Advent Journal: Day 11, St. Lucy’s Day


If only you would put up with a little foolishness from me!
Please put up with me.
For I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God,
since I betrothed you to one husband
to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.             2 Corinthians 10:17-11:2

“The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins
who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
The foolish ones, when taking their lamps,
brought no oil with them,
but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.”            Matthew 25:1-3

Do you not know
or have you not heard?
The LORD is the eternal God,
creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint nor grow weary,
and his knowledge is beyond scrutiny.
He gives strength to the fainting;
for the weak he makes vigor abound.
Though young men faint and grow weary,
and youths stagger and fall,
They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength,
they will soar as with eagles’ wings;
They will run and not grow weary,
walk and not grow faint.                                                              Isaiah 40:25-31

You are one of God’s people, of God’s family, a virgin among virgins; you light up your grace of body with your splendour of soul. More than others you can be compared to the Church. When you are in your room, then, at night, think always on Christ, and wait for his coming at every moment.       St. Ambrose, On Virginity

The parable of the ten virgins tells us that we must be aware, be awake:  Christ ends his parable with an injunction to vigilance because, as he says elsewhere, “you know neither the day nor the hour” when the Judgment will come.  We must, then, have foresight to anticipate His return; in this season which we celebrate his coming to earth, this is a salutary reminder.  It is also fortuitous that the readings for Advent on this day coincide with the Feast of St. Lucy.  Sancta Lucia was, according to tradition, a young woman who suffered horrible tortures rather than be wed, and then resisted forced prostitution before being beheaded with a sword.  Modern history casts doubt on this narrative, for the simple fact that it repeats the many of the same details of other stories of virgin martyrs, such as St. Agatha and St. Agnes.  The name Lucia itself gives pause, since it means “light,” and the many stories associated with her as the patron of sight seem to confirm this.  And yet, it is so hard to believe?  If one could see that Christ was everything, that his Love was greater than a love of money, or sex, or even family or a husband, would we not all resist unto torture, and death?  We do not see; our judgment is clouded by sin, and the fear of death.  Both martyrs and virgins do as St. Ambrose bid them, they “wait upon Christ” as if nothing else existed.  In some depictions of St. Lucy, she is holding a plate with two eyeballs on it, depicting the story that her tormentors cut our her eyes.  A more perfect synergy with the Gospels could not be had:  “if your eye offends you, cut it out.”  The virgins and martyrs, who quite literally sacrifice the life in their bodies, though in different ways, see more than we see in everyday life; they see that Christ is worth giving up everything, and they go to him as the Wise Virgins, ready with their flasks of oil, as did St. Lucy (whatever may be the details of her life).  They are, in their virginity and their martyrdom, incarnations of His Advent, for they are able to attain their goal only by living in His grace.   In all this they are St. Paul said his Corinthians were, a “chaste virgin to Christ,” the spotless Bride as the Church is called to be.  Let us imitate St. Lucy in this, trusting in God to renew our strength as we await the final coming of the Lord.

~ by Alypius on December 14, 2017.

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