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*†ç Right in the midst of Advent, we celebrated the Feast of Saint Lucy (Santa Lucia) of Syracuse, whose very name means light, a light we will celebrate again wildly on this momentous New Year's eve *** @;-)P

The power of Saints is that they each point us and bring each more into light one of the unique attributes
of God's Love & Mercy in action in our world, something we all and always need help for.

God's Infinite
Goodness and Beauty, in all Its facets, is something a single person cannot ever grasp.

Hence, even a hermit will pour over the four gospels, listening to the four distinct voices of the Evangelists.
He also learns from the Life of the Saints and any unexpected visitor
looking for shelter.

We are to live in the spiritual community Jesus brought us in touch from Heaven, - in Communion with the Saints -
and in the fellowship
of His Kingdom on Earth - which our church opens to us in the community that she brings between the faithful on earth
and the Faithful in Heaven.

Lucy - the bright girl martyr - above all reminds us that God is Light, the Light of Love that does not cast shadows, except over Its Absence.

Her feast is especially marked near the Artic Circle, where the long nights of winter give a poignant feel for the first two verses from Chapter 9 from the book of Isaiah.

Isaiah prophezises the coming of the Prince of Peace in the little backwaters of Nazareth, the Land of Zebulon and Naphtali, the Galilee of the Gentiles, in the melting pot of the "decapolis" ( the "10 cities") along the Sea of Galilee (also called the Lake of Tiberias by the Romans rulers of the time, whose emperor-dictator was named Tiberiius, and called Lake of Gennesareth by the local Jewish population)). Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Jews, Persians coexisted in the colorful cities of Sepphoris, Caparnaum. Gennesareth, Tiberias, etc.. It is not by accident Jesus was born in the hills nearby. He came for everybody.

I quote Isaiah's prophecy here below from my favorite on-line bible, biblos.com (it includes Hebrew & Greek original texts along with modern translations). As one re-read the famously poetic line about the "people walking in darkness", let us remember that on the Feast of St Lucy (Santa Lucia), in Scandinavian circles, especially Sweden, the eldest daughter of a household, dresses in a white nightgown, and is crowned with a wreath of candles.

She brings on this day breakfast to her parents in bed, coffee and ginger cookies, pepperkake or safran cake (Luciakatte), singing the famous Italian verses that Venetian gondoliers have also made famous.

That custom is precisely to remind us - in a Scandinavian way - of the precious prophecy of Isaiah in the midst of the cold, dark nights of winter ( most of Christmas customs such as the evergeens and tree, the candles, Santa Klaus, reindeers, North Pole, elves etc.. come from Nordic cultures, who understood better than anybody the drearyneess of seemingly eternal nights and the hope that only the light of dawn can bring:

<< Isaiah 9 >>

Birth and Reign of the Prince of Peace
1 But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.
2 The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will shine on them.

Matthew echoes the words of Isaiah in his gospel. Being the most authentically Jewish apostle, he addressed his countrymen in their faith and scriptural quotations the most. He quotes Isaiah's prophecy about the birth of the Prince of Peace in the Galilee of the Gentiles in the fourth chapter of his gospel, after describing how Jesus withstood 40 days of temptation in the Desert and then left little Nazareth to settle in Capharnaum, one of the 10 cities along the Lake of Tiberias (Lake Gennesareth, Sea of Galilee) (Mt 4:13) and call his first apostle, Simon the fisherman, whom He re-baptized Peter (Mt 4:18).



ΚΑΤΑ ΜΑΤΘΑΙΟΝ 4:16 Greek NT: Stephanus Textus Receptus (1550, with accents)
ὁ λαὸς ὁ καθήμενος ἐν σκότει εἶδε φῶς μέγα καὶ τοῖς καθημένοις ἐν χώρᾳ καὶ σκιᾷ θανάτου φῶς ἀνέτειλεν αὐτοῖς

Matthew 4:16 Hebrew Bible
העם ההלכים בחשך ראו אור גדול וישבי בארץ צלמות אור נגה עליהם׃

Today is the day to meditate on what the Life of the Light of the World was, a day where the light of Lucy's humble faith sheds perspective on the even humbler life of Jesus and its impact on our world.

Here is a link to a little movie clip that puts into images. The voice of the narrator is accented the way Jesus pretty much spoke (and his galilean mötley crue ;-), the accent that the servant girl recognized in Peter's voice in the Grand Priest courtyard in Jerusalem the night Jesus was arrested.

"One Solitary Life"

(This next clip is a link, I could succeed in inserting the slideshow - it is dedicated to my LJ friend "brotherskeeper1" because the clip spells out the text of a Solitary Life in a somewhat different perspective, with beautiful photographs, not as good as hers, but extolling the tranquil beauty of Creation all the same)

Santa Lucia Örnsköldsvik 2005
From the Franciscan website "AmericanCatholic.org":

"The single fact survives that a disappointed suitor accused Lucy of being a Christian and she was executed in Syracuse (Sicily) in the year 304.

But it is also true that her name is mentioned in the First Eucharistic Prayer, geographical places are named after her, a popular song has her name as its title and down through the centuries many thousands of little girls have been proud of the name Lucy.

One can easily imagine what a young Christian woman had to contend with in pagan Sicily in the year 300.

If you have trouble imagining, just glance at today’s pleasure-at-all-costs world and the barriers it presents against leading a good Christian life.

Her friends must have wondered aloud about this hero of Lucy’s, an obscure itinerant preacher in a far-off captive nation that had been destroyed more than 200 years before.

Once a carpenter, he had been crucified by the Roman soldiers after his own people turned him over to the Roman authorities.

Lucy believed with her whole soul that this man had risen from the dead.

Heaven had put a stamp on all he said and did.

To give witness to her faith she had made a vow of virginity.

What a hubbub this caused among her pagan friends!

The kindlier ones just thought her a little strange.

To be pure before marriage was an ancient Roman ideal, rarely found but not to be condemned.

To exclude marriage altogether, however, was too much.

She must have something sinister to hide, the tongues wagged.

Lucy knew of the heroism of earlier virgin martyrs.

She remained faithful to their example and to the example of the carpenter, whom she knew to be the Son of God.

She is the patroness of eyesight. She is in my opinion also the patron Saint of bright, passionate teen-age girls who commit to a chaste behavior unheraled in today's media. And eyesight is not just physical. In Jesus own words, quoted in Luke 11:34 and Matthew 6:22-23

<< Luke 11:34 >>"The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness. (NASB ©1995)
Matthew 6:22 "The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.

Matthew 6:23 "But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! (NASB ©1995)

If you are a girl named Lucy, your patron Saint is a genuine, authentic heroine, first class, an abiding inspiration for you and for all Christians.

The moral courage of the young Sicilian martyr shines forth as a guiding light, just as bright for today’s youth as it was in A.D. 304."

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