Rejoice! Today is Guadete Sunday and the 3rd Sunday of Advent so we will light the pink candle in the Advent wreath today. Gaudete means rejoice, and as we draw closer to Christmas this day is a reminder to us to rejoice because the wait is almost over and soon we will celebrate the birth of Christ!
Today is also “Bambinelli Sunday”. Each year on the Third Sunday of Advent, children gather with their families in St. Peter’s Square and bring with them their figures of the Christ child, the “Bambinelli”, from their family’s Nativity scene and the pope blesses the children and the figurines they have brought. My kids love the book, Bambinelli Sunday: A Christmas Blessing, by Amy Welborn.
Lucy was born and lived in Syracuse, Sicily. She was a virgin martyr who died during the persecution of Diocletian. As a young teenager, Lucy had consecrated her virginity and life to God.
St. Lucy is well known for her beautiful eyes. It was said her eyes radiated her love for Christ. Lucy was said to have made a vow to remain unmarried so that she could belong to Jesus alone. When the man her mother had chosen for her found out, he threatened her with the torture of being blinded. But Lucy was willing to lose both eyes rather than to belong to anyone but Jesus. And that is what happened. Many statues of St. Lucy show her holding her lovely eyes in the palm of her hand. Jesus rewarded Lucy for her love by working a miracle and giving her back her eyes.
The pagan man was furious and decided to destroy Lucy’s life denouncing her as a Christan to the Governor of Syracuse. The governor sent his guards to forcibly take Lucy to a brothel house. When the soldiers came to take her, God made her so heavy that they could not move her even with a team of oxen.
Finally they tortured Lucy to death and she died a martyr for Jesus in the year 304.
You can read more details of the historical events during the time of St. Lucy’s life in this article by St. Lucy’s Church and parish community.
St. Lucy worked in the service of God helping the poor. She also helped her fellow Catholics, hiding in the dark underground catacombs, who were at risk of suffering persecution. She would wear a wreath of candles on her head to find her way in the dark. Lucia means “light” and so her feast day is celebrated with candles, torch lights and even bonfires. And her feast day is celebrated during Advent, when we wait for the coming of Christ, the Light of the World.
Today would be a good night to put up your Christmas lights (if you haven’t already). Or make some traditional St. Lucia day treats such as ‘lussekatter‘ which are S shaped saffron buns with raisins in the center for ‘eyes’. Or you can cheat and make canned cinnamon rolls like we do.
We will be going to a Christmas light show at a local farm followed by a bonfire and s’mores in honor of St. Lucy Day!
St. Lucy, pray that we may be the light of the world!