depicting Paschal (with square nibus) giving the church to St. Cecilia who introduces him to St. Paul. Jesus in the center and next to him is Ss. Peter, Valerian, and Agatha. Below are the 12 lambs approaching Christ the Lamb of God from Bethlehem and Jerusalem.) In 1599, her tomb was opened and her body was found to be incorruptible. The sculptor Moderno was there, drew what he saw, and later made the famed statue (see photo). It' is located below the main altar.
In the heart of Transtiber, in a beautiful Romanesque square stands the church of St. Mary. On the spot of this church, shortly before the birth of Christ, oil gushed out of the ground. Mary carried Christ "the Anointed One" (reference to the oil) in her arms.
The Mother of God is today's stational leader to Christ, the Light of the world. We fly to your patronage, Holy Mother of God. Do present our humble prayers to Him, whom you did bring forth, the King that rules heaven and earth. Help us, good Mother, that He may keep us away from the broad road, which leads to darkness and perdition and take us on the narrow but sure way to eternal light and life.
It is Thursday, four weeks from the great Eucharistic Thursday. May today's Eucharistic action give us light to see the right way and strength to follow it. And Christ is the "Way," and Mary, our leader to this "Way"Per Mariam ad Jesum!
Let us pray: Grant us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the help of Thy grace, that being duly intent on fasts and prayers, we may be delivered from enemies of soul and body. Through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.