THANKSGIVING--SAINT CECILIA, VIRGIN AND MARTYR
Psalm 66, verse 16
Come and hear, all you who fear God, while I recount what has been done for me.
It is just that we recount how God has removed our faults and how he imputes no guilt on us when we sincerely repent and turn away from our sins and ask for forgiveness. Once He has freed us, it is then that we can gratefully receive the counsels of the Holy Spirit which show us our path.
The Shema Yisrael which is the same prayer the Christ prayed every morning tells us that God is to be loved.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your Heart, and with all your soul, and with your entire mind, and with all your strength.
Christ is the living example of God’s love for us. His heart could not rest until He repaid our debt. His soul was so tormented for love of us that He sweated blood in the garden for us. His mind was ever on us when He multiplied the loaves or healed the sick and with all His strength He offered his life as an eternal sacrifice before the Father. He for love of us took the cup and drank it to the dregs during His passion.
To help us understand this love of His for us is the mission of the Confraternity of the Passion International who document the full suffering of our Lord to show us how we are loved knowing that Christ and His mother weep over lost souls and delight over converted ones.
Let us be ThankfulThanksgiving Day History
Thanksgiving Day is a celebration of giving thanks for the harvest and blessings of the past year. It is a day of giving thanks to God for his many blessings and expressing our gratitude to friends and family members. It is celebrated in the United States. Thanksgiving Day dates back to the Reformation Period and is accompanied by prayers, special ceremonies, and feasts. Thanksgiving is observed on the fourth Thursday in November each year.
Thanksgiving Day Facts & Quotes
· The first Thanksgiving Day feast was held in 1621 between the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag Indians.
· In 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.
· According to the US Government Census, in 2014, 242 million turkeys were raised in the United States.
· President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the fourth Thursday in November as the official Thanksgiving Day in 1941.
· Thanksgiving is almost here. It's my favorite holiday, which is surprising since I'm no fan of giving or saying thanks. - Stephen Colbert
Thanksgiving Day Top Events and Things to Do
· Watch or attend a Parade. The largest are the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in New York and the McDonalds Thanksgiving parade in Chicago.
· Eat lots of traditional Thanksgiving food including turkey, cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes.
· Watch or attend a football game. Besides NFL, there are many college and high school football games on this day.
· Go running or do some other form of exercise in the morning - so you won't feel so guilty indulging a grand Thanksgiving meal.
· Talk to relatives and friends by phone, email, or internet to remind them how thankful you are that they are all part of your life.
At Plimoth Plantation, it’s always 1627. The living museum and its costumed “residents” re-create New England’s first successful European settlement as well as a Native village. Thanksgiving dinner has its roots in a harvest celebration that 52 Pilgrims shared with 90 members of the Wampanoag tribe in 1621, one year after the settlers sailed from England. It included fowl (probably ducks and geese rather than turkey), venison, corn, and most likely fresh and dried fruits and vegetables. Every fall Plimoth Plantation re-creates a harvest meal from that period as well as serving a classic American Thanksgiving dinner.
Men have not only prayed in thanksgiving but have offered in thanksgiving: something that was a sign of themselves, to show they were thankful for life, were sorry for their sins against the Giver of life, would give their lives in return, if they might, to the One they owe so much. They made offerings in thanks for the things that sustain life, for the preservation of life. "Abel also offered of the firstlings of his flock, and of their fat.”. . "So Noe went out, he and his sons, his wife and the wives of his sons... . all living things went out of the ark. And Noe built an altar unto the Lord: and taking of all cattle and fowl that were dean, offered holocausts upon the altar.... ." They made bloody offerings, because the offering is a symbol of the offerer, and blood is the essence of life. Blood is life. There were other offerings... . . "Melchidesech, the king of Salem, bringing forth bread and wine, for he was the priest of the most high God, blessed him and said: Blessed be Abram by the most high God, who created heaven and earth.”. . . Because bread maintains life, and wine enhances life. God told them what to sacrifice, and how to sacrifice; but especially He told them to make the sacrifice of the Pasch, because it was a memorial to their freedom and their protection, a memorial of thanksgiving to the God who loved them. ". . . and it shall be a lamb without blemish, a male, one year. . . and the whole multitude of the children of Israel shall sacrifice it in the evening.”. . . "And this day shall be a memorial unto you: and you shall keep it a feast to the Lord. . . for with a strong hand the Lord hath brought you out of this place." He brought them through water, led them by fire, fed them with manna, and when they sinned against Him, He chastised them and accepted their sacrifices of expiation. He made it part of their Law, their Covenant, that they were to offer sacrifice: of reparation, of petition, of praise, of thanksgiving.
Then Christ came.
When it was time for the thing to happen for which He came, He said to the Apostles: "This is My body, which is being given for you; do this, in remembrance of Me." And He said: "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which shall be shed for you." This was the new covenant, the new Pasch. . . "in My blood," He said. From that moment on they were to make sacrifice "in My blood." The offering is a symbol of the offerer. Blood is the essence of life. This is our gift to offer: His Body and Blood, every day. Think of all the things the Redemption accomplished, and do not forget this last: to put into our hands the perfect Gift, the pure Victim — "holy and spotless, the holy bread of everlasting life and the chalice of everlasting salvation." With the sacrifice of Holy Mass, Catholics make their thanksgiving.
Her martyrdom probably occurred during the reign of Emperor Alexander Severus, about the year 230. In 1599 her grave was opened, and her body found in a coffin of cypress wood. It lay incorrupt, as if she had just breathed forth her soul. Since the middle Ages, Cecilia has been honored as patroness of Church music. Cecilia led a life of prayer and meditation and had vowed lifelong virginity, but a youth by the name of Valerian, relying upon the approval of her parents, hoped to marry her. When the wedding night arrived, she confided to Valerian, "There is a secret, Valerian, I wish to tell you. I have as a lover an angel of God who jealously guards my body." Valerian promised to believe in Christ if he would be enabled to see that angel. Cecilia explained how such was impossible without baptism, and Valerian consented to be baptized. After he was baptized by Pope Urban and had returned "He found Cecilia in her little room lost in prayer, and next to her the angel of the Lord was standing. When Valerian saw the angel, he was seized with great terror." The angel handed to them a bouquet of fiery red roses and snow-white lilies as a reward for Cecilia's love of chastity, a bouquet that would not wither, yet would be visible only to those who love chastity. As a further favor Valerian besought the conversion of his brother Tiburtius. Upon arriving to congratulate the newlyweds, Tiburtius was astounded by the unspeakably beautiful roses and lilies. As soon as he was informed regarding their origin, he too asked for the waters of baptism. "St. Cecilia said to Tiburtius: Today I acknowledge you as a brother-in-law, because the love of God has made you despise the idols. Just as the love of God gave me your brother as a spouse, so it has given you to me as a brother in-law." When Almachius, the prefect, heard of the conversions, he ordered Maximus, his officer, to arrest and imprison all of them. Before being put to death, they instructed Maximus and his family, and baptized them during the night preceding execution. At dawn Cecilia roused the two brothers to struggle heroically for Christ, as the glow of morning disappeared, Cecilia called: "Arise, soldiers of Christ, throw away the works of darkness and put on the armor of light." Cecilia pursued her victory as the soldiers willingly listened, "We believe that Christ is the true Son of God, who has chosen such a servant." Led before the prefect, she professed her faith in Christ, "We profess His holy Name and we will not deny Him."
In order to avoid further show, the prefect commanded her to be suffocated in the baths. She remained unharmed and prayed, "I thank You, Father of my Lord Jesus Christ that through Your Son the fire was extinguished at my side." Beheading was next in order. The executioner made three attempts (the law prohibited more) and let her lie in her blood. She lived for three days, encouraging the poor and dedicating her home into a church.
Things to Do
· Read and discuss the Church documents on music and liturgy. Read the by John Paul II. has a collection of the most important music documents. Although these documents cover over a century, all of the recent documents on the liturgy and music pull from these original documents. Very little has changed in the directives on music, even with Vatican II.
· For more reading on sacred music, see .
· If you are a parent spend some time thinking about how you can teach your children to practice the virtue of fortitude — read this article, , by James Stenson which offers some excellent advice.
· St. Cecilia's body was found to be incorrupt in the Catacombs of Saint Callistus. Her body was later moved to . See for some more information on the catacombs. Every year there is a festival, Festa di Santa Cecilia on her feast day at Santa Cecilia in Trastevere and Catacombs of San Callisto.
· Read the account from by Jacob Voragine about the life and death of St. Cecilia to your children.
· One legend of St. Cecilia tells of "pipes" played at her wedding. Although these pipes were probably the bagpipes common throughout Europe, ancient translations rendered the word "organ pipes." Consequently, St. Cecilia has often been portrayed near a pipe organ. Another legend calls her "the inventor of the organ," while another says an angel fell in love with her because of her musical skill. This heavenly visitant gave both her and her husband a crown of martyrdom, brought from heaven. With such ample fable and long-standing tradition, she is considered the patron of music and musicians. Since St. Cecilia is the patron of music (her music was the outpouring of a heart filled with love for God), have a family night of singing or playing instruments, or if you are not graced with musical talent, listen to some of the beautiful traditions the Church has in Her sacred music, such as Gregorian Chant and Polyphony.
In honor of the three blows of the blade to St. Cecilia offer up to God three hours of prayer BEFORE OUR Thanksgiving meal.
Fear Reason and the Last Judgement
“Let us prepare, then,” encouraged the Pope, to meet our judge with confidence and joyful trust in his promises.”
The Way Heart
"Read these counsels slowly. Pause to meditate on these thoughts. They are things that I whisper in your ear-confiding them-as a friend, as a brother, as a father. And they are being heard by God. I won't tell you anything new. I will only stir your memory, so that some thought will arise and strike you; and so you will better your life and set out along ways of prayer and of Love. And in the end you will be a more worthy soul."
Creatures for you? Creatures for God: if for you, then let it be for God's sake.
Schultz, Patricia. 1,000 Places to See Before You Die