A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
Xiao Xue (小雪, Lesser Snow). Start of the twentieth of the twenty-four traditional Chinese solar terms, the second of Winter when the sun reaches the celestial longitude of 240° and there is the first glimpse of snow as the chill of winter sets in. According to an old Chinese saying: “If the sky is full of snow during Minor Snow, next year will be a harvest year.” The right kind of weather during Lesser Snow can benefit the agricultural sector with low temperatures killing hidden pests and bacteria in the soil and a snow cover acting like a blanket to keep the soil warm. In most of north China, the temperature will drop below zero and it is the best time to start preserving pork and vegetables for storage for the 1 February Chinese Lunar New Year Spring Festival. In south China, people eat sausages, sun-dried fish and glutinous rice cakes for energy at the start of Winter. The next solar term, from when the sun reaches the celestial longitude of 255° is Daxue (大雪,Major Snow), from 6 to 21 December. Image: news.cgtn.com.
Sancta Caecilia (St Cecilia) (c200-c230). Feast Day and Church of England commemoration of the noble Roman martyr, the first of the incorrupt saints. Despite her vow of virginity, she was forced by her parents to marry the Pagan nobleman Valerian but during the wedding she sat apart, singing to God in her heart. She told her husband of an angel watching over her and asked him to respect her virginity. He was baptised and he saw the angel crowning her with a chaplet of roses and lilies. The martyrdom of Cecilia in Sicily followed that of her husband and she lived for three days after being struck by the sword. She petitioned the Pope that her home be converted into a church and that wish was fulfilled in the Fourth Century with the founding of the Church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere. Having been buried in the Catacomb of Callixtus on the Appian Way, her remains were translated there the Ninth Century. In 1599, during renovation of the church, her body was found still incorrupt, seeming to be asleep. The Sixteenth Century Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome is one of the oldest musical institutions in the world. The 1882 St Cecilia’s Abbey, Ryde, Isle of Wight nuns live a traditional monastic life of prayer and work, following the Rule of St Benedict. A miniature Saint Cecilia beneath Worcester Cathedral featured on the reverse of the Edward Elgar £20 banknote withdrawn in 2010. Venerated in Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and some Lutheran churches, such as the Church of Sweden. Major shrine Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome. Patron of hymns, music, pipe organs, great musicians, poets, Albi, France, Archdiocese of Omaha, Mar del Plata, Argentina. Image: m.facebook.com.
Prayer St. Cecilia, we ask for your intercession because you generously offered your life for the love of Jesus, to Whom you were devoted with your heart and soul. Graciously hear our prayers. Amen.
Santo Mauro (St Maurus OSB, Saint Maur) (512-584). Feast Day for the African son of a Roman nobleman who offered him to the monastery of Saint Benedict of Nursia at Subiaco to be educated. Maurus was ordained a deacon and Benedict, before to leaving for Monte Cassino, appointed him coadjutor at Subiaco, where various miraculous cures were attributed to Mauro’s prayers. Around 528, Benedict summoned Maurus to join him at Monte Cassino and around 543 sent him with other monks to Gaul, on which journey Mauro obtained a number of cures for the sick. Legend is that Mauro founded the Merovingian monastery, of which he was Abbot until 581, on the site of the later Ninth-Century Benedictine Glanfeuil Abbey on the Loire thirty kilometres east of Angers, where the Chenin (pineau de la Loire) Savagnin (vin jaune) grape was first cultivated. Mauro spent his last years in solitude and prayer and died at Glanfeuil on 15 January 584. During Norse raids In 868, his remains of were translated to the Abbey of Saint-Pierre-des-Fossés on the Marne outside Paris and his cult slowly spread to monasteries throughout France and by the Eleventh Century was adopted by Monte Cassino along with a revived cult of St Placidus. By the late Middle Ages, their cult had spread to all Benedictine monasteries and in 1750 Mauro’s relics were translated to Saint-Germain-des-Prés Abbey near the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, where they remained until dispersed by a Parisian mob during the 1790s French Revolution. Saint Maurus is still venerated by Benedictine congregations as far away as Kerala. The Blessing of Saint Maur is customarily bestowed on the sick with a relic of the true Cross being represented since 1959 by a medal of St Benedict. Patron of The Azores, cripples, charcoal burners, cobblers, coppersmiths, shoemakers. Sts Maurus and Placidus are venerated together on 5 October. Image: picclick.co.uk.