Saint Chrysanthus and Saint Daria, Martyrs

October 25 Today is the feast day of Saint Chrysanthus and Saint Daria.  Orate pro nobis. by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876 St. Chrysanthus is one of the many who have experienced how useful and beneficial is the reading of devout books, especially the Gospel. He was born of heathen parents. Polemius his father, stood … Read more

Saint Raphael the Archangel

October 24 Today is the feast day of Saint Raphael the Archangel.  Ora pro nobis. For I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord. Tobias 12: 15 by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876 This holy Archangel, sent by the Almighty to Tobias, himself explained who he was, in the … Read more

Saint Anthony-Mary Claret, Bishop, Confessor

October 23 Today is the feast day of Saint Antony-Mary Claret.  Ora pro nobis. Saint Anthony was born at Sallent, near Barcelona on 23 Dec 1807.  He was the son of a small woollen manufacturer.  He received an elementary education in his native village.  He later wrote that, already at the age of five, my little heart trembled … Read more

Saint Wendelin of Trier, Abbot

October 22 Today is the feast day of Saint Wendelin (Wendel) of Trier.  Ora pro nobis. Saint Wendelin (Wendel) was born about 554. His father was Forchardo, the King of Scotland, his mother, Irelina, Queen. His earliest biographies, two in Latin and two in German, did not appear until after 1417. Their narrative is the following: … Read more

Saint Mello of Cardiff, Archbishop

October 22 Today is the feast day of Saint Mello of Cardiff.  Ora pro nobis. Saint Mello (Melanius, Mellon) was born at Cardiff in Great Britain, immersed in idolatry, but converted when sent on a diplomatic mission to Rome. He heard a discourse by Pope Saint Steven and immediately afterwards expressed his desire for Baptism. … Read more

Saint Ursula and Her Companions, Virgins, Martyrs

October 21 Today is the feast day of Saint Ursula and her Companions.  Orate pro nobis. Saint Ursula was born in Great Britain of Christian parents; her father, Maurus, was king of Cornubia in Scotland. Ursula was sought in marriage by a young pagan prince, but had already vowed her life and her heart to … Read more

Saint John Cantius, Confessor

October 20

Today is the feast day of Saint John Cantius.  Ora pro nobis.

The Importance of Religious Instruction

“What kind of work can be more noble than to cultivate the minds of young people, guarding it carefully, so that the knowledge and love of God and His holy precepts go hand-in-hand with learning? To form young Christians and citizens, isn’t this the most beautiful and noble minded way to make use of life, of all one’s talents and energy?”–St. John Cantius

Saint John was born at Kenty in Poland in 1403.

St. John Cantius, Confessor
from the Liturgical Year, 1903

 Kenty, the humble village of Silesia which witnessed the birth of St. John, owes its celebrity entirely to him. The canonization of this holy priest, who in the fifteenth century had illustrated the University of Cracow by his virtues and science, was the last hope of expiring Poland. It took place in the year 1767. Two years earlier, it was at the request of this heroic nation that Clement XIII. had issued the first decree sanctioning the celebration of the feast of the Sacred Heart. When enrolling John Cantius among the Saints, the magnanimous Pontiff expressed in moving terms the gratitude of the Church towards that unfortunate people; and rendered to it, before shamefully forgetful Europe, a supreme homage (Bulla canonizationis). Five years later Poland was dismembered.

John was born at Kenty, a town in the diocese of Cracow; and hence his surname Cantius. His parents were pious and honourable persons, by name Stanislaus and Anna. From his very infancy, his sweetness of disposition, innocence, and gravity, gave promise of very great virtue. He studied philosophy and theology at the University of Cracow, and taking all his degrees proceeded professor and doctor. He taught sacred science for many years, enlightening the minds of his pupils and enkindling in them the flame of piety, no less by his deeds than by his words. When he was ordained priest, he relaxed nothing of his zeal for study, but increased his ardor for Christian perfection. Grieving exceedingly over the offences everywhere committed against God, he strove to make satisfaction on his own behalf and that of the people, by daily offering the unbloody Sacrifice with many tears. For several years he had charge of the parish of Ukusi, which he administered in an exemplary manner; but, fearing the responsibility of the cure of souls, he resigned his post; and, at the request of the University, resumed the professor’s chair.

Whatever time remained over from his studies, he devoted partly to the good of his neighbour, especially by holy preaching; partly to prayer, in which he is said to have been sometimes favoured with heavenly visions and communications. He was so affected by the Passion of Christ, that he would spend whole nights without sleep, in the contemplation of it; and in order the better to cultivate this devotion, he undertook a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. While there, in his eagerness for martyrdom he boldly preached Christ crucified even to the Turks. Four times he went to Rome on foot, and carrying his own baggage, to visit the threshold of the Apostles; in order to honor the Apostolic See to which he was earnestly devoted, and also (as he used to say), to save himself from Purgatory by means of the indulgences there daily to be gained. On one of these journeys he was robbed by brigands. When asked by them whether he had anything more, he replied in the negative; but afterwards remembering that he had some gold pieces sowed in his cloak, he called back the robbers, who had taken to flight, and offered them the money. Astonished at the holy man’s sincerity and generosity, they restored all they had taken from him.

After St. Augustine’s example, he had verses inscribed on the walls in his house, warning others, as well as himself, to respect the reputation of their neighbors. He fed the hungry from his own table; and clothed the naked not only with garments bought for the purpose, but even with his own clothes and shoes; on these occasions he would lower his cloak to the ground, so as not to be seen walking home barefoot. He took very little sleep, and that on the ground. His clothing was only sufficient to cover him, and his food to keep him alive. He preserved his virginal purity, like a lily among thorns, by using a rough hair-shirt, disciplines, and fasting; and for about thirty-five years before his death, he abstained entirely from flesh-meat. At length, full of days and of merits, he prepared himself long and diligently for death, which he felt drawing near; and that nothing might be a hindrance to him, he distributed all that remained in his house to the poor. Then, strengthened with the Sacraments of the Church, and desiring to be dissolved and to be with Christ, he passed to heaven on Christmas Eve. He worked many miracles both in life and after death. His body was carried to St. Anne’s, the church of the University, and there honorably interred. The people’s veneration for the saint, and the crowds visiting his tomb, increased daily; and he is honored as one of the chief patrons of Poland and Lithuania. As new miracles continued to be wrought, Pope Clement XIII. solemnly enrolled him among the Saints, on the seventeenth of the Kalends of August, in the year 1767. (1)

Before his death, he gave absolutely everything he still had to the poor. He died in 1473, at the age of seventy-six years. The purple robe which he had worn as a Doctor was religiously conserved and always given to the venerable Head of the School of Philosophy on the day of his reception; and a promise was required of the teachers there, to imitate the virtues of this beloved Saint. He is a patron of both Poland and Lithuania; Clement XIII canonized him in 1767.

Image: Kraków St Anna Church, photo by Ludwig Schneider. (4)

Research by REGINA Staff

  1. http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/St.%20John%20Cantius.html
  2. http://sanctoral.com/en/saints/saint_john_cantius.html
  3. http://traditionalcatholic.net/Tradition/Calendar/10-20.html
  4. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Krak%C3%B3w_Ko%C5%9Bci%C3%B3%C5%82_%C5%9Awi%C4%99tej_Anny_011.jpg

Saint Frideswide, Virgin

October 19

Today is the feast day of Saint Frideswide.  Ora pro nobis.

St. Frideswide (Fritheswith) was born about 665 near Oxford, the daughter of noble parents, sub-King Didan and Sefrida.  She was born at her father’s palace in Oxford, anmd was brought up by a governess, a holy woman named Elgitha at her father’s estate named after him, at Didcot.  

She founded a convent at the gates of Oxford – where Christ Church now stands. Aelfgar, prince of Mercia, was determined to marry her for her beauty and her inheritance, but she fled to the forests to avoid his attentions. When she returned to Oxford, Aelfgar beseiged the city, but just at the point of victory he was struck blind. For many years afterwards, she presided as Abbess of a double monastery of both monks and nuns. Some say that the origins of the University of Oxford lie in the school she established there. She was well known in her lifetime for effecting miraculous cures, and a well at Binsey – where she latterly retired as a hermitess – became known as a place of healing. She died at Binsey on 19th October 735, and was buried in her monastery, where Christ Church Cathedral now stands.

Legendary Life of St. Frideswide

Seint Fretheswyde, that holy mayde, was of Englonde;
Atte Oxenford heo was ybore, as ich understonde.
Hir fader hete Kyng Dydan, and Sefreth hete the quene –
This were hire eldren, that hure gotten hem bytwene.
Fretheswyd, hure yonge doughter, to lettre hii setten in youthe;
So wel heo spedde in six monnthes that heo hure Sauter couthe.
Swythe wel heo was byloved, of hey and of lowe;
Alle hii hadde joie of hure that couthen hure knowe.
Of the hard here was hure nexte wede.
The meste mete that heo ete was worten and barly brede,
And the cold welle water – that was hure drynke.
Now wold a knyghtes doughter grete hoker of suche sondes thynke!
The maide bysoght hure fadere to make hure nonne
In Seint Marie churche, that he hadde er bygonne.
Hire fadere was the furste man that lete the churche rere
That bereth the nam now of that mayde that lyth yschryned ther.
The king was glad of this chyld, that to clene lyf drowe.
He sende after a byschop anon hasteliche ynowe
Of Lyncolne that was tho – Edgar was his name –
To maken his doughter nonne ne thoght hym no schame.
The byschop for the kynges heste thuder he cam hymsulf
And schar hure in the nonnerie with hire felawes twelve.
A nyght, as this mayde was huresulf alon,
In hire bedes with hire sustren slepen everechon,
The fende hadde envye therof to hire goudhede
And thoght myd som gynne of goud lyf hure lede.
To hire he cam hire to fonde, in one mannes lyche
In goldbeten clothes that semed swythe ryche.
“My derworth mayde,” he sede, “ne thynke thee noght to longe.
Tyme hit is for thy travayle that thou thy mede afonge.
Ich am thulke that thou byst to: take now goud hede.
Honoure me here, and for thy servyse ich croune thee to mede.”
The fende hadde in his heved an croune of rede golde;
Another he that mayde bede, yif heo hym honoury wolde.
“Fare fram me, thou foule fende with thyn byheste!”
Heo made the croys, and he fley awey with noyse and grete cheste.
In the holy nonnerie so longe heo lyved ther
That hure fadere and hure modere both ded were.
Algar hete the king after the king Dydan;
He was king at Oxenford ychose – a wonder luther man.
He ofsende Fretheswyth, to habben hure to wyve.
Heo sede heo was to God ywedded, to hold by hure lyve.
The forward that heo hadde ymade, heo sede heo nolde breke;
If heo dude, wel heo wyste God wold be awreke.
“A foule,” heo sede, “ich were the hey King of Hevene forsake
For gyfte other for anythyng, and thee His hyne take.”
The messageres with grete strengthe wolden hure habbe ynome
And don the maide byfor the king anon to hym come.
Alle that weren ther woxen starc blynde;
Bynome hem was the myght the mayde for to fynde!
The borgeys of Oxenford sore were agaste,
And this holy maide for this men hii beden atte laste,
That heo thorw Godes grace geve hem here syght;
And thennes to the king passe that hii mosten habbe myght.
Anon hii hadden here syght thorw hire bysechyng;
Thannes hii wende, and al that cas hii toldyn the king.
The king therfor hym made wroth tho he herd this,
And in grete wrath swor his oth that he wold hire seche, ywys;
And that he hure habbe wolde. Faste he gan to yelpe
And swor that hure wocchecrafte scholde hure lyte helpe.
An angel that sulf nyght to that mayde cam
And bad hire oute of the kinges syght wende, that was so grame.
The levedy wende by nyght fram hure sustren tho
With somme that heo with hure toke – tweyne, witthoute mo.
To Temese heo yede and fonde a bote al preste, thorw Godes sonde,
And therin heo fonde an angel that broght hem to the londe.
For dred of the king heo wende, as God hit wolde,
Ne dorste heo come at non toune, to dwelle at non holde.
In a wode that Benesy yclyped ys al day
Thre wynter in an hole woned, that seylde me hure say.
 A mayde that seve yere ne myght nothing yse
Cam to hure in the wode, and felle adoun a kne.
Hure eyghen that holy mayde wysche with water of hure honde,
And as hole as any fysche that maide gan up stonde.
The king hym cam to Oxenford, wroth and eke wode,
And thoght to do the mayde other than goud.
So sone so he to toune cam, he thoghte for to fyght
And habbe this maide Fretheswythe with strengthe agenryght.
He enquered ware heo was. Me told hym sone that cas:
That heo in the wode of Benysye preveliche yhydde was.
The king rod toward the wode with hauke and with racche,
For to enserchy after this mayde yf he myght cache.
Tho this maide this yherd, anon heo bygan to fle
Priveliche toward Oxenford, that non scholde hure se;
So that heo was underyute that heo was fleynde.
After hure me wende faste; the king rod ernyng.
The mayde scaped into the toune, as hit was Godes grace.
The kinges hors spornde witthoute the gate in a wel faire place
And felle and brake the kinges necke; and that he gan awynne.
Nas ther non of his men tho that derst come withinne.
The maide holde hure ther in pes fram alle hure fon.
Glad was that myght with hure speke other to hure gon.
Of hure holy lyf me told fer and eke nere,
Into alle Englonde that me wyste nas yholde hure pere.
A wel swythe wondere cas byfelle oppon a day
Up a fyscher that in a bote with his felawes aslepe lay.
He bygan to ravien as he awoke of slepe.
Up among his felawes, wod he gan to lepe,
So that on that ther was among hem alle he slowe;
And wan he was afalle, with his teth on hym he gnowe.
Alle that myght to hym come on hym setten honde,
And uneth with muche pyne hii teyghede hym and bonde.
Al hii wer busie that foule goste to lede
Toward that holy mayde, that heo for hym bede.
The maide fourmed that croys tofor on his heved;
The bounden body felle adoune, as hit were ded.
The maide hete unbynd hym anon in al wyse,
And suth hym a Godes name hole and sounde to aryse.
Hol and sounde the man aros and hered God almyght
And that mayde that hym delyvered of that foule wyght.
As heo yede a day in the toune, a mysel heo mette.
To hure the mysel felle adoune, and on knes hure grette,
And bysoght that lady that heo hym cusse scholde.
Heo custe hym, and he was hole, ryght as God hit wolde.
Fele miracles by hure lyve of hure weren ycude,
And suth after hure deth; hii neren noght yhud.
Heo wend out of this world a morwe up Lukes day.
Now God ous bringe to the blysse that He broght that may!Amen. (4)

 

 

Image: Saint Frideswide hides from King Algar amongst swines. Part of the St Frideswide window at Christ Church. Artist: Rabanus Flavus, photo by Pruneau. (5)

Research by REGINA Staff

  1. http://liturgialatina.blogspot.com/2011/10/19th-october-st-frideswide-virgin.html
  2. http://www.earlybritishkingdoms.com/adversaries/bios/fritheswith.html
  3. http://www.berkshirehistory.com/legends/frideswide01.html
  4. http://d.lib.rochester.edu/teams/text/reames-middle-english-legends-of-women-saints-shorter-south-english-legendary-life-of-st-frideswide
  5. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Frideswide-2.jpg

Saint Peter Alcantara, Confessor

October 19

Today is the feast day of Saint Peter Alcantara.  Ora pro nobis.

by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876

St. Peter was born in the year 1499, at Alcantara, in Spain. He became celebrated for his great piety, and the austerity of his life, and in order to distinguish him from other Saints of the same name, received the surname, “of Alcantara.” Besides other signs of future holiness, Peter, when only seven years of age, evinced so great a love for prayer, that he sometimes forgot to eat and drink. During the time of his studies he kept his innocence unspotted in the midst of many dangers, by making prayer, the holy Sacraments, and penances, its guardians. When hardly sixteen years old, he secretly left his father’s house and entered the Franciscan Order, in which he soon became a model of all virtues. After having finished his novitiate, he was charged with different functions, all of which he discharged most successfully. The office of preacher was the most agreeable to him. An incredible number of hardened sinners were converted by his sermons, in which he treated of penance and a reform of life. The fame of his virtues and holiness gave additional weight to every word he uttered. Especially admirable were the untiring zeal with which he practised all manner of bodily austerities, and his continual communion with God in prayer. His whole life was one of extraordinary and almost unexampled mortification. He guarded his eyes so closely, that he not only never looked on a woman’s face, but knew his brethren only by their voices; and after a long sojourn in the monastery, could not tell whether the choir and the dormitory were vaulted or covered with boards.

The cell he chose for his dwelling was so narrow, that it was more like a tomb than the abode of a living human being, and so low, that he could not stand upright in it. He kept an almost continual fast, and hardly partook, every third day, of some undressed herbs, bread and water. It even happened that during eight days he took no food whatever. He scourged himself twice daily with iron chains. He wore, day and night, a penitential instrument made of tin, pierced like a grater. During forty years, he allowed himself only one hour and a half of sleep at night, and this, not lying down, but kneeling, or standing with his head leaning against a board. The remainder of the night he occupied in prayer and meditation. As long as he lived in the order, he went barefoot and bareheaded, even in the coldest season. His clothing consisted of his habit and a short cloak, made of rough sack-cloth. He seemed to have made a compact with his body never in this world to allow it any peace or comfort. His union with God in prayer had reached so high a degree, that he was often seen in ecstacy, or raised high in the air, and surrounded by a heavenly brightness. The power of his holy prayers was experienced not only by many hardened sinners, but also by many sick for whom he obtained health and strength. The inhabitants of the city of Albuquerque, ascribed to him their deliverance from the pestilence; for, as soon as St. Peter had called upon the divine mercy, the pestilence, which had most fearfully ravaged the city, disappeared.

The love of God, which filled the heart of the Saint, manifested itself in his intercourse and conversation with men, whom he endeavored to inflame with the same love. This appeared in all his actions, but especially at the time of Holy Mass, when he stood like a Seraph before the altar, his face burning, and tears streaming from his eyes. When meditating on the passion and death of our Saviour, he was frequently so deeply torched in his inmost heart, that for hours he was like one dead. His devotion to God would sometimes burn his heart so intensely, that to moderate his emotion, he would go into the fields to breathe more freely. Having reached his fortieth year, he was chosen provincial, but endeavored to refuse the dignity, and when compelled by obedience to accept it, he regarded it as an opportunity to do good to those under his charge. God admonished him to restore the primitive observance in the Order, according to the rule and spirit of St. Francis. Although he could not but foresee the many and great difficulties which he would encounter in this undertaking, still, trusting in God, he went courageously to work after having obtained the sanction of the Pope.

The Almighty visibly aided His faithful servant; for, in six years, the Saint had founded nine monasteries, in which the mortification and the perfect poverty which St. Francis especially cherished were observed in all the rigor of the first Rule. In the course of time, this renewed Order was disseminated through all Spain, to the great joy of the Saint. This and other labors which he performed to the honor and glory of God made him greatly esteemed by every one. St. Teresa, who lived at that period, asked his advice in her cares and doubts whenever she had occasion, and called him a Saint while he was yet upon earth. St. Francis Borgia entertained great friendship for him, and the praise of his great virtues resounded throughout all Spain. The Emperor Charles V. desired to make him his confessor, but the humble servant of the Almighty knew how to say so much of his incapacity for this office, that the emperor abandoned the idea, to the Saint’s great joy. This became a new incentive for him to devote himself entirely to the service of God and the welfare of those under him.

He had reached his 63rd year, more by a miracle than in a natural way, when he was visited by Providence with a severe illness, which soon left no hope of his recovery, as his body was entirely wasted away by the severity of his life, his painful journeys and his uninterrupted labors. He himself was informed from on high of his approaching end and he received the last Sacraments with so deep a devotion, that the eyes of all present were filled with tears. After this he fell into a rapture, in which the Divine Mother and St. John, the Evangelist, appeared to him and assured him of his salvation. Hence, regaining consciousness, he cheerfully recited the words of the Psalmist: “I have rejoiced in those things which have been said to me; We shall go into the house of the Lord.” Having said this, he calmly gave his soul into the keeping of his Creator, in the year of Our Lord 1562. St. Teresa, who has written much in his praise, says among other things: “He died as he had lived, a Saint; and I have, after his death, received many graces from God, through his intercession. I have often seen him in great glory, and when I saw him the first time, he said to me: ‘O happy penance, which has obtained so great a glory for me!'” The Roman Breviary testifies that St. Teresa, though, at the time of his death, far from him, saw his soul gloriously ascend into heaven. The biographers of St. Peter, relate many and great miracles which he wrought while he was still living. In the Breviary, we read, among other things, the following. “He crossed rapid rivers with dry feet. In times of great poverty, he fed his brethren with food which he received from heaven. The staff which he placed in the ground, immediately became a budding fig-tree. Once, in the night-time, when he sought shelter from a snow-storm in a roofless house, the snow remained hanging in the air, above it, and thus formed a roof to protect him from being buried in the snow.” (1)

Perhaps the most remarkable of Peter’s graces were his gift of contemplation and the virtue of penance. Hardly less remarkable was his love of God, which was at times so ardent as to cause him, as it did St. Philip Neri, sensible pain, and frequently rapt him into ecstasy. The poverty he practised and enforced was as cheerful as it was real, and often let the want of even the necessaries of life be felt. In confirmation of his virtues and mission of reformation God worked numerous miracles through his intercession and by his very presence. He was beatified by Gregory XV in 1622, and canonized by Clement IX in 1669. Besides the Constitutions of the Stricter Observants and many letters on spiritual subjects, especially to St. Teresa, he composed a short treatise on prayer, which has been translated into all the languages of Europe.

Image: Peter of Alcantara (9)

Research by REGINA Staff

  1. http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/St.%20Peter%20Alcantara.html
  2. http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/A%20Golden%20Treastise%20of%20Mental%20Prayer.html
  3. http://www.roman-catholic-saints.com/saint-peter-of-alcantara.html
  4. http://traditionalcatholic.net/Tradition/Calendar/10-19.html
  5. http://www.nobility.org/2013/10/17/peter-alcantara/
  6. http://www.catholictradition.org/Two-Hearts/hostia2.htm
  7. http://sanctoral.com/en/saints/saint_peter_of_alcantara.html
  8. http://www.traditioninaction.org/SOD/j043sdPeterAlcantara10-22.htm
  9. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Washington_DC-Sepulchre_Franciscan_Monastery_st_Peter.jpg

Saint Luke, Evangelist

October 18

Today is the feast day of Saint Luke.  Ora pro nobis.

It is from St. Paul himself that we learn that St. Luke was a Gentile, for he is not named among those of his helpers whom Paul mentions as Jews [Col. 4:10-11]; that he was a fellow worker with the Apostle; and that he was a medical man, who doubtless had the care of Paul’s much-tried health. But nowhere does St. Paul refer to Luke’s writings. The first time in the history of the mission of St. Paul that Luke speaks in his own name in the first person is when the Apostle sailed from Troas into Macedonia [Acts 16:10]. He is separated by St. Paul from those of the circumcision (Colossians 4:14), and his style proves that he was a Greek.

Saint Luke.

from the Liturgical Year, 1903

The goodness and kindness of God our Saviour hath appeared to all men (Tit. ii. 11; iii. 4.). It would seem that the third Evangelist, a disciple of St. Paul, had purposed setting forth this word of the Doctor of the Gentiles; or may we not rather say, the Apostle himself characterizes in this sentence the Gospel wherein his disciple portrays the Saviour prepared before the face of all peoples; a light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of… Israel (St. Luke ii. 31, 32). St. Luke’s Gospel, and the words quoted from St. Paul, were in fact written about the same time; and it is impossible to say which claims priority.

Under the eye of Simon Peter, to whom the Father had revealed the Christ the Son of the living God, Mark had the honour of giving to the Church the Gospel of Jesus, the Son of God (St. Mark i. 1). Matthew had already drawn up for the Jews the Gospel of the Messias, Son of David, Son of Abraham (St. Matth. i. 1). Afterwards, at the side of Paul, Luke wrote for the Gentiles the Gospel of Jesus, Son of Adam through Mary (St. Luke iii. 38). As far as the genealogy of this First-born of His Mother may be reckoned back, so far shall extend the blessing He bestows upon His brethren, by redeeming them from the curse inherited from their first father.

Jesus was truly one of ourselves, a Man conversing with men and living their life. He was seen on earth in the reign of Augustus; the prefect of the empire registered the birth of this new subject of Caesar in the city of His ancestors. He was bound in the swathing-bands of infancy; like all of His race, He was circumcised, offered to the Lord, and redeemed according to the law of His nation. As a Child He obeyed His parents; He grew up under their eyes; He passed through the progressive development of youth to the maturity of manhood. At every juncture, during His public life, He prostrated in prayer to God the Creator of all; He wept over His country; when His Heart was wrung with anguish at sight of the morrow’s deadly torments, He was bathed with a sweat of blood; and in that agony He did not disdain the assistance of an Angel. Such appears, in the third Gospel, the humanity of God our Saviour.

How sweet too are His grace and goodness! Among all the children of men, He merited to be the expectation of nations and the Desired of them all: He who was conceived of a humble Virgin; Who was born in a stable with shepherds for His court, and choirs of Angels singing in the darkness of night: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of goodwill. But earth had sung the prelude to the angelic harmonies; the precursor, leaping with delight in his mother’s womb, had, as the Church says (Vesper Hymn for the Feast of St. John Baptist), made known the king still resting in his bride-chamber. To this joy of the bridegroom’s Friend, the Virgin Mother had responded, by the sweetest song that earth or heaven has ever heard. Then Zachary and Simeon completed the number of inspired Cantioles for the new people of God. All was song aTound the new-born Babe ; and Mary kept all the wcrds in her heart, in order to transmit them to us through her own Evangelist.

The Divine Child grew in age and wisdom and grace, before God and man; till His human beauty captivated men, and drew them with the cords of Adam to the love of God. He was ready to welcome the daughter of Tyre, the Gentile race that had become more than a rival of Sion. Let her not fear, the poor unfortunate one, of whom Magdalene was a figure; the pride of expiring Judaism may take scandal, but Jesus will accept her tears and her perfumes; he will forgive her much because of her great love. Let the prodigal hope once more, when worn out with his long wanderings, in every way whither error has led the nations; the envious complaint of his elder brother Israel will not stay the outpourings of the Sacred Heart, celebrating the return of the fugitive, restoring to him the dignity of sonship, placing again upon his finger the ring of the alliance first contracted in Eden with the whole human race. As for Juda, unhappy is he if he refuse to understand.

Woe to the rich man, who in his opulence neglects the poor Lazarus! The privileges of race no longer exist: of ten lepers cured in body, the stranger alone is healed in soul, because he alone believes in his deliverer and returns thanks. Of the Samaritan, the levite, and the priest, who appear on the road to Jericho, the first alone earns our Saviour’s commendation. The pharisee is strangely mistaken, when, in his arrogant prayer, he spurns the publican, who strikes his breast and cries for mercy. The Son of Man neither hears the prayers of the proud, nor heeds their indignation; He invites Himself, in spite of their murmurs, to the house of Zacheus, bringing with him salvation and joy, and declaring the publican to be henceforth a true son of Abraham. So much goodness and such universal mercy close against Him the narrow hearts of his fellow-citizens; they will not have him to reign over them; but eternal Wisdom finds the lost coin, and there is great joy before the Angels in heaven. On the day of the sacred Nuptials, the lowly and despised, and the repentant sinners, will sit down to the banquet prepared for others. In truth I say to you, there were many widows in the days of Elias in Israel, . . . and to none of them was Elias sent, but to Sarepta of Sidon, to a widow woman. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet, and none of them was cleansed but Naaman the Syrian (St. Luke iv. 25-27).

O Jesus, Thy Evangelist has won our hearts. “We love thee for having taken pity on our misery. We Gentiles were in deeper debt than Jerusalem, and therefore we owe thee greater love in return for thy pardon. We love thee because Thy choicest graces are for Magdalene, that is, for us who are sinners, and are nevertheless called to the better part. We love Thee because thou canst not resist the tears of mothers; but restorest to them, as at Naim, their dead children. In the day of treason, and abandonment, and denial, thou didst forget Thine own injury to cast upon Peter that loving look, which caused him to weep bitterly. Thou turnedst away from Thyself the tears of those humble and true daughters of Jerusalem, who followed thy painful footsteps up the heights of Calvary. Nailed to the Cross, thou didst implore pardon for Thy executioners. At the last hour, as God thou promisedst Paradise to the penitent thief, as Man thou gavest back Thy soul to Thy Father. Truly from beginning to end of this third Gospel appears thy goodness and kindness, O God our Saviour!

St. Luke completed his work by writing, in the same correct style as his Gospel, the history of the first days of Christianity, of the introduction of the Gentiles into the Church, and of the great labours of their own Apostle Paul. 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 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; and also of the medical profession, for in the holy Scripture itself he is said to have been a physician, as we shall see from the Breviary Lessons. He had studied all the sciences in his native city Antioch; and the brilliant capital of the East had reason to be proud of its illustrious son. (1)

After St. Paul’s death, St. Luke left Rome. There are conflicting reports about where he went. Some say he preached in Greece, others in Gaul. He wrote his Gospel with the aim of attracting the Gentiles to the goodness and mercy of the Lord. A little later he wrote the Acts of the Apostles. 

He died without shedding his blood, but the Church honored him with the title of martyr for the long sufferings and mortifications he endured for the cause of the Gospel.

Prayer to St. Luke

Antiphon: Be couragious in battle, and fight with the old Serpent, and you shall receive an everlasting Kingdom. Alleluia.

Vers. They proclaimed the works of God.
Resp. And understood his deeds.

Prayer: May thy holy Evangelist St. Luke, we beseech Thee, O Lord, be an intercessor for us; who, for the Honour of thy Name, always bore in his Body the mortification of the Cross: Through Our Lord, Jesus, Thy Son, Who liveth and reighneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen

Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me.

(St. Luke xviii. 38; Indulgence 100 days)

Image: Luke the Evangelist, miniature from the Grandes Heures of Anne of Brittany, Queen consort of France (1477-1514). Artist: Jean Bourdichon 1457-1521. (7)

Research by REGINA Staff

  1. http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com/St.%20Luke%20Popup.html
  2. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09420a.htm
  3. http://www.catholictradition.org/Saints/saints10-12.htm
  4. http://www.catholicireland.net/saintoftheday/st-luke-1st-cent-evangelist-and-author-of-acts/
  5. http://365rosaries.blogspot.com/2010/10/october-18-saint-luke-evangelist.html
  6. http://www.traditioninaction.org/SOD/j150sd_Luke_10-18.shtml
  7. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Grandes_Heures_Anne_de_Bretagne_Saint_Luc.jpg
  8. http://sanctoral.com/en/saints/saint_luke.html
  9. http://traditionalcatholic.net/Tradition/Calendar/10-18.html

 

 

 

 

 

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