Monday, December 14, 2009

The Reason for the Season: Lucy and the Lady

We missed two feasts over the weekend, their being pre-empted by other things, but they deserve mention here, inasmuch as their devotion touches upon the liturgical season in which they are found.

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe falls on the 12th of December. We did a piece on her last year entitled "Guadalupe." A correspondent in Mexico told me that she is wearing a traditional maternity dress, which is something we missed in our explanation of why she is not at all an Earth-Mother-Eco-Spiritual-Goddess figure. Or something.

Yesterday was also the Feast of Saint Lucy, although pre-empted by the Third Sunday of Advent. In the old Julian calendar, her feast would have fallen on the longest night of the year, which is fitting inasmuch as her name comes from the Latin lux or lucis, meaning "light." She lived in the late third-early fourth century, and was martyred under the Diocletian persecution. She is the patron of the blind, and also of the Scandinavian countries. To wit, this video clip is of a 2007 celebration in the town of Mora, Sweden.

The darkness shall soon fly away
From the valleys of Earth
Thus she speaks to us in wonderful words
The day shall rise again soon
From a roselike sky
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia

The tune sounds familiar to many Americans, who may be accustomed to hearing it in Italian. Indeed, Saint Lucy is also an object of veneration in northeastern Italy, as well as the city of Syracusa in Sicily (not to mention the inclusion of her name in the Roman Canon).

Note also that the festivities in Sweden are one occasion where "altar boys" could be said to way to "altar girls," with a special young lady chosen to take her chances wearing the wreath of candles as “Queen of Light.”

Never send a boy to do a girl's job.


DdC said...

Nice work Alexander,

Note: The town is Syracusa and Sicilians take it as an insult to spell it or pronounce it like the NY snowbelt town Syracuse.

Just a word of warning, dont want you to wind up like Ralphie in the Soprano's being put through the meat grinder in Satriale's Pork Store Bergen County NJ.

Also, the parish I was raised in OLMC had a great statue of Santa Lucia with her eyeballs on a golden plate. We swore as kids if you stared long enough at the eyeballs during Mass they would move...

Just thought you would like the goombah perspective.

BTW Doesnt Saint John of the Cross rate? Carmel on the brain, I guess...


David L Alexander said...

The reference has been corrected. The staff and management of mwbh wishes to extend its most profuse apologies to the sons and daughters of Sicily, both in their homeland, amidst the billiards establishments and union halls of New Jersey, and the world over.