Advent Saints – St. Lucy by Deacon Marty McIndoe
During this Advent season we see that each day gets shorter until we reach the Winter Solstice. There is more darkness and less light. During Advent we celebrate light, by lighting the Advent candles and awaiting Jesus, the Light of the World. December 13th we celebrate the Advent Saint of Light, St. Lucy. She was born in the late 200’s and died in 304 as a Martyr. There are many legends about her and it is difficult to know exactly how true they all are, but at the very least, she was a young Sicilian girl who gave herself to Jesus as a Virgin. She was killed for her decision to follow Jesus.
It appears that St. Lucy had a mother who arranged a marriage for her to a pagan man, but St. Lucy said that she wanted to remain a Virgin and give herself completely to Jesus. Since her mother was very stubborn about this and pushed Lucy towards marriage, Lucy turned in prayer to St. Agatha for assistance. St. Agatha appeared to Lucy and told her that she could persuade her mother by showing her the power of Jesus. St. Agatha said that Lucy’s mother would be healed from a serious illness that plagued her. Lucy’s mother was healed and she committed her life to Jesus. She stopped forcing the marriage and allowed St. Lucy to give her marriage dowry to the poor.
The man that Lucy was to marry was upset by this and told the governor, Paschalis, that Lucy was a Christian (illegal at that time). The governor then wanted to defile Lucy and sent troops to her home to carry her off to a brothel. Lucy refused to go and the troops were unable to move her. They even hitched a team of oxen to her, but she could not be moved. At that point they piled wood around her to burn her, but the wood refused to burn. They finally resorted to using their swords and initially gouged out her eyes and then killed her. Later, when her body was being prepared for burial, they noticed that her eyes had been restored.
Lucy was venerated from the very early days of the Church. Her body remained in Sicily for about 400 years before being transferred to Abruzzi, Italy. In 972 her body was moved to St. Vincent’s Church in Metz and divided up and several pieces of her body can be found in Rome, Naples, Verona, Lisbon, Milan, Germany, France and Sweden. Her name is mentioned in Eucharistic Prayer I, the oldest of our Eucharistic prayers. St. Lucy is the Patron Saint of the Blind and all eye diseases.
I have found only one quote that is attributed to Lucy. It is, “No one’s body is polluted so as to endanger the soul if it has not pleased the mind. If you were to lift my hand to your idol and so make me offer against my will, I would still be guiltless in the sight of the true God, who judges according to the will and knows all things. If now, against my will, you cause me to be polluted, a twofold purity will be gloriously imputed to me. You cannot bend my will to your purpose; whatever you do to my body, that cannot happen to me.”
— Saint Lucy of Syracuse