Friday, December 12, 2008

St. Lucy, 13 December

In the dark of winter, the Church presents us with the celebration of St. Lucy, virgin and martyr on December 13. Before the Gregorian reform of the calendar in 1522, her feast fell on the winter solstice. "Lucy" means light and her life ( follows that of other traditional accounts of the persecution of virgin-martyrs. She is the patron of the blind since part of her sufferings were the removal of her eyes. (In the picture, her sockets are empty and her eyes are on the plate.)
She is one saint for whom even the Lutherans maintained veneration, and St. Lucy Day customs still are observed in the Scandinavian countries. One of these consists in the daughters of the family to dress in white gowns and, with crowns of lighted candles on their heads, to serve their parent's breakfast. (This is risky and should only be done with plenty of water available!)
For all of us, living in the present darkness, a saint of light should make a good guide. After her feast, in the old calendar, the days began to get longer. Now that lengthening of light is rightly celebrated at Christmas. Even if the calendar does not cooperate, the example of a young girl's ardent faith in the midst of trials that most of us would never be able to endure should brace us for the difficulties of the present. May the Christ to whom she witnessed come and set us free!
Collect: Hear us, God our Savior, so that, as we celebrate with joy the festival of blessed Lucy, your virgin and martyr, we may learn to be loving and devout to you.

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