Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Of patrons

Today is the feast of St. Lucy, that is Lucia of Syracuse, who was from a rich family of Greek ancestry. Her Roman father died when she was young and her mother arranged a marriage for her to the Roman pagan Paschasius.
When she refused to marry him he turned her in to the Roman authorities. The consul of Syracuse sentenced her to force prostitution, but when the brothel guards went to fetch her they could not move her, even with a team of oxen. He then ordered her tortured, but her tormentors could not rape her. When they attempted to burn her at the stake the wood refused to burn. They cut out her eyes but God restored them. Finally she was executed by being stabbed to death by a dagger. Legend says that she did not die until decapitated, but still continued to speak even then prophesying against her persecutors and begging all Christians to remain firm in their faith.
Her mother , Eutychia, was said to suffer from haemorrhagic illness, which God cured in answer to St. Lucy's prayers.
She is the patron saint of oculists and diseases of the eyes, and also of authors,glaziers, and cutlers. Because Lucy means bringer of light she is also the patron of electricians, an honor she shares with St. Barbara (who was killed by lightning), and who is often represented in her company in religious iconography.
As I am a sometimes professional electrician I count St. Lucy as one of my patrons. Another is St. Isadore of Seville, patron saint of the Internet and computer programmers. So how does a Spanish bishop become the patron saint of computers?
So, how does Saint Isidore of Seville become the patron saint for the Internet? The Observation Service for Internet, who drew it's mission from the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, researched the Internet and related technologies to select a patron saint that best reflects the concerns and ideals of computer designers, programmers and users. The saint chosen by the Observation Service for Internet was Saint Isidore. "The saint who wrote the well-known 'Etymologies' (a type of dictionary), gave his work a structure akin to that of the database. He began a system of thought known today as 'flashes;' it is very modern, notwithstanding the fact it was discovered in the sixth century. Saint Isidore accomplished his work with great coherence: it is complete and its features are complementary in themselves.
I also pray to Fr. Michael J. McGivney, the founder of the Knights of Columbus, who I believe will one day be canonized, and the Servant of God John Paul II, who I know will eventually be officially known as the Great and one of the holiest Popes of the last few centuries.
And, of course, I pray to God, in all of his three persons. The protestants have got it so wrong. They will ask another living person to pray for them, but refuse to ask someone who is already with God to also pray for them. As through asking a saint for intercession means you aren't also going to ask God directly for your blessing.

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