It’s Saint Lucy’s Day, the Feast of Saint Lucy! Who is she you ask? Lucy is a martyr of the third century. During the Diocletianic Persecution, Saint Lucy brought “food and aid to Christians hiding in the catacombs. “Using a candle-lit wreath” to light her way and leave her hands free to carry as much food as possible”. Her feast at one time coincided with the Winter Solstice, and her feast day is a festival of light. I say it is a festival of light though the festival is little celebrated. Falling within the Advent season, Saint Lucy’s Day is viewed as “beacon shining before Christmastide”, and leads the way to Christmas day. Her name means light (Lux). In art she is frequently depicted as holding her eyes on a platter.
Lucy was a martyr. The Diocletian Persecution was one where people were forced to worship the pagan gods of Rome, to give the offerings, and to celebrate those feast days. To this Lucy resisted, and aided others in their resistance. Her feast is a good time to remembers those more recently that face religious persecution. That type of persecution has a long history, and today it rages on. This is a fitting time to remember those who suffered for Christianity, particularly those of the Mid-East that are persecuted today. They are contemporary martyrs, and their numbers are growing. Remembrance also of those who battle more subtle forms of persecution should not be forgotten. Those are belittled by a global secularism. A small point to remember.
For tradition; Lucy’s Day is celebrated most commonly in Scandinavia. Sankta Lucia is represented as a lady in a white dress and red sash with a crown or wreath of candles on her head. Throughout Scandinavia girls dressed as Lucy carry rolls and cookies in procession as songs are sung. Boys participate in the procession as well, playing different roles associated with Christmas. Those northerners’ say that to vividly celebrate Saint Lucy’s Day will help one live the long winter days with enough light. This speaks to tradition, and traditions that are being rapidly lost. The Christ child is the light of the world. The challenges of today.
In the gospel Mt 21:28-32 Jesus poses a question. He asks one son to go into the vineyard to labor, and that son at first refuses but has a change of heart. The question is addressed to a second son who agrees to the task but never completes it .The question is who did the Fathers will? The question is presented to chief elders, and they are intelligent people. Does the question seem complicated? Does it involve trickery or deceit? Is it hard to answer? What do you think? To me it is simple, and I am no scholar. The first son was reluctant but obedient. The second quick to answer, but negligent to act . The question is a commentary on those leaders leadership. Quick to reply, and hesitant to act. Right answer, wrong action. What is more important, the action or the response? My guess is it’s the action. The question speaks to empty words and promises. It speaks to a lack of commitment. Flash. Actions speak louder than words. It pits sincerity against insincerity. It speaks of humble actions, like those of Lucia’s, against grandiose speech. A humble and contrite heart the LORD will not spurn.
Here is a prayer to Saint Lucy, the patron of eyes:
Whose beautiful name signifies ‘LIGHT’
by the light of faith which God bestowed upon you
increase and preserve His light in my soul
so that I may avoid evil,
Be zealous in the performance of good works
and abhor nothing so much as the blindness and
the darkness of evil and sin.
Obtain for me, by your intercession with God
Perfect vision for my bodily eyes
and the grace to use them for God’s greater honour and glory
and the salvation of souls.
St. Lucy, virgin and martyr
hear my prayers and obtain my petitions.