Celebrating St. Lucy

Today, 13th of December, the Church commemorates the feast of Saint. Lucy. There are many interesting traditions and customs associated with this saint, especially in the Scandinavian countries. You can check them out here and here.

On a spiritual note, Saint Lucy is one of seven women, aside from the Blessed Virgin Mary, commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass. Hagiography states that Lucy was a Christian martyr during the Diocletian persecution. She consecrated her virginity to God through pious works refused to marry a pagan betrothed, and had her wedding dowry distributed to the poor. Her betrothed pagan groom denounced her as a Christian to the governor of Syracuse, Sicily. Miraculously unable to move her or burn her (they tried with 50 men and 150 oxen to move her!), the guards took out her eyes with a fork. In another version, Lucy's betrothed admired her eyes, so she tore them out and gave them to him, saying, "Now let me live for God”. Extreme and gory as all this sounds, we are reminded that, today, more than ever, our world needs saints. During the celebration of the Eucharist this morning, we sang a beautiful hymn which reminds us that each one of us is called to be a saint:“Le monde attende le passage des saints, là oú les saints passent Dieu passe avec eux, soyez saints come Dieu, soyez saints comme Dieu.”
In English, it translates as: “The world waits for saints to pass by, where the saints pass by, God passes with them, be saints like God, be saints like God.”

How many of us can say that when we walk among others, Christ walks among them? What does our presence bring? Holiness, light, hope, love or is it despair, unease, doubt or even worse? Saint Lucy was not afraid to stand up for Christ because the promises of the Lord are so abundant and she trusted in Him that He would be faithful to the end.

Today’s first reading from the Book of Isaiah is precisely this proof: "For I am the Lord, your God, who grasp your right hand..." Taking us by the hand, we are lead through each step of the journey of life, stumbling at times but the grasp of God is firm. This is our Advent hope! We continue to 'prepare the way of the Lord' despite the twists and crookedness in our life. John the Baptist calls upon us to make way for the Lord by creating a straight path, filling the valleys and leveling the mountains; he calls upon us with faith in the human spirit that we can do it. We can respond. We can rise to the occasion, so to speak.

Ignatius of Loyola shared the same faith in human nature. He prescribes that as one aims for a realistic knowledge of self, one must first look at one’s blessings and goodness. He specifically says this must be the first step in the process and with this positive grounding one is better equipped to face one’s shortcomings and sinfulness. Hence, Advent is a good time to be reconciled with the Lord and receive his mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is a time of renewal. It is a time for new beginnings. Let us begin by believing in the good that lies within us. Let us love ourselves again because God loves us and desires that we walk the way of holiness, cost what it may!