Reflection for Tuesday, November 22, 2016: Memorial of St. Cecilia.

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Naatz, Susan
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Last summer during my annual retreat two beautiful mantras became part of my daily prayer.  One was from Psalm 46, verse 1:  Be still and know that I am God.  The other phrase that emerged was:  Be here now.  In both cases I felt that God was gently nudging me to take those words into my heart and to live each day in the spirit of those sacred phrases.  Throughout my retreat I reflected on how God was speaking to me as I prayed and took long walks in nature.|The deepest connections I made with God during my retreat occurred as I listened to music.|Today is the Feast Day of Saint Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr.  She is also the Patron Saint of music. Music has been an integral part of my life since childhood.  Music was a profound, deep and lifetime connection between my parents (who met in the St. Cecilia Cathedral choir!)  They in turn shared their love of music with their eight children.  We prayed to St. Cecilia and at times we thought she was our own family saint.  We were taught and we embraced the principle that music was a form of prayer.  I have found joy, peace, comfort and healing through music.|Since my summer retreat I have continued to pray with those two phrases which were whispered into my heart.  My reflections have helped me realize that I need to be aware of the choices I make each day.  For example, I recently decided that in order for me to be still, I simply had to avoid the news for a few days.  It had become evident to me that my exposure to violence in any form (from angry rhetoric to news reports of people hurting/fighting against one another) was having a tremendous, negative impact on my energy and spirit.   It had also created a sense of fearfulness in my life as I worried about political rancor, crime, disrespect in public life, safety etc.   Walking away from the news was a tremendous relief and it gave me a chance to simply breathe…to be still and to be present to my life and relationships.  The fear and anxiety melted away.|Luke's gospel today offers an invitation for us to find peace through the words of Jesus. Jesus invites his followers to not be terrified by the challenges and fearful happenings of the world.  He explains to them that they should not allow fear to become a driving element in their life.  He invites us to do the same.  Are we searching for God's peace or are we caught up in the cacophony of negativity hurled at us through social media and the news?  |We live in a world that is constantly abuzz and technologically over-connected.  We are continually exposed to scenes of trauma and sorrow.  We can't completely block out the world but we can search for stillness and define what stillness means in our own life.  Whether it's through music, prayer, meditation, poetry, art, a long walk in nature, enjoying lunch with a friend or reading a beautifully written book stillness is within our reach.  Be still and know that I am God.|May we each find the peace and stillness we require in order to hear the whispers of God and learn how to be here now.  St. Cecilia, pray for us and guide us on our path.   
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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