St Lucy, Virgin and Martyr
Born in Sicily towards the end of the third century, of noble origin, St Lucy, as the Gospel twice reminds us, gave away all her riches to the poor and when she had nothing more to give she gave herself to Jesus (Epistle).
Whilst the foolish virgins neglected to fill their lamps with the "oil of gladness" of which the Introit speaks, Lucy, whose name signifies light, waited with her lighted lamp in hand, that is with her soul filled with grace, the coming of her Spouse.
"Pure hearts are the temples of the Holy Ghost" she declared to her judge. It is this Spirit, also symbolized by the "oil of gladness" as we are told in the ceremonies of Maundy-Thursday, an oil that gives suppleness and strength to her soul in such a miraculous way that St Lucy resisted her executioners unto death rather than lose the treasure of her virginity. Wherefore her name occurs in the Canon of the Mass (second list), and is repeated every day by thousands of priests who glorify God in her. She died in 303.
The lighted lamp in her hand is the soul in a state of grace; let us in this season of Advent wait for the spouse who will come soon.
Sometimes she is depicted with a pair of eyes on a place. It is said that her eyes were put out as part of her tortures, but that they were miraculously restored by God. Therefore, she is the patron saint of those suffering with maladies of the eyes. She is also depicted with the sword that finally effected her martyrdom.
Dilexisti justitiam, et odisti iniquitatem: properea unxit te Deus, Deus tuus, oleo laetitiae prae consortibus tuis. * Eructavit cor meum verbum bonum: dico ego opera mea Regi.
Thou hast loved justice and hated iniquity: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. * My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King.
(Psalm 44:8,2 from the Introit of Mass)
Graciously hear us, O God of our salvation, and grant that we, who keep with joy the festival of Blessed Lucy, Thy virgin and martyr, may be taught to be loving and devout towards Thee.
The Catholic Encyclopaedia on St Lucy: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09414a.htm
Meditation for 13th December from Bishop Challoner: http://www.liturgialatina.org/challoner/dec13.htm#13