Tuesday, June 15, 2010
June 16 – The L.U.C.I.E. Fast
Beloved . . . all of you beloved ones . . . let us take a look at a woman of tremendous renown, a woman whose faith and faithfulness have been remembered for centuries.
First . . . a four-sentence homily! While we choose to worship nowhere but at the throne of God and to worship none but Him, the Scripture PLAINLY sets forth many samples of virtuous life for us, invoking our honor even to this day. We honor Mary of Magdala and we honor the servant girl who helped Naaman be cleansed from leprosy. We honor Moses and Joshua, Samuel’s selfless mother, Hannah, and Simon of Cyrene who served the Lord through conscription! Outside of the Word of God, we honor Corrie ten Boom, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Hudson Taylor and Amy Carmichael.
The “Lucie” we name (pronounced, “Loo-cheeay”) came to be known in many areas as Santa Lucia. She is the one who figures so prevalently into Scandinavian Christmas celebrations when young girls wear her “Crown of Lights” upon their heads. Do we know why?
Lucie and her mother had been left without a protector when Lucie’s father died when she was a child. Her mother arranged for her a marriage with a pagan bridegroom, but rather than marry him, Lucie distributed her dowry to the poor. Her “worthy” bridegroom then turned her over to the Emperor to suffer as a Christian and she was commanded to burn an offering to him. Lucie answered that she had no offering; she had given all she had to the poor, and with that, she was remanded to a brothel to take from her all that she had left to give.
Tradition holds that when they came for her, she was so filled with the Holy Spirit that she was “like a mountain” and her captors could not move her. She was hitched to a team of oxen and still could not be moved.
Lucie’s special day is the shortest one in the calendar, the one with the longest night, because it is also told that her eyes were gouged out by her tormentors. For all that we cannot substantiate, it would seem that this young woman had gone a long way toward overcoming lethargy, unbelief, complaining, idolatry, and excess. Today’s Scripture is Romans 12:3 . . . For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. It would seem that, while Lucie’s self esteem cost her dearly, it was not more exalted than it should have been.
photo by Kerry