Hagiography states that Saint Lucy was a Christian martyr during the Diocletian persecution. According to apocryphal texts, the beautiful Lucia was born to a prosperous family of nobility in Syracuse on the island of Sicily. In the days of early Christian persecution, legends say that Lucia carried food to Christians hiding in dark underground tunnels. To light the way she wore a wreath of candles on her head. St Lucy, a native of Syracuse, Sicily, consecrated herself to God from her childhood. Her mother did not know of her vow and wished her to marry a young pagan. At the tomb of St. Agatha, she prayed for the cure of her mother from a serious disease. When this prayer was granted she informed her mother of her vow, to which her mother then consented. When the young pagan saw her distributing her goods among the poor, his anger knew no bounds. He accused her before Paschasius, the governor, of being a Christian. She was brought before a judge who commanded her to be exposed to temptation in an evil house. But God watched over her and made her absolutely immovable so that no number of guards could carry her to that place. In a similar way He preserved her from the pains of fire and other dreadful torments. Finally she died in prison of wounds she had received in 304. To give her even more honor her name is included in the Canon of the Mass.
Her name, which means “light,” probably accounts for the story that her eyes were put out and her eyesight miraculously restored, and may be connected with the fact that her feast occurs near the time when (in the Northern Hemisphere) the nights are longest. In Italy, torchlight processions and bonfires mark her day, and bowls of a cooked wheat porridge known as cuccia is eaten because, during a famine, the people of Syracuse invoked St. Lucy, who interceded by sending a ship laden with grain (much as St. Joseph also did for the people of Sicily). In Sweden the day is observed by having one of the daughters of the house dress in a white robe with a crown of lighted candles and go singing from room to room early in the morning when it is still dark to awaken the other family members and to offer them St. Lucy’s Cakes and hot coffee. In Sweden, there are also public processions of “Lucias,” and cities will elect an official “Lucia” for the year, with Sweden electing a national representative of the Saint.
INTROIT Psalm 118: 95-96
Thou hast loved justice, and hated iniquity: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (Ps. 44: 2) My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King. V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Harken unto us, O God, our salvation, that as because of the festival of blessed Lucy we rejoice, so by reason of our feeling of loving devotion may we become better grounded in doctrine. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever. R.Amen.
Feria Commemoration of the Third Sunday of Advent
Let us pray. Lend Your ear to our prayers, O Lord, we beseech You; and brighten the darkness of our minds by the grace of Your coming. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God. Forever and ever. R.Amen.
EPISTLE 2 Corinthians 10,17-18 ; 11,1-2
Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians. Brethren, he that glory, let him glory in the Lord. For not that he that commendeth himself is approved, but he whom God commendeth. Would to God you could bear with some little of my folly, but do bear with me. For I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God. For I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Psalm 44: 5
Thou hast loved justice, and hated iniquity. V. Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness.Alleluia, alleluia. (Ps. 44: 3) Grace is poured abroad in thy lips, therefore hath God blessed thee forever. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Matthew 13: 44-52
At that time, Jesus spoke this parable to His disciples: “The kingdom of Heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in a field; which a man having found, hid it, and for joy thereof goeth, and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like to a merchant seeking good pearls. Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went his way and sold all that he had, and bought it. Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like to a net cast into the sea, and gathering together of all kinds of fishes; which, when it was filled, they drew out, and sitting by the shore, they chose out the good into vessels, but the bad they cast forth. So shall it be at the end of the world. The angels shall go out, and shall separate the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Have ye understood all these things? They say to Him, Yes. He said unto them, Therefore, every scribe instructed in the kingdom of Heaven, is like to a man who is a householder,who bringeth forth out of his treasure new things and old.”
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Ps. 44: 15, 16
After her shall virgins be brought to the King: her neighbors shall be brought to Thee with gladness and rejoicing: they shall be brought into the temple of the King, the Lord.
May the offering of Thy consecrated people be accepted by Thee, O Lord, in honor of Thy saints, by whose merits it knoweth that it hath received aid in time of trouble. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever. R.Amen.
Secret for Advent Feria
We beseech You, O Lord, that the gift we dedicate to You, may be sacrificed continually, so that the sacramental rite You have ordained may be fully observed, and the work of Your salvation may be wonderfully effective within us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God, through Christ our Lord. Through whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The heavens and the heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them, we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Psalm 118: 161-162
Princes have persecuted me without cause and my heart hath been in awe of Thy words: I will rejoice at Thy words, as one that hath found great spoil.
Thou hast regaled Thy household, O Lord, with sacred gifts: do Thou ever comfort us, by her intervention whose solemnity we are celebrating. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, For ever and ever. R. Amen.
Feria Commemoration of the Third Sunday of Advent
Let us pray. We entreat You, merciful Lord, that these divine helps may cleanse us from our sins and prepare us for the coming festal season. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.