Princes have persecuted me without cause, and my heart hath been in awe of Thy words: I will rejoice at Thy words, as one that hath found great spoil. —Communion Antiphon for the Feast of Saint LucyPraised Be Jesus!
I hope everyone is having a fruitful Advent season preparing for a new dawn, the coming of the Lord into our hearts at Christmas!
Anyone who knows me well enough will tell you that I have always been in love with the Virgin Martyrs, and the Advent Season is chock-full of biggies: Saint Cecilia, Saint Barbara, and Saint Lucy. I think that our modern culture and our modern view of our Roman Catholic faith diminish the role of these strong (and often very young) women in lieu of their male counterparts. What these women represent and effectively took into action is freedom in Jesus Christ: These women rose above the patriarchal society they lived in — and all through love and dedication to Christ alone.
We can look at the story of Saint Lucy, a young woman who had promised her perpetual virginity to Christ, but sadly, her parents had other plans for her. This eventually lead to the miraculous conversion of her husband and her gruesome martyrdom, where her eyes were gauged out and miraculously restored. Lucy is a cornerstone of the Advent Season, since her name effectively means light, and her feast is surrounded by images of light and candles — especially since it is the darkest time of the year.
I think Lucy is a prime example of what the Virgin Martyrs teach us in two ways. In Lucy, we have a prime example of what it means to "see" and not just to see with our eyes. Our spiritual sight has been diminished by sin, but through God's power, our sight can be miraculously restored. And what do we see when our sight is restored? We see the glorious light of Christ. There's a beautiful icon called Christ the Lightgiver. It is through Christ that we are able to see. It is in Him that we navigate through the darkness. He is the only true way to follow. It is in this second way that Lucy is typical to Virgin Martyrs, since she is truly free in Christ because she sees.
|Christ the Lightgiver|
When we are in darkness, we are confined. We don't want to move, out of fear of being hurt, but when we have a light, we can move around freely without the fear of danger. It is this that Lucy encapsulates. There's another interpretation of the phrase "pure of heart" that goes beyond the meaning of sexual purity, which surely Lucy exhibited. "Pure of heart" can also mean single-heartedness, one whose heart is not divided, and what does the Lord say about the pure of heart? That they will see God!! It is this that Lucy exemplifies; it is this that the virgin martyrs teach us, that to have true freedom in Christ and to see God clearly, our hearts must be undivided. They must seek Christ in all things, and then, we will have the light to see God, whatever our vocation. If we seek God's will in all things, we will always be truly free, and we will never stumble aimlessly through the darkness. May this Christmas season we always seek the Light of Christ which is coming into the world, and may the Light of Jesus be born within us anew so like Lucy, we may be beacons of light to lead many without fear to Christ.
Prayer to Saint Lucy
O God, our Creator and Redeemer, mercifully hear our prayers that as we venerate your servant, Saint Lucy, for the light of faith you bestowed upon her, you would increase and preserve this same light in our souls that we may be able to avoid evil, to do good, and to abhor nothing so much as the blindness and the darkness of evil and of sin. Relying on your goodness, O God, we humbly ask you, by the intercessory prayers of your servant, Saint Lucy, that you would give perfect vision to our eyes, that they may serve for your greater honor and glory and for the salvation of our souls in this world, that we may come to the enjoyment of your unfailing light of the Lamb of God in paradise. Saint Lucy, virgin and martyr, hear our prayers and obtain our petitions. Amen.