Saint Cecilia stained glass window in St. Mary the Virgin, Little Wymondley, Hertfordshire, England.
by Dave Brubeck
“Bind me–I can still sing–
Strikes true within–
Slay–and my soul shall rise
Chanting to Paradise–
These lines by Emily Dickinson seem to be a description of Saint Cecilia. They express an emotion and a faith known to us whose lives are immersed in music.
Music composed for the greater glory of God must come from a very personal religious conviction that motivates the composer to try to express belief in God through music. The text is usually biblical, but it may be a poem or a myth, or it may simply offer praise for all God’s creation. . . .
Music composed for the sake of God’s glory must also draw in the audience. If the conductor can create a unity among the soloists, the chorus, the instrumentalists and the listeners, it is an inspired performance. Then Saint Cecilia is hovering over the entire assemblage.”
excerpted from “Saint Cecilia: Patron of Musicians,” in Patrons and Protectors: Occupations, Art and Commentary by Michael O’Neill McGrath, OSFS; Liturgy Training Publications 2001.