The "Acts" of St. Cecilia say that she was brought up as a Christian amidst all the luxury of a patrician family in pagan Rome. Though she had vowed virginity, her father forced her to marry a young pagan named Valerian. Cecilia told Valerian of her vow, and he was converted by a vision of her guardian angel. Later, Valerian and his brother Tiburtius (also a convert) were beheaded for having given burial to Christian martyrs. When Cecilia interred the bodies of Valerian and Tiburtius at her villa on the Appian Way, she herself was arrested. After the persecutors had tried unsuccessfully to suffocate her in the bathroom of her own home, she was beheaded. St. Cecilia has been chosen as the saint of musicians because of the following sentence in her "Acts," "While the instruments were playing [at her wedding feast] profane music, Cecilia sang rather to God in her heart."
INTROIT Ps. 118:46-47
I spoke of Your testimonies before kings, and I was not ashamed; I meditated on Your commandments, which I loved dearly.
Ps. 118:1 Blessed are they who are undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.
V. Glory be . . .
We are made happy, O God, by the annual feast of Your blessed virgin martyr Cecilia. May we be inspired by the example of Your saint, as we honor her in this Mass. Through Our Lord . . .
LESSON Eccli. 51:13-17
O Lord my God, You have exalted my dwelling place upon the earth and I have prayed for death to pass away. I called upon the Lord, the Father of my Lord, that He would not leave me in the day of my trouble, and in the time of the proud without help. I will praise Your name continually, and will praise it with thanksgiving, and my prayer was heard. And You have saved me from destruction, and have delivered me from the evil time. Therefore I will give thanks, and praise You, O Lord our God.
GRADUAL Ps. 44:11, 12, 5
Hear, O daughter, and see; turn your ear, for the king greatly desires your beauty. V. In your splendor and your beauty, make ready, ride on triumphant, and rule.
Alleluia, alleluia! V. Matt. 25:4, 6
The five wise virgins took oil in their vessels with the lamps. And at midnight a cry arose, "Behold, the bridegroom is coming, go forth to meet Christ the Lord."
GOSPEL Matt. 25:1-13
At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable, "Then shall the kingdom of heaven be like to ten virgins, who taking their lamps went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride. And five of them were foolish and five wise. But the five foolish, having taken their lamps, did not take oil with them. But the wise took oil in their vessels with the lamps. And the bridegroom tarrying, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made: 'Behold the bridegroom cometh. Go ye forth to meet him.' Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise: 'Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out.' The wise answered, saying: 'Lest perhaps there be not enough for us and for you, go ye rather to them that sell and buy for yourselves.' Now whilst they went to buy the bridegroom came: and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage. And the door was shut. But at last came also the other virgins, saying: 'Lord, Lord, open to us.' But he answering said: 'Amen I say to you, I know you not.' Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour."
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Ps. 44:15, 16
Behind her the virgins shall be led to the king; her friends shall be brought to you with gladness and joy; they shall be led into the temple of the king, Our Lord.
May this offering, established to atone for our sins and bestow Your peace, O Lord, make us always worthy of Your forgiveness through the intercession of Your virgin martyr Cecilia. Through Our Lord . . .
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Ps. 118:78, 80
Let the proud be put to shame for having unjustly harmed me; but as for me, I will observe Your commandments and Your precepts, that I may not be confounded.
O Lord, You have feasted Your family with the Food of Heaven. May we always be refreshed through the intercession of Your saint whose feast we celebrate this day. Through Our Lord . . .