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Saturday, November 22, 1997

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St. Cecilia

1 Maccabees 6:1-13
Psalm 9
Luke 20:27-40

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your death

"All seven died." —Luke 20:31

How will you die? Will it be at your home or at a nursing home? Will you die suddenly or slowly? Will you die in pain or in peace or in both? Will you die alone or surrounded by family and friends? Will you live to see Jesus' second coming and thereby not die?

These are good questions. A more important question, however, is: "Will we die as sons and daughters of the resurrection?" (Lk 20:36) Or will we die in sin (Jn 8:21, 24), spiritually blinded by sin (1 Jn 2:11), and even blinded to the blindness of sin? (see Is 29:9)

King Antiochus died in deep depression (1 Mc 6:8, 11). He "for no cause gave orders that the inhabitants of Judah be destroyed" (1 Mc 6:12). He had been so cruel as to put to death "women who had had their children circumcised" (1 Mc 1:60). He even hung their babies from the necks of these murdered mothers (1 Mc 1:61). After these atrocities, King Antiochus was in such denial that just before his death, he said: "I was kindly and beloved in my rule" (1 Mc 6:12).

Will you die like King Antiochus — in sin, spiritual blindness, self-deception, and denial? Or will you die in grace, after receiving Communion, and in communion with the Lord and His Church?

Let us pray: "Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death." St. Joseph, patron of a happy death, pray for us.

Prayer:  Father, may I be ready to die at any time — even now.

Promise:  "They become like angels and are no longer liable to death." —Lk 20:36

Praise:  Cecilia died a slow, painful martyr's death. Although she couldn't talk due to the pain, she is said to have died giving witness to her faith, holding out three fingers, one for each Person of the Holy Trinity.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, March 22, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 26, 1997