13th December is the birthday of my brother, Daut Resul Gaba. 13 December also happens to be one of the Church's most beloved feasts, namely, the feast of one of her most beloved saints, that of Saint Lucy, a holy virgin of the third and fourth century, who also became a martyr for her Lord Jesus Christ in 304. I didn't get around to posting anything here on that day, but I didn't want the weekend to go by without doing so.
One reason for that is that I have become aware of an artist whom I'd like to promote here. Her name is Lis Wright Ivec, and she has a web site, which I encourage you to visit. There you will find several pieces, all worthy of your time, and contemplation: http://www.orgsites.com/wa/liswrightivec/ . She has given me permission to post her pictures of Saint Lucy here, and so that is what you see in the two images in this entry.
I find them to be quite arresting. One of the things I get out of these pictures is a woman of great beauty. Indeed, though she had chosen to remain a virgin, she was greatly desired by men who had no respect for her vocation.
I think these pictures take us deeper, though. If I may say so, Lis Wright Ivec has managed to portray in Lucy a sort of beauty that goes beyond the sort that the men of the world noticed. Lutheran children, as they learn the catechsim, are taught by Saint Peter's words in the third chapter of his first letter that wives are to be submissive, after the manner of Sara, and that they should not be "afraid, with any amazement." I would like to suggest, however, that Peter's words here apply to the Christian woman, regardless of whether she is married, or virgin, or widow. The Christian woman in her very nature is a sort of image of the Church, which is the Bride of Christ, and of the Christian soul, both of which are typified most perfectly in the Mother of God. Married women live out this image in a particularly concrete form. That in no way means, however, that what we may say about the iconic quality of a woman is any less true in the case of those who are unmarried. Therefore I bring up this passage from Luther's Table of Duties, despite how he, and Peter, directly apply it to wives, because it exemplifies the sort of gentleness and contentment that I see in these portraits of Lucy.
Saint Lucy was surely a woman of utter peace and joy. For she gave herself over completely to Christ. She desired only to hide in His wounds, and to find her identity in Him. He blessed her, in fact, by conforming her life into His own. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the meek and gentle King, gave Himself up as a lamb to the slaughter, in perfect awareness, pefect contentment, and perfect love. With the eyes of faith we can see the same Christ in the peaceful self giving sacrifice of Lucy.
Let me finally take note of the fact that in her suffering, Saint Lucy found great comfort and encouragement in the martyrs that had gone before her, especially Saint Agatha. I pray we, too, will find in the saints and martyrs an example for our present struggles in the Church today.