‘Today’s feast can easily be harmonised with Advent themes. The very name Lucy pulsates with light, a living symbol amid the season’s darkness (the days are now the shortest of the year). As a wise virgin Lucy advances with a burning lamp to meet the Bridegroom. She typifies the Church and the soul now preparing their bridal robes for a Christmas marriage.
That the famous Sicilian martyr really lived may be deduced from the great popular veneration accorded her since most ancient times. The Acts detailing her sufferings, however, merit little credence. According to these she made a pilgrimage to Catonia with her mother, who suffered from haemorrhage, to venerate the body of St Agatha. After praying devoutly at the tomb, Agatha appeared to her in a dream and consoled her: “O virgin Lucy, why do you ask of me what you yourself can procure for your mother? For your faith too has come to her aid and therefore she has been cured. By your virginity you have indeed prepared for God a lovely dwelling”. And her mother actually was healed.
Immediately Lucy asked permission to remain a virgin and to distribute her future dowry among Christ’s poor. Child and mother returned to their native city of Syracuse, and Lucy proceeded to distribute the full proceeds from the sale of her property among the poor. When a young man, to whom Lucy’s parents had promised the virgin's hand against her will, had heard of the development, he reported her to the city prefect as a Christian. “Your words will be silenced”, the prefect said to her, “when the storm of blows falls upon you!” The virgin: “To God’s servants the right words will not be wanting, for the Holy Spirit speaks in us”. “Yes”, she continued, “all who live piously and chastely are temples of the Holy Spirit”. “Then”, he replied, “I shall order you put with prostitutes and the Holy Spirit will depart from you”. Lucy: “If I am dishonoured against my will, my chastity will secure for me a double crown of victory”.
Aflame with anger, the judge imposed the threatened order. But God made the virgin solidly firm in her place and no force could move her. “With such might did the Holy Spirit hold her firm that the virgin of Christ remained immovable”. Thereupon they poured heated pitch and resin over her: “I have begged my Lord Jesus Christ that this fire have no power over me. And in testimony of Him I have asked a postponement of my death”. When she had endured all this without the least injury, they pierced her throat with a sword. Thus she victoriously ended her martyrdom’.
from The Church’s Year of Grace, 1953, by Pius Parsch, 1884-1954
O Lord our Saviour, who art the true Light that lighteneth every man: graciously hear us; that like as we do rejoice in the festival of blessed Lucy, thy Virgin and Martyr, so we may learn to follow her in all godly and devout affections; who liveth and reigneth with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
Fr Lee Kenyon