Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Fear Not; Accept It

December 13, 2007

Memorial of Saint Lucy, virgin and martyr

I will open up rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the broad valleys; I will turn the desert into a marshland, and the dry ground into springs of water. I will plant in the desert the cedar, acacia, myrtle, and olive; I will set in the wasteland the cypress, together with the plane tree and the pine, that all may see and know, observe and understand, that the hand of the LORD has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it. Isaiah 41:18-20

Whoever has ears ought to hear. Matthew 11:15


St. Lucy, in this season of promise, as we wait for the fulfillment of promises and hope we ask you to intervene for our sakes with the Lord of goodness. Help us to accept what comes out way as you did – with faith, not fear. Pray with us that God will open our eyes to appreciate the beauty of this world; open our ears to hear His word; open our mouths that we may spread the Word; and open our hearts to act on His commands. Amen.


Santa Lucia is the patron saint of the mariners in Naples (O dolce Napoli) and the gondoliers in Venice near the church bearing her name. She was martyred in the Middle Ages after pledging her dowry to protect the poor of Sicily and refusing to enter into an arranged marriage with a non-Christian.

The familiar (to some) Italian song, Santa Lucia, is a tribute to St. Lucy. The song (sung by Caruso, Pavarotti, Perry Como and Elvis Presley among others) is an invitation of a sailor in Naples to have people board his boat and enjoy the view of the town as the sun sets. According to tradition, “it is night and the moon is reflected in the sea. He tells us of the indescribable magic that one can feel while watching the boats in the sea; how they sail softly, driven by a gentle breezes. The boatman invites people to board his boat saying how you will admire the sea and the city of Naples.”

Just as the song celebrates the evening light that casts the bay of Naples into a beautiful scene, St. Lucy is known as the “Queen of the Lights” because her feast day was traditionally held on the shortest day of the year (Winter Solstice). After her feast, the days lengthen and light became more plentiful.

Just as the light better illuminates the world, Isaiah shares with us how the Lord will turn the wastelands into luminous landscapes. No matter what means or methods which humanity resorts to delay or avoid the coming of the Kingdom of God, we are as powerless to stop its coming as we would be to stop the sun from rising in the morning.

Nothing can stop what was prophesied from becoming reality. Jesus too reminds us to accept it. Just as St. Lucy did not fear her fate at the hands of civil authorities, Jesus reminds us, too, not to fear the kingdom which John the Baptist announces.


According to the website Catholic Culture, “Today's feast can easily be harmonized 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.”

Choose one of the customs for St. Lucy's feast and try it with your family. See Celebrating for the Feast of St. Lucy, Swedish Lucia Feast, and St. Lucia Devotions.

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