Tag Archives: saint

Saint Lucy

st lucy icon.jpg

May the glorious intercession of the Virgin and Martyr Saint Lucy give us a heart, we pray, O Lord, so that we may celebrate her heavenly birthday in this present age.

Saint Lucy’s life is rather obscure now with the passage of time and the lack of accurate records from her period in history. She died c. 304 during the time of Diocletius. Since Saint Gregory the Great added Lucy’s name to the Roman Canon in the 6th century we hear her name with other virgin martyrs.

Remembering liturgical history, the liturgical memorial of Saint Lucy was commemorated on the shortest day of the year on the Julian calendar. The meaning of “Lucy” is drawn from the Latin word “lux,” light, hence Lucy illumines our path to Christ; her light shines in the darkness.

Today, December 13, is no longer the shortest day of the year with the least amount of light but we retain the memorial of Lucy, a woman linking us to the Lord through the light of her life of virtue.

Hagiography points us in a direction:

Light is beautiful to look upon; for as Ambrose says: it is the nature of light that all graciousness is in its appearance. Light also radiates without being soiled; no matter how unclean may be the place where its beams penetrate, it is still clean. It goes in straight line, without curvature, and traverses the greatest distances without losing its speed. Thus we are shown that the blessed virgin Lucy possessed the beauty of virginity without trace of corruption; that she radiated charity without any impure love; her progress toward God was straight and without deviation, and went far in God’s works without neglect or delay.

Blessed James of Voragine
The Golden Legend

Lucy’s courage, like that of Saint Agatha’s (to whom she prayed for her mother’s conversion), Saint Barbara and the other virgin-martyrs is a key reminder that we ought to focus our attention on the Lord in a single-minded manner.

I’d like to remember those who live with physical blindness, particularly my late maternal great aunt Bea and uncle Walter. They were such good examples of courage. Just as it is said that Saint Lucy’s eyesight was restored before her death, may those who lived in blindness see clearly the beauty of the Lord.

And, prayers ought to rise up for the Xavier Society for the Blind in NYC.

Prior posts in 2010 and 2011.

Saint Ambrose

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O God, who made the Bishop Saint Ambrose a teacher of the Catholic faith and a model of apostolic courage, raise up in your Church men after your own heart to govern her with courage and wisdom.

The prayers for todays Mass that honors the ecclesial memory of one of the famous saints are key to pinpointing what the Church most revers about the man who was concerned about right-thinking and right-praying Christians.  Who was Ambrose? The Collects tells us that he was a bishop, saint teacher, model of courage seen in the apostles and capable of good governance, that is, he had courage and wisdom. What moved Ambrose? Again, the collects tell us he was constantly inspired by the light of faith.

The Church recalls Saint Ambrose of Milan (340?-397), bishop and Doctor of the Church. Ambrose was born in Trier to a Roman family: his father was praetorian prefect of Gaul and educated in Rome In about 372 he began his public service as prefect of Liguria and Emilia, whose capital was Milan.

Let’s recall that the ecclesial tradition indicates that the gospel was brought to Milan by Saint Barnabas and that the city’s first bishop was Saint Anathalon. In 374 the bishopric of Milan became vacant. An astute Ambrose tried to work with the conflict between orthodox Catholics and Arians over the appointment of a new bishop. His words were convincing and hopeful that the people demanded –not the pope– that he become the bishop of Milan.

Ambrose’s personal holiness was such that he gave his material belongs to the poor and to the Church. We attentive to the prayerful reading of the Scriptures and praying the Liturgy. He was a very attentive bishop as the Good Shepherd. Works of charity and clear teaching was attractive to many. As bishop he defended the rights of the Church and tried to correct the errors of the Arian heresy with learning, firmness and gentleness.

The Divine Office that we pray today is still peppered with Ambrose’s hymns.

Saints beget saints. Ambrose was central to the conversion of St Augustine to Catholicism.

Pope Benedict gave his own catechesis on this great saint today. Ambrose is the “Icon of Christ.”

Saint John Damascene

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Grant, we pray, O Lord, that we may be helped by the prayers of the Priest Saint John Damascene, so that the true faith, which he excelled in teaching, may always be our light and our strength.

Saint John of Damascus (c. 676-749) is a pretty amazing man, priest, and Father of the Church; noted as the last of the Greek Fathers. He’s known as the “golden speaker” and while he was not an original or brilliant theologian, his gift is his ability to compile what the Church believed in his era. In many ways Avery Dulles was the same.

Much of his preaching and teaching was a defense of the faith in the face of severe opposition, particularly with the rise of Islam.

The Damascene is revered as a saint by the Churches of East and West.

From The Statement of Faith by Saint John Damascene:

O Lord, you led me from my father’s loins and formed me in my mother’s womb. You brought me, a naked babe, into the light of day, for nature’s laws always obey your commands.

By the blessing of the Holy Spirit, you prepared my creation and my existence, not because man willed it or flesh desired it, but by your ineffable grace. The birth you prepared for me was such that it surpassed the laws of our nature. You sent me forth into the light by adopting me as your son and you enrolled me among the children of your holy and spotless Church.

You nursed me with the spiritual milk of your divine utterances. You kept me alive with the solid food of the body of Jesus Christ, your only-begotten Son for our redemption. And he undertook the task willingly and did not shrink from it. Indeed, he applied himself to it as though destined for sacrifice, like an innocent lamb. Although he was God, he became man, and in his human will, became obedient to you, God his Father, unto death, even death on a cross.

In this way you have humbled yourself, Christ my God, so that you might carry me, your stray sheep, on your shoulders. You let me graze in green pastures, refreshing me with the waters of orthodox teaching at the hands of your shepherds. You pastured these shepherds, and now they in turn tend your chosen and special flock. Now you have called me, Lord, by the hand of your bishop to minister to your people. I do not know why you have done so, for you alone know that. Lord, lighten the heavy burden of the sins through which I have seriously transgressed. Purify my mind and heart. Like a shining lamp, lead me along the straight path. When I open my mouth, tell me what I should say. By the fiery tongue of your Spirit make my own tongue ready. Stay with me always and keep me in your sight.

Lead me to pastures, Lord, and graze there with me. Do not let my heart lean either to the right or to the left, but let your good Spirit guide me along the straight path. Whatever I do, let it be in accordance with your will, now until the end.

And you, O Church, are a most excellent assembly, the noble summit of perfect purity, whose assistance comes from God. You in whom God lives, receive from us an exposition of the faith that is free from error, to strengthen the Church, just as our Fathers handed it down to us.

Blessed Charles Eugene de Foucauld

Charles de Foucauld.jpgGod our Father, you called Blessed Charles to live through your love in intimacy with your Son, Jesus of Nazareth. Grant that we may find in the Gospel the foundation of a more and more luminous Christian life and in the Eucharist, the source of universal  kinship.

Blessed Charles de Foucauld (15 September 1858-1 December 1916) the French priest killed as a result of hatred for the faith in Algeria. Hence, he is identified as a martyr.

He made a few attempts at following a religious vocation, first with the Trappist monk, then as a priest and then as a hermit. Charles was inspired to found a manner of living that entailed a fraternal life with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and hospitality. It was only following Charles’ death did this fraternity get formally accepted by the Church in the form of a religious congregation called the Little Brothers of Jesus.

Benedict XVI beatified Charles on 13 November 2005.

Saint Cecilia

Santa Cecilia with angels.jpgO God, who gladden us each year with the feast day of your handmaid Saint Cecilia, grant we pray, that what has been devoutly handed concerning her may offer us examples to imitate and proclaim the wonders worked in his servants by Christ your Son.

The feast of Saint Cecilia is most known for being the patroness of church musicians. But what ought to bring us closer to reality is that her fame and veneration across the world is because of her joy in facing death because of her intense love for her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The dates of her existence are difficult to pinpoint but history tells us that her body was discovered in AD 822. Liturgical legend places her death along that with her husband Saint Valerian and her brother-in-law Saint Tiburtius during the reign of Pope Urban I (r. 222-230). Therefore, Emperor Alexander Severus would responsible for her death.
Cecilia, though married, remained a virgin, that is, singularly focussed on Christ’s love as opposed to human love. At the time of her marriage her husband was not a Christian, but due to an act of the Spirit, Valerian accepted Christ in baptism.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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