Dec 13 – Memorial for St. Lucy, virgin, martyr
Lucy (c. 283) was a rich, young Christian of Greek ancestry. She was raised in a pious family, and vowed her life to Christ. Her Roman father died when she was young. Her mother, Eutychia, arranged a marriage for her. For three years, she managed to keep the marriage on hold. To change the mother’s mind about the girl’s new faith, Lucy prayed at the tomb of St. Agatha, and her mother’s long haemorrhagic illness was cured. Her mother agreed with Lucy’s desire to live for God, and Lucy became known as a patron of those with maladies like her mother’s.
Her rejected pagan bridegroom, Paschasius, denounced Lucy as a Christian to the governor of Sicily, who sentenced her to forced prostitution. But when the guards went to fetch her, they could not move her even when they hitched her to a team of oxen. The governor ordered her killed instead. After torture that included having her eyes torn out, she was surrounded by bundles of wood which were set afire; they went out. She prophesied against her persecutors, and was executed by being stabbed to death with a dagger. Her name is listed in the prayer “Nobis quoque peccatoribus” in the Canon of the Mass.
Legend says that her eyesight was restored before her death. This and the meaning of her name led to her connection with eyes, the blind, eye trouble, etc.
- Patron Saint Index
‘To whom could you liken me and who could be my equal?’ says the Holy One.
Lift your eyes and look. Who made these stars if not he who drills them like an army, calling each one by name?
So mighty is his power, so great his strength, that not one fails to answer.
How can you say, Jacob, how can you insist, Israel, ‘My destiny is hidden from the Lord, my rights are ignored by my God’?
Did you not know? Had you not heard?
The Lord is an everlasting God, he created the boundaries of the earth. He does not grow tired or weary, his understanding is beyond fathoming. He gives strength to the wearied, he strengthens the powerless.
Young men may grow tired and weary, youths may stumble, but those who hope in the Lord renew their strength, they put out wings like eagles.
They run and do not grow weary, walk and never tire.
Jesus exclaimed, ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’
“They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar with eagles’ wings”
On January 3rd, it will be 2 years since my father passed away. It feels like he has been gone longer than that. Maybe it’s because I’ve held on resolutely to my grief. It’s the only thing I have left of him. If I let it go, I’m afraid the memory of him might fade. At his wake, they sang “On Eagle’s Wings”, one of his favorite songs. A line from the chorus goes, “And He will raise you up on eagles’ wings, bear you on the breath of dawn, make you shine like the sun and hold you in the palm of His hand”. Those lines perfectly capture my Dad. He fought so hard for so long. I think of him when I hear those lines. I’m hoping that where he is now, there is no exhaustion, no suffering, no regrets.
Dad wasn’t the perfect father. He could be stubborn and unreasonable, prone to selfishness even. And they certainly did not have the perfect marriage. But my parents gave me the greatest gift two people can give their child – my faith. They engaged God in every aspect of life, not just on the bad days when they were struggling. Cancer is one of the most traumatic events that can happen to a family. We can attest to that. Ironically, it also helped my family discover a deeper relationship with God. My parents would often text me the verse from Mathew, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest”, and tell me to give my distress up to God, as they had. On the especially bad days, my mother would say to me that she could “…do all things through Him who gives me strength” (Phil 4:13). Dad must have been fearful of death, but he would always say, “I’m not afraid of dying, I will just give it to God. Let Him decide”. They experienced their faith so deeply, on a daily basis. It was as if God was right there in their midst, like He walked them through their exhaustion and the futility of their circumstances.
As we approach the anniversary of my father’s passing, I realize that I never thanked him for giving me this gift of faith. The last words we exchanged were angry ones. Not one day goes by that I wish it hadn’t been so. The weight of regret is a heavy one. My father is gone, there is no taking back the harsh things I have said. The verse from Matthew says, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves”. It seems I will find no peace until I humble my own heart, surrender up my sadness and give my regrets up to God.
(Today’s Oxygen by Sharon Soo)
Prayer: I pray that wherever he might be, my father will know that I love him and deeply regret that our parting words were angry ones.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for our parents, teachers and spiritual mentors who have guided our faith and helped us to grow as Christians.