Update Feast of St Lucy, Lucia, Saint of Light

Procession Sweden for feast of St Lucy Source Wikipedia

The feast of St Lucy or Lucia, is celebrated today. Her name comes from the Latin word "lux" meaning light.The fortuitous genius of the liturgical cycle sees her feast on 13th December co-inciding with the days growing longer and in the Julian calendar was thought to be the shortest day of the year in the Northern hemisphere. Tomorrow sees the feast of St John of The Cross who wrote about the darkest nights of the soul. See previous post here.

Saint Lucy (283-304) was a young Sicilian woman who was martyred when she refused to marry a pagan nobleman.  Sentenced to be defiled in a brothel, legend has it that when the nobleman’s guards came to take her away she was immovable as a mountain. She suffered numerous tortures including having her eyes gouged out.  Another version of the story has Lucy taking out her own eyes because her would-be husband admired them.  Saint Lucy is the patron saint of the blind, of eye disorders and the protector of sight. The Catholic Church describes her as “One of the brightest ornaments of the Sicilian Church”.  She is often portrayed in religious paintings holding a golden plate upon which her eyes rest.  In Sweden her feast day is vividly celebrated with processions in which the youngest girl of the house wears a headdress of candles. 

So thanks to St Lucia, amongst many other things, she is a patron saint of light. May her radiant light shine on all those experiencing darkness today and let us share some of the light and integrity of her vision in our own lives.

St Lucia procession in Sweden, Image source Wikipedia

I hope this beautiful hymn by Samuel Barber and Morten Lauridsen fits the occasion.

Sure on this shining night

Of star-made shadows round

Kindness must watch for me

This side the ground

The late year lies down the north,

All is headed, all is health

High summer holds the earth,

Hearts all whole

Sure on this shining night

I weep for wonder

Wandering far alone

Of shadows on the stars.

James Agee (1909-1955) - “Description of Elysium”, from Permit Me Voyage, 1934
Click here for some interesting commentary here on the writer of this poem by James Agee and a discussion of its meaning.

Right on cue -  a video of Pope Francis greeting German and Czech pilgrims who came to the Vatican for this evening's lighting of the Vatican Christmas tree in St. Peter's Square. 
There's some awesome head gear on view in this and who chose the music?!

No comments: