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2 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 13 December 2012

A reading and a reflection to start the day on Radio 4 with Canon Jenny Wigley.


    Good morning. Unless it’s the 25th of December, there’s not a date on the Christian calendar which isn’t marked up for the celebration of one saint or another. Today it’s St Lucy, who lived and died for her Christian faith in 4th century Sicily.

    She’s a martyr – one held up as an example of holy living and heroic dying; but like all the saints, she’s credited with having an interest in one particular aspect of the lives of others. Lucy is the patron saint of blindness – of visually impaired people and those who practice ophthalmic medicine.

    But alongside Lucy are patrons of all sorts of illnesses and conditions, and of a whole range of crafts, trades and interest groups. So if you’re a civil engineer, it’s St Benedict; for mothers-to -be, St Anne. And for those in deep trouble, you should look to St Jude, the patron saint of lost causes.

    The last one often provokes a rueful smile, but for me these stories are meant to give significance to the lives of ordinary men and women. Those who became heroes and heroines of the Christian Faith started off with the same possibilities and limitations as everyone else. They just didn’t give up - a saint is a sinner who never stopped trying. That’s how I think the stories of our patron saints can encourage us.

    And as for Lucy – although she came to be associated with physical sight and sightlessness, she herself is said to have prayed that her martyrdom would bring spiritual insight. She hoped that believers would see God’s power, and non-believers see the folly of their ways. In every sense she is the saint to light up these dark December days.

    Holy and eternal God, we thank you for the light that shines in the life of Lucy and of all your saints, for the vision of your glory which they glimpsed on earth and in which they now delight in heaven. Give us grace to follow their examples of faith and hope and love. Amen.


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