Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Santa Lucia!

Waking up this morning in the darkness, I was delighted to reflect on our feast today: the feast of St Lucy, Virgin and Martyr, the lady of light.   In the midst of the cold darkness of winter, the festival of St Lucy is welcome indeed as we light candles in her honour and dispell the gloom. 

Just over a year ago, on our last Fraternity pilgrimage, we visited the tomb of St Lucy where we found her body amazingly well preserved.  She died in 304 AD and her remains are still intact.  A silver mask covers her face, but you can see her mummified hands and feet.  Her remains are in Venice; like St Nicholas, devotees "borrowed" her body from Sicily.  So far, they have not brought her home.  Indeed about thirty years ago her body was stolen again, and there was widespread panic and prayers for her return: she was, and thankfully the remains were not damaged.

A priest friend of mine has made a wonderful suggestion.  As St Lucy is the patroness of the eyes and ailments of sight, perhaps we as priests could include a blessing of the eyes in the liturgy for her feast, just as we include a blessing of throats in the feast of St Blaise.  What a wonderful idea!  Many people suffer with their eyes, and given that we need to be reclaiming many of our ancient Catholic traditions, this would be a wonderful devotion to bring back to the people.  People love devotions, Saints and blessings: the blessing of eyes on the feast of St Lucy would be a big hit, I think.

So, how shall it be done.  Candles too?  Why not - she is the saint of light.  So perhaps the blessed candles used on St Blaise's Day could be brought out and with each candle resting lightly on each eye a prayer could be prayed:  "Through the intercession of St Lucy, Virgin and Martyr, may the Lord preserve you from all ailments of the eyes and every other evil, and bring you to see Christ our Light in these days and in eternity.  In the Name + of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit"

There is a suggestion for my brother priests: what do you think?

The sacred remains of St Lucy

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