Feast of Saint Luke, evangelist

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St. Luke, the inspired author of the third Gospel and of the Acts of the Apostles, was a native of Antioch in Syria and a physician, and one of the early converts from paganism. He accompanied St. Paul on a considerable part of his missionary journey. He was also his companion while in prison at Rome on two different occasions. His account of these events, contained in the Acts, is firsthand history.

Luke’s Gospel is, above all, the Gospel of the Merciful Heart of Jesus. It emphasizes the fact that Christ is the salvation of all men, especially of the repentant sinner and of the lowly. Legend says that Luke painted the Blessed Virgin’s portrait. It is certainly true that he painted the most beautiful word-picture of Mary ever written.


St. Luke

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St. Luke came from Antioch, was a practicing physician and was one of the first converts to Christianity. He accompanied St. Paul, who converted him, on his missionary journeys and was still with him in Rome when St. Paul was in prison awaiting death. We hear no more of him afterwards and nothing is known of his last years. The Church venerates him as a Martyr.

St. Luke’s Gospel is principally concerned with salvation and mercy; in it are preserved some of our Lord’s most moving parables, like those of the lost sheep and the prodigal son. Dante calls St. Luke the “historian of the meekness of Christ.” It is also St. Luke who tells us the greater part of what we know about our Lord’s childhood.

“According to tradition he was an artist, as well as a man of letters; and with a soul alive to all the most delicate inspirations, he consecrated his pencil to the holiest use, and handed down to us the features of the Mother of God. It was an illustration worthy of the Gospel which relates to the divine Infancy; and it won for the artist a new title to the gratitude of those who never saw Jesus and Mary in the flesh. Hence St. Luke is the patron of Christian art.”

Excerpted from The Liturgical Year, Abbot Gueranger O.S.B.

St. Luke did not personally know our Lord, and like St. Mark, the author of the second Gospel, he is not included among the apostles. For this reason the Gospel chosen for their feast is the account of the sending forth of the seventy-two disciples. According to St. Jerome, St. Luke died in Achaia (Greece) at the age of 84, and it is unknown whether or not he died a martyr’s death. His name means “bringer of light” (= luke).

Patron: Artists; bachelors; bookbinders; brewers; butchers; glassworkers; goldsmiths; lacemakers; notaries; painters; physicians; sculptors; stained glass workers; surgeons.

Symbols: Winged ox; winged calf; ox; picture of the Virgin; palette and brushes; phials of medicine; physician’s robes; easel; book and pen; hatchet; wooden horse; books of his Gospel and of the Acts; bishop; painting an icon of our Lady.

Things to Do:

  • Read the Acts of the Apostles. St. Luke accompanied St. Paul on his missionary journeys — we could spiritually adopt a missionary and accompany him or her with our prayers.
  • St. Luke depicted Mary vividly in words. Learn and pray the three precious canticles preserved for us by him — the Benedictus, the Magnificat, and the Nunc Dimittis.
  • Pray for doctors and those who care for the sick through the intercession of St. Luke, patron of physicians.
  • Foods this day to honor St. Luke would include some beef dish, as he is the patron of butchers. So perhaps a nice cut of steak would be in order? For dessert, bake some raisin Banbury Tarts to evoke the festivals of England on this day, or a cake in the shape of a book with decorations of a calf or ox for this evangelist.
  • Today is also known as “Sour Cakes Day” in Scotland, because baked cakes were eaten with sour cream in Rutherglen.
  • This day is also “St. Luke’s Little Summer,” a period of summerlike days that occur around October 18 (like the term “Indian Summer,” which officially occurs between Nov 11-20), named to honor the saint’s feast day. In the past, St. Luke’s Day was not observed by the secular world as much as St. John the Baptist‘s Day (June 24) and Michaelmas (September 29), so to keep in the forefront, St. Luke gives us some golden days before the cold of winter.
  • Read more about St. Luke and his writings from the Catholic Encyclopedia.

via Catholic Culture : Liturgical Year.

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