On the day her father ordered the marriage to take place, Cecilia sat alone, apart from the other guests. She took no part in the feasting, but prayed that God might come to her aid. After the ceremony, when she was alone with her husband, she said to him: "Valerian, I have a secret to tell you. I belong to another person, and he is very jealous of me. I have an angel to guard me. But if you will love me only as a sister, then he will love you as he loves me."

Valerian grew angry and suspicious at her words. "Show me this angel," he replied at last. "If he is truly from God, I will respect your wishes, but if he is human, then both of you shall die."

"If you believe in the living and one true God," his young wife replied, "and receive the water of baptism, then you shall see the angel."

At length, Valerian agreed. He found a holy bishop named Urban, and told him that he wished to be baptised a Christian. When this was done, Valerian returned to Cecilia, and there, standing by her side, he saw an angel with flaming wings.

The angel placed on each of their heads a crown of roses and lilies. As they received the garlands, they were joined by Valerian's brother, Tiburtius, who gazed at the angel with unbelieving eyes.

Then, gently and sweetly, Cecilia began to tell him of the power and love of God, and as he listened, he grew convinced that he too must become a Christian. Thereupon, the angel placed upon his head a similar garland of roses and lilies and disappeared.

From that moment, Valerian and Tiburtius devoted their days to prayer and to the care of the sick. And soon they were joined by one of the prefect's own officers, Maximus.

(The material on this page from the Catholic Book of Knowledge by Rev. Leonard Boase)

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