Monday, December 13, 2010

St Lucia of Syracuse

Born: 283 :: Died: 304 
St. Lucia (Lucy) was born to a noble and prosperous family in Syracuse on the island of Sicily.
It was in the days of Diocletian and his persecution of Christian's that Lucia carried food and drink to Christians hiding in dark underground tunnels. In order To light her way she wore a wreath of candles on her head.

Lucia's father was long dead and her ailing widowed mother planned to marry the beautiful young Lucia to a pagan bachelor.  Lucia however had no interest in marriage and spurned the suggestion of marriage and told her mother she had no want of worldly goods and she had vowed to remain a virgin in the tradition of St. Agatha, at whose tomb she regularly prayed for help and for three years she managed to keep the marriage on hold. Lucy prayed long at the tomb of St Agatha.
Miraculously her mother's long hemorrhagic illness was cured and to show her gratitude to her devout daughter the grateful mother was ready to exceed to Lucia's wish to give herself to prayer and poverty and commit her life to god.

The young pagan suitor, Paschasius, was less understanding and was so angry that he denounced her as a Christian to the Roman authorities.
In keeping with the Emperor Diocletian's edict to eradicate Christianity the Roman governor sentenced her to be taken to a brothel and forced into prostitution.

The Romans were thwarted in their efforts after divine intervention as Lucia became rooted to the spot and was thus immovable and the Romans could not carry her away even when they hitched her to a team of oxen.
Not to be diverted after they tortured her and tore her eyes out the Romans next condemned her to death by fire, she was surrounded by bundles of wood which were set on fire but after another divine intervention she proved impervious to the flames.
In the end a roman soldier pierced her neck with a sword and she died.
Miraculously her eyes and eyesight were restored before her death!  St. Lucia is the patron saint of the blind.

The celebrations of St. Lucia's day are wonderful!

When Christianity reached Scandinavia St Lucia dethroned a pagan Norse goddess (Freya) to become the most revered female figure.

It is ironic that St Lucia of Syracuse revered St. Agatha so and prayed often at her tomb
as there were many parallels in their lives.

St Lucia was a virgin martyr and one of the most illustrious figures in the Christian world. Her relics are preserved in Venice.

This what Father Z has to tell us about St. Lucy in his post, St. Lucy and Advent Ember Week.
13 December was the darkest day of the old Julian calendar.  Thus, today in the Gregorian calendar is the feast of St. Lucy, whose name from the Latin for “light”, reminds us who dwell in the still darkening northern hemisphere that our days will soon be getting longer again.
Lucy will usually be depicted in art with a lantern or with her own eyes on a platter.  Some accounts have Lucy slain by having her throat thrust through with sword.  Other accounts say that to protect her virginity she disfigured herself by cutting her own eyes out and sending them to her suitor, a plot likely to discourage him.  St. Lucy is therefore the patroness of sight.
St. Lucy shows up fairly often in Dante’s great Divine Comedy.  She is first in the Inferno.  It is Lucy who asked Beatrice to help Dante.  In Purgatory the eagle that bears Dante upward in a dream is actually Lucy who is bearing him to the gate of Purgatory.  Eagles, of course, are “eagle-eyed” and see very well.  In the Paradiso she is placed directly across from Adam in the Heaven of the Rose.  She can gaze directly at God.  It seems that St. Lucy was something of a patroness for Dante and that he was devoted to her because, as we glean from various works, he may have had a problem not just with his eyes but also struggling with sins of the eyes.
This week we also have Ember Days, which in Advent come after the Feast of St. Lucy.     Ember Wednesday will be the Missa aurea.
Missa aurea = Golden Mass

Here is how the St. John Cantius Parish blog describes Missa aurea:
The Mass of Ember Wednesday is known as the “Missa Aurea,” or Golden Mass, because on this day the Church celebrates the “golden mystery” of the Faith: Mary’s “fiat” at the Annunciation brought about the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity in her womb. Throughout the ages, this Mass has been celebrated with great solemnity. In the Middle Ages, the great St. Bernard of Clairvaux preached his homilies on the Gospel of the day which begins with the words “Missus est.” If it is at all possible, we should teach our children to observe this solemnity, first of all by participating as a family and parochial group at the solemn Mass of the day.

1 comment:

Soutenus said...

In researching this post I came across a stellar comment. Here it is:
Terry Nelson said...

Seriously - I find it amazing that today Catholic women and men marry pagans all the time - yet Lucy died rather than do so.

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