St. Lucy

In the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer I) from the Missal the name of St. Lucy, one of the early women martyrs is evoked.   The legend and tradition of this heroic woman is told as part of the patrimony of Christian hagiography.   Lucy was born in Syracuse (Sicily) in the year 283 to a Roman father and Greek mother.   Lucy’s story was widespread from the earliest days of the Church and has inspired Christians throughout the ages.  

As a young girl, Lucy consecrated her virginity to God and even refused to marry a young pagan man who angrily denounced her as a Christian to the Roman governor in Sicily.   This was during the persecution of Christians during the reign of the Emperor Diocletian.  Lucy was to be forced into prostitution in order to shame her.   To this Lucy famously responded “you cannot bend my will to your purpose; whatever you do to my body that cannot happen to me.”  Tradition has it that by an act of God’s grace, Lucy wasn’t able to be moved.   The soldier then tried to pile up wood around her so as to set her on fire and again was miraculously saved.   Some legends describe that a sword was driven through her neck, impaled she was still able to speak a prophetic words against her persecutors.   Finally, out of frustration and hatred, one of the soldiers tortured her by gouging out her eyes.   This last gruesome act is why St. Lucy is considered the patron of blind and those who suffer from diseases of the eyes. 

The story of St. Lucy, like that of the early Christian martyrs is a story not just of heroic virtue but that of a steadfast fidelity to the service of God.   Lucy had her gaze fixed on Jesus Christ; her eyes of beauty beheld the beauty that is the Lord Jesus.   Perhaps this may be the reason why the soldiers who in their cruelty were unable to behold the innocence in Lucy’s eyes.   What it must have been like for her to behold the glorious face of the Risen Lord, her reward for her faithful witness to the love that God has for us.  She did not allow the pleasures of life or the body to defile her love for her Lord.   Would that we could possess Lucy’s eyes, those eyes fixed on Jesus, never seeking anything other than him.  

As we prepare for to celebrate the birth of our Savior, let us pray that we too would have such a longing desire for Christ and to direct our will, our life to his service.   During this Advent season, let us pray that the Lord will help us to see clearly his will, his love and desire nothing more.  

In the Lord Jesus,
Fr. Vasquez


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