22 November, Tuesday – Utter Destruction

Nov 22 – Memorial for St. Cecilia, virgin, martyr

St. Cecilia (d. 117) was a cultivated young patrician woman, whose ancestors loomed large in Rome’s history. She vowed her virginity to God, but her parents married her to Valerian of Trastevere. She told her new husband that she was accompanied by an angel, but in order to see it, he must be purified. He agreed to the purification and was baptized. Returning from the ceremony, he found her in prayer accompanied by a praying angel. The angel placed a crown on each of their heads, and offered Valerian a favour; the new convert asked that his brother be baptized.

The two brothers developed a ministry of giving proper burial to martyred Christians. In their turn, they were arrested and martyred for their faith. Cecilia buried them at their villa on the Appian Way, and was arrested for the action. She was ordered to sacrifice to false gods, and when she refused, she was martyred in her turn.

She was suffocated for a while and when that didn’t kill her, she was beheaded. Her grave was discovered in 817, and her body removed to the Church of St. Cecilia in Rome. The tomb was opened in 1599 and her body was found to be incorrupt.

The Acta of Cecilia includes the following: “While the profane music of her wedding was heard, Cecilia was singing in her heart a hymn of love for Jesus, her true spouse.” It was this phrase that led to her association with music, singers, musicians, etc.

  • Patron Saint Index

Apo 14:14-10
Lk 21:5-11

…the Temple…adorned with fine stonework and votive offerings, Jesus said ‘All these things you are staring at now – the time will come when not a single stone will be left on another: everything will be destroyed.”

In today’s passage, it is scary and difficult to read. Fire and brimstone, doomsday prophecies, enough to give me nightmares. The fearful sights mentioned in this passage: war, plagues, earthquakes, famine; these are all signs we can see today and every day, particularly in the last couple of years.

However, if we only focus on all the negatives, we will miss the big picture and miss what Jesus is trying to tell us. 

Firstly, we need to cultivate detachment to all that is worldly, even if it is for the good, such as the temple. For everything in this world is but transient, nothing lasts forever. The only one we can, and should cling to, is God Himself. He is forever constant, unchanging and eternal. 

Secondly, we should not be fooled by imposters or the enemy, who tries to dupe us by claiming they hold the key to reason and happiness, but actually leads us to destruction and heartache. We need to be attuned to the voice of Jesus so that we will not be misled.

Lastly, we need not be afraid. Jesus will be by our side, leading us home. If we stumble or fall, He will be there to catch us, to pick us up and dust us off. He will be walking by our side; all we need to do is pay close attention to His quiet voice instead of all the noise.

When we put that all into context, the ending of this transient world, the coming of the new Jerusalem and the Kingdom of God, where there is no more strife, becomes something for us to look forward to.  The thought of going through challenging times and hardships don’t seem so daunting with Jesus by our side, offering us comfort and strength. He is in control, and He has our backs. Isn’t that great to know?

(Today’s OXYGEN by Winnie Kung)

Prayer: Dear Lord, please grant us the strength and faith to endure all things in Your Name. In exercising endurance, may we grow more and more in our faith, love and trust of You. Jesus, I trust in You. 

Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, we thank you for Your love and mercy; for never leaving our side even though we may turn our backs on you. Thank you for always waiting for us, to receive us again. For this and so much more, we say praise and thank you!

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