Second Week in Advent – December 12, 2018 – Commemoration of St. Lucy
Saint Lucia of Syracuse
- Psalm 33:1-5,20-21
- Romans 8:31-39
Saint Lucia or “Lucy,” whose name means light, was born in
Syracuse to a wealthy, noble, family. Her father died when Lucy was about five
years old. As a young teen, Lucy, who’d been raised a devout Christian,
privately decided to consecrate her virginity to God, and devote her life and
possessions to God’s service. Lucy’s mother; suffering an illness, fearing for
her daughter’s future, and unaware of Lucy’s private decision, had arranged for
Lucy to marry a wealthy pagan man. Before the marriage, Lucy urged her mother
to take a pilgrimage to Agatha’s tomb. Agatha had been martyred years earlier.
Her tomb was less than 50 miles from Syracuse and legend of the healing
miracles that occurred there filtered back to Syracuse, convincing Lucy’s ill
mother to attempt the journey. On their pilgrimage, Lucy’s mother is said to
have had a vision which convinced her to allow Lucy to give away her wealth and
enter God’s service, breaking the marriage contract that had been arranged.
Lucy immediately began giving away her possessions to the sick, poor, and
Lucy became famous in Syracuse for her service. Legends tell
that she literally glowed with love of Christ. As Lucy’s reputation for devoted
service grew, so did Emperor Diocletian’s persecution of Christians. Christians
in Syracuse sought refuge in underground catacombs. Lucy, wearing a crown of
greens, lighted with candles to help her see, would carry armloads of supplies
and food to her fellow believers underground.
As word of Lucy’s deeds traveled, her former betrothed became
furious and turned her in to Roman authorities. Lucy was so beloved, the
governor was determined to get Lucy to recant her faith, thinking if she did,
the citizens of Syracuse would do the same, ending some political turmoil. Lucy
was tortured barbarically, yet would not refute her faith. Frustrated, the
governor eventually ordered a soldier to put Lucy to death.
Prepare for Christ’s birth by shining light in the darkest days, like Saint Lucy
- Start a new tradition. In many Scandinavian
countries, a family member is elected to play St. Lucy every year. “St. Lucy”
wears a crown lighted with candles, a white gown (to symbolize purity), and a
red sash (symbolizing martyrdom). She or he prepares coffee and sweet breads, serving
his or her family and greeting them with light just before dawn.
- Serve like Lucy. Take supplies to or volunteer
time at a food pantry, soup kitchen, animal shelter, or any other service
organization that may need time or supplies, especially during these coldest
and darkest days of the year.
Suggested Advent Wreath Lighting Prayer:
You light our way through these dark days. Stir us with your Spirit, so that we shine Christ’s love into the world . Amen