Category Archives: Cloud of Witnesses

Reflections on Saint Luke and his Gospel

17th-century unknown painters - St Luke the Apostle and Evangelist - WGA23506.jpg
Unknown Icon Painter, Russian (2nd half of 17th century)Web Gallery of Art:   Image  Info about artwork, Public Domain, Link

We do well to think about St. Luke’s Gospel on his Feast Day.  St. Luke, said to have been an artist who painted or wrote the first icon of the Blessed Virgin, paints a portrait of Jesus Christ as the Merciful Savior. At the outset, Jesus is described as the One who comes “in the tender compassion of Our God… to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet in the way of peace.” He comes to those most in need of his mercy, to the poor and humble, to the lost, and the forgotten.

Jesus comes to the poor as one who is poor. God becomes for our sakes. He embraces the poverty of the family is born into–when he is presented in the Temple there is no mention of a lamb but turtle doves and pigeons, the offering of those who could not afford. The infancy/childhood narrative that only St. Luke’s provides ends with the Holy Family living in unassuming Nazareth. Later, in the Gospel according to St. Luke, Jesus’ parable of the rich man and Lazarus is recounted, as well as the parable of the good Samaritan, bringing attention to those in need.

Jesus comes for the spiritually poor, sick, and needy as well. When 12-year-old Jesus is “lost,” with he’s in solidarity all those who are lost. He comes to seek the lost, the ones who “dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.” Jesus is the shepherd who leaves the 99 in search for the one stray lamb. In Luke’s Gospel, he tells the parable of the prodigal son–which is really about the prodigal Father who lavishes mercy on sinners. Throughout the Gospel, we see Jesus as the Good Samaritan, ostracized by some of his own, taking the place of the man in the ditch. He is the Divine Physician who comes to bind our wounds by becoming wounded and bound in swaddling burial cloths.

These are things that stand out to me in the Gospel of Luke. I can’t fail to notice that Luke was a physician, the only New Testament writer who mentions that Jesus’ sweat falls to the ground as drops of blood (a real medical condition called hematidrosis: of being under extreme duress to the point that capillaries burst and mingle with sweat). And Luke is the only one who records the event of the Road to Emmaus. It’s one of my favorite accounts of the Resurrection: the Resurrected I started to walks alongside two of his disciples who are so traumatized by the events of Good Friday that they fail to recognize him. Jesus makes as if he doesn’t know what has happened, then he proceeds to reveal himself in the Scriptures and in the “breaking of the bread.”This is a masterfully written outline of the Holy Mass.

It’s also interesting that St. Luke mentions that Our Lady kept “all these things in her heart.” After her heart was pierced by the lance–and then given the great joy of seeing her resurrected Son–she revealed what was on her heart to the very early Church. There was no way for St. Luke to know about the conception, birth, and childhood of Christ unless this information was shared with him by Mary herself. Maybe she related these details to him while he painted her image.

As an artist, I feel that it’s fitting for me to take the time to write about Saint Luke, patron of artists, on his Feast Day. And it’s about time that I stop being lazy and start posting again.

St. Luke, pray for us.

St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is not for getting wasted on green beer–or anything else for that matter.  The day is meant for honoring a Saint of the Holy Church and endeavoring to imitating him so that we might transform into Christ Jesus. I mean, the stuff that he wrote is really intense…  just read the prayer he composed or the book he wrote. St. Patrick brought the Light of Christ into Ireland to cast out the darkness of druidism.

If you’re going to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at least do it right (exercising the virtue of temperance)— and for the right reasons.

Here’s a video from Father James Kubicki…

St. Josaphat

November 12 is the feast day of St. Josaphat. He was an Eastern Catholic bishop and martyr who prayed for the Orthodox reunion with Rome. We should see his intercession as we pray for Christian unity. A large body of Anglicans will soon realize unity with the Catholic Church. The Eastern Orthodox Churches have even more reason to reunite with Rome as they already share in the sacraments instituted by Christ. What a witness full Christian unity would be for the world; Church Militants standing tall against the onslaught of satan and his culture of death!

Here is a little bit about St. Josaphat:

All Saints and all souls

Today is All Souls Day, the commemoration of all the faithful departed (souls in purgatory). Yesterday was all Saints Day honoring the Saints in heaven who intercede for us before the throne of God. Only the souls of those who were perfected on earth can go straight to heaven. The souls of those who have not been perfected on earth (and not damned to hell) must be perfected in a state of afterlife called Purgatory. Only after the souls in Purgatory are completely purged of imperfections due to sin and the attachment to sin, can they enter into heaven. It says in the book of Revelation that nothing unclean can enter heaven. It is reasonable then, to believe that God Who is All-Merciful has provided a state of final purification after death.

Our prayers can expedite the process of purification and alleviate the suffering that a soul in purgatory must undergo. It is a suffering of desire to be with God, a desire that cannot be fulfilled until the purification is over. These souls cannot pray for themselves for the purification process to go quicker so they rely on the prayers of their loved ones and just about anyone else who prays for them Here on earth.

The souls in purgatory are classified as the Church Suffering, the souls in heaven make up the Church Triumphant and all of us still fighting here on earth comprise the Church Militant. The three groups constitute what is referred to as the Communion of Saints.

We the members of the Church Militant, have a duty to pray for the Church Suffering. And we ought to imitate and pray to the members of the Church Triumphant so that we can become Saints bypassing purgatory altogether by being purged here on earth through acceptance of the suffering of daily life.

Love in the Heart of the Church

Today is the feastday of St. Therese.

St. Therese desired to do so many things for Christ. As she put it in one of her writings addressed to Jesus:

To be Your Spouse, to be a Carmelite, and by my union with You to be the Mother of souls, should not this suffice me? And yet it is not so. No doubt, these three privileges sum up my true vocation: Carmelite, Spouse, Mother, and yet I feel within me other vocations. I feel the vocation of the WARRIOR, THE PRIEST, THE APOSTLE, THE DOCTOR, THE MARTYR. Finally, I feel the need and the desire of carrying out the most heroic deeds for You, O Jesus. I feel within my soul the courage of the Crusader, the Papal Guard, and I would want to die on the field of battle in defence of the Church.”

These ”other vocations” existing alongside her “true vocation” are desires, desires to serve Christ by all the great means with which he can be served. When she says that she feels the location of the priest, it is not in the skewed way that the advocates of “women’s ordination” demand for themselves. Her desires are not what God objectively wills for her, rather, they are expressions of the magnanimity and generosity of her soul. Simply put, she wanted to be all for Jesus.

It was in reading the First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians that St. Therese realized that her vocation was to be love in the heart of her Mother the Church. St. Paul speaks of the mystical body of Christ as having many members (1Cor. 12). If there are many members of the mystical body of Christ, including hands and feet, there must also be a heart (1Cor. 13). The Little Flower described this revelation of hers:

“When I had looked upon the mystical body of the Church, I recognised myself in none of the members which St. Paul described, and what is more, I desired to distinguish myself more favourably within the whole body. Love appeared to me to be the hinge for my vocation. Indeed I knew that the Church had a body composed of various members, but in this body the necessary and more noble member was not lacking; I knew that the Church had a heart and that such a heart appeared to be aflame with love. I knew that one love drove the members of the Church to action, that if this love were extinguished, the apostles would have proclaimed the Gospel no longer, the martyrs would have shed their blood no more. I saw and realised that love sets off the bounds of all vocations, that love is everything, that this same love embraces every time and every place. In one word, that love is everlasting.

“Then, nearly ecstatic with the supreme joy in my soul, I proclaimed: O Jesus, my love, at last I have found my calling: my call is love. Certainly I have found my place in the Church, and you gave me that very place, my God. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love, and thus I will be all things, as my desire finds its direction.”

In doing everything with love for God, and putting up with difficulties great and small, and keeping silent when she wanted to defend herself, St. Therese shows us what holiness is all about—love. Love is the driving force that changes the world.

And she knew that without the grace of the Master who “loved us to the end,” she could do nothing.

Their voice goes out through all the earth: St. Matthew

“Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world”

That’s from the Psalm (19) for today’s Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist. Although the above words are true about all the apostles of Jesus Christ, they are especially true for St. Matthew.

The message delivered is Christ Jesus himself, the Almighty Word of God. Through the Apostles and their successors, Jesus spreads all over the map. Thanks to them, the messengers, we can know The Message and live Him to the full. Some of the apostles were chosen to record the Word on paper. These are called Gospels, or collectively, the Gospel—the Good News.

St. Matthew was chosen by God to be one of the 12 and to record events that would change the course of human history (including the Sermon on the Mount and inauguration of the Kingdom of God–the Church). He heard the voice of Jesus and literally left everything to follow Him. St. Matthew bore much fruit through perseverance and literally shed his blood trusting in the Word who said:

“If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

-The Gospel according to Matthew 16:24-25