Saint Luke the Evangelist is the author of the third Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, which contain such stirring and moving accounts of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’s Ascension into Heaven, the selection of Saint Matthias to replace Judas Isacariot, Pentecost Sunday, the preaching and evangelical work of Saint Peter and the other eleven Apostles, the conversion of Saul by Our Lord Himself after he had presided over the stoning of Saint Stephen the Protomartyr, the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch by Saint Philip, and detailed narratives of the apostolic journeys of Saint Paul.
Saint Luke, who was a physician, which is why he had a particular disdain for lawyers, provided us with the most detailed accounts of Our Lady’s Annunciation and Visitation. The first part of the Ave Maria is based on the exact text provided in the Gospel according to Saint Luke of Saint Gabriel the Archangel’s Angelic Salutation that, with Our Lady’s response, provides the foundation of the Angelus we pray every day at six o’clock in the morning, noon, and six o’clock in the evening outside of Paschaltide.
Chapter One of the Gospel according to Saint Luke thus provides us with Our Lady’s Magnificat that is prayed by Holy Mother Church every evening in Vespers, and contains the following words that serve as a rebuke to Protestantism’s refusal to call Our Lady blessed is in direct contradiction of the following words that Saint Luke wrote under the inspiration of the Third Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, God the Holy Ghost:
And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:  And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.  And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.  And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.
 And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord.  And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.  Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.  Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is his name.  And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him. (Luke 1: 41-50.)
These nine verses contain the sanctification of the last of the Old Testament Prophets, Saint John the Baptist, in the womb of his own mother, Saint Elizabeth, as Our Lord’s Cousin and Precursor was given by God the Holy Ghost to know of the Divine Presence hidden in the Virginal and Immaculate Womb of the fairest flower of our race, our dear Blessed Mother, and Our Lady’s own prophecy that “all generations shall call me blessed.”
Bishop Richard Challoner offered the following commentary in the Douay-Rheims Bible about Our Lady’s prophecy:
 "Shall call me blessed": These words are a prediction of that honour which the church in all ages should pay to the Blessed Virgin. Let Protestants examine whether they are any way concerned in this prophecy.
It is always very useful to challenge Protestants, especially those who say that the take the words of Sacred Scripture literally, how they can ignore the plain meaning of Our Lady’s words and treat with indifference, if not contempt and as “idol.”
Saint Luke’s account of The Nativity of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is so beautiful that countless saints have never ceased to draw out new material for sermons and learned disquisitions, and his account of Our Lady losing her Divine Son in the Temple and then finding Him after three days was explained by Father Maurice Meschler. S. J., in The Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ, The Son of God, in Meditations, and by Our Lady herself to Venerable Mary of Agreda in The New English Edition of The Mystical City of God:
The only fact in the hidden life of which the circumstances are known with certainty is that Jesus went with His parents to the Feast of the Pasch, remained behind when they left the city, and appeared in public in the Temple.
Narrative and External Circumstances of the Mystery.
The first circumstance was the time. The mystery falls about midway in the course of the hidden life. Our Saviour had attained his twelfth year (Luke ii. 42), and was now at the age when, as a responsible member of the community and entitled to full rights, he was subject to the law; or, as the Jews were accustomed to say, He had become “a son of the law”. Now the Feast of the Pasch was drawing near, and He wished to celebrate it for the first time in Jerusalem, as in duty bound; since the law commanded all men to make a pilgrimage to the Temple three times in the year, the Pasch being fixed for one of these pilgrimages (Deut. Xvi. 16). The women also accompanied their husbands out of devotion (I Kings I. 3 seq.) "So our Saviour went as a pilgrim to Jerusalem, accompanied by His parents, who undertook this Paschal pilgrimage every year" (Luke ii. 41).
The second circumstance is the feast and the place of its celebration. The Feast of the Pasch was one of the centres, indeed the chief centre and focus of Jewish ecclesiastical life. Since the visit to the national sanctuary formed an essential part of the celebration of the Pasch, the concourse of people from all parts of the world was immense, and amounted to hundreds of thousands. No feast of the year had such deep significance as that of the Pasch, the memorial of that divine act which made Israel the chosen people of God and released it from the bonds of Egypt. Lastly, the sacrifice by which this feast was distinguished – the Paschal Lamb – was the original and chief sacrifice of the whole covenant, and the principal type of the Saviour . All these details have an important bearing on the mystery.
The third circumstance was that our Saviour remained behind in Jerusalem when His parents started on their homeward journey. The Paschal Lamb was eaten on the 14th of Nisan (March), the solemn sacrifice took place on the 15th, and on the 16th the first-fruits of barley were offered; then the pilgrims could set out on their return journey. Perhaps Mary and Joseph did so. But our Saviour did not go with them; He quitted His parents intentionally and with a set purpose – no difficult feat in the vast crowd of pilgrims traveling in separate companies (Luke ii. 43 44)> At the first encampment for the night, probably in Beroth or Ophnie, His parents discovered His absence, and set out with unspeakable sorrow and anxiety, seeking for Him all the way back to the city and probable also in the city itself, until they found Him at last on the third day in the Temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors (Luke ii 45 46).
That was the fourth circumstance. Whilst His parents were seeking Him, He had been attending the lectures which were held in the synagogue (a building adjacent to the Temple) or on one of the Temple terraces, by resident or visiting doctors of the law. Everyone could attend them, and might propose his doubts and questions. There, as it appears, our Saviour lingered for the greater part of this time, and excited universal attention and admiration by the insight and wisdom displayed in His questions and answers (Luke ii. 47 48).
Many features of this mystery come upon us as a surprise and a revelation, and are quite at variance with the usual conduct of our Lord – His withdrawal from the supervision and control of His parents, His exposing them to such unspeakable sorrow and anxiety for so long a time, His public appearance in the Temple and His acceptance of the applause excited by the display of His wisdom. All these things were in marked contrast to the character of the hidden life, which was above all things a life of obedience and deepest humility; they were quite contradictory to His usual mode of action; they caused bitter pain not only to His parents, but also to His own Heart, which was filled with such love and respect for them. Indeed, under ordinary circumstances, they would have been a violation of the simplest filial duty; for who does not understand the pain and anxiety endured by His father and Mother during these three days? It was this that occasioned Mary's gentle reproach: “Son, why hast thou done so to us? Behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing” (Luke ii. 48). There must have been some profound mystery underlying our Saviour's conduct.
THE MEANING AND LESSON OF THE MYSTERY
Our Saviour Himself gives us the key to the solution of these problems, in His answer to His Mother: “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father's business?” (Luke ii 49). What did He mean by this? Evidently that, though He has a Mother and owes her consideration, He has nevertheless a Father also, Who is greater, and Whose Will and command must always take the first place. And what else does the Heavenly Father will and command but the promotion of His honour and the salvation of mankind by the manifestation of His Son? Our Saviour came to fulfill this behest and Will of His Father; that is His life-work, and He often declared later in His public life (John iv. 34; v. 30; vi. 37 – 40; xvii. 3). This staying behind and appearing in the Temple is but a new manifestation of Himself; or more strictly speaking, it is a transient prelude of His public life, and this in a double sense, according to its end and according to the manner of His public ministry.
As regards its end, the public life of our Saviour is a magnificent witness of Himself, a revelation of His coming, His existence and work, by means of miracles and teaching. Here also we have something similar. Why does He appear in public? Why does He allow His wonderful wisdom to shine forth? Why does He attract attention to Himself, and suffer the plaudits of the crown? If we examine carefully the words of Holy Scripture, we see in all this a new manifestation of our Saviour, full of an importance peculiar to itself. And why? First, because it is the first manifestation of which He Himself is the agent. Hitherto others – Elizabeth, the angels, the shepherds, Simeon and Anna, the Magi – had borne witness to Him, but now He bears witness of Himself. Secondly, the manifestation is important because it is so attractive. What is more lovable and engaging that an intelligent child of this age? It is under this form that our Saviour chooses now to appear before the people. Thirdly, the manifestation is important because it has a splendour of its own, revealing as it does His insight and wisdom, and also His Divinity; for He calls God His Father, although in a mysterious and obscure manner (Luke ii 49). And lastly, it is of consequence on account of the great attention and admiration accorded to Him. We get a glimpse of the wonder, He excited by the fact that His parents found Him “sitting in the midst of the doctors,” and marveled at the sight (Luke ii 48). It seems, then, that He was not sitting with the other listeners and scholars; but that the doctors filled with admiring interest, had taken Him into their own circle and were questioning Him. This says a great deal, if we consider how important a position the doctors of the law held at this time, and what respect was paid to them. For this reason some of the holy Fathers call this occurrence a miracle. As Heli once bowed before the supernatural wisdom of little Samuel and Daniel, when but a your, pronounced sentence upon the two elders, so now the twelve-year-old Saviour sits among the doctors of the law. It is certainly a remarkable event, and in keeping with the public appearance of Jesus in later years.
Moreover this scene was also a prelude to the public life with regard to the exteriour circumstances and the manner in which our Saviour manifested Himself afterwards, by teaching and working miracles. There was the same complete detachment from hearth and home, flesh and blood; the same poverty and separation from His family. As later on He left His Mother and lived on alms, so now He left His parents and depended on the charity of kind people for food and shelter. It is true that His absence is one of three days only, but we must remember how much more trying are the circumstances, through the grief of His parents and their ignorance of His whereabouts. Thus, then His appearance in the Temple was really a perfect though transient prelude to His public life, a true manifestation of Himself. The answer of Jesus, “Did you knot know that I must be about my Father's business/” is the first word that Holy Scripture records as spoken by Him. It is a great and majestic saying, a revelation of the entire Messianic vocation of Jesus, sudden as a gleam of lightning in the midst of the obscurity and domestic quiet of the hidden life. Now wonder that Mary and Joseph were perplexed at such an unexpected disclosure (Luke ii 50).
Reasons Underlying The Mystery
There are three principal reasons why our Saviour thus manifested Himself.
The first reason concerned the Jews. It was very opportune that our Saviour should give some evidence of Himself again, for the last manifestation of Him had been made by the Magi, and the next was not to take place until His Baptism in the Jordan. Since, then, so long a period was to elapse between the two events, it was very fitting that our Saviour should once more recall Himself to the memory of the Jews, as he was about to disappear so completely in the hidden life. The circumstances of time and place – the Paschal Feast and the Temple – were very well chosen for this object (Isa. ii. 3. Mich. iv. 2.). That He first revealed Himself in the lecture-hall, and to the doctors of the law, is also significant. He thus declared Himself the teacher even of these teachers of the law, whose task it was to proclaim to the people the coming of the Messias, but with whom He was later to come into such serious and fatal conflict.
The second reason was one that concerned His parents, and especially His holy Mother. Our Saviour evidently wished not only to comfort her and excuse His behaviour towards her, by this reference to the Will of His Heavenly Father, but also to instruct her and make her understand more clearly His extraordinary and high vocation; namely that He was not on earth merely to carry out the duties of family life, but that He stood under a higher power. For this reason our Saviour very fittingly chose as the time of this admonition the expiration of His twelfth year, when the child outgrew the authority of his parents. He wished to prepare His Mother for the future separation, to be made at His entrance upon His office at Teacher. By this separation she was to assist and share in His vocation. She was also to give us an example of readiness and the noblest spirit of renunciation, when the call of God is heard and sacrifice is demanded. Parents have in this mystery a lesson as to their duty in matters concerning the vocation of their children. They see in Mary, on this occasion, not only the noblest patience and readiness to resign herself to what God wills or permits, but also the authority and right of the mother vindicated, as she gently questions our Saviour as to the reason of His conduct. Parents have the right to inquire into their children's vocation and to test it, but not to make it impossible and overthrow it. On the contrary it is their duty to submit in all patience and resignation to the recognized Will of God with regard to their children. The Will of God and nothing else must decide this matter, for the parents as well as for the children. They too must be about the Father's business. Then they have a share in all the good that proceeds from the vocation of the children. Mary is a beautiful example and a powerful help in the difficulties that arise for parents with regard to these matters, and she merited by her heroic virtue special graces for all who have to suffer such trials. Her example shows us what we have to do, and her aid enables us to act according to her example.
The third and last reason applies to ourselves. We needed a great example of obedience to the call of God under all circumstances. This mystery is really one of vocation, and contains for us the important lesson to carry out God's behest, let Him call us when, how, and to what He will. We must follow. On this account also our Saviour offered this lesson during His youth because it is generally in youth that it becomes our duty to choose a vocation. The whole mystery is arranged in accordance with this intention. Our Savoiur's example teaches us in the first place to what, whither, and how we must follow God. In this case the divine call is unusual, when we regard its object; the Saviour is to appear in public and bear witness of Himself in the midst of the hidden life.It is unusual with regard to the circumstances, demand as it does entire detachment from flesh and blood, and requiring a hard sacrifice. Lastly, it is unusual with regard to the time; for Jesus is still only a boy in His twelfth year. In short, the call tends towards higher things, to the exclusive service of God, to evangelical perfection, which consists essentially in the apostolic life. – Our Saviour teaches us how we are to obey God's call, viz. Completely, immediately, courageously and earnestly. He does not temper the hardness of the sacrifice for His parents. He leaves them without any warning; He made no advances to them; and when at last He is found, He has no tender, caressing excuse to offer, nothing but the earnest and majestic words: “Did you not know that I must be about my Father's business?” Does not our Saviour thrust aside by this example all the difficulties that can oppose a vocation, from whatever source they may come – tender age, consideration of the parents, the sacrifices contained in the vocation itself, or the perfect detachment that it entails? There is not a difficulty in any vocation that is not included in this mystery and removed by the example of our Saviour.
There is therefore nothing left for us to do but to follow the call of God, and to put out of our hearts all attachment to created things. What glorious motives, again, this mystery offers us! Above all, God, Who claims over us rights greater than those of even our nearest and dearest; He has indeed a right to all that we have, and especially to our love. But all excessive attachments are opposed to this love, and we may offer anything else we please, it will not satisfy God; for He will have our hearts, not our possessions. We must love God with all our hearts, with all our souls, and with all our strength. – The second motive is our Saviour. This mystery gives us for the first time a glimpse into His Heart, into His sentiments of love and boundless reverence for God. In His Heart is God, God alone, and nothing but His Will rules there; even the holiest and most justifiable. Our Lord's behaviour to His Mother and St. Joseph on this occasion passes a stern and trenchant judgment upon our inordinate attachments. What can we urge against it? That our Saviour really aought in all things only this Will and service of God, is seen by the manner in which He submits to be taken home again by His parents, and suffers Himself to disappear for so long in the shadow of the hidden life. (Father Maurice Meschler, S.J., The Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ, The Son of God, in Meditations, Freiburg Im Breisgau 1928 Herder & Co., Publishers to the Holy Apostolic See, pp. 173-181.)
5. As I have said, Jesus, Mary and Joseph repeated their visit to the temple at the Pasch of the Unleavened Bread every year. Also when the divine Child was twelve years old, and when it was time to allow the splendors of his inaccessible and divine light to shine forth, they went to the temple for this feast (Lk. 2:42). This solemnity of the Unleavened Bread lasted seven days according to the command of the divine law (Dt. 16:8), and the more solemn days were the first and the last. For this reason our heavenly Pilgrims remained in Jerusalem during the whole week, spending their time in acts of worship and devotion as the rest of the Jews, though because of the sacraments connected with each of them their worship and devotion was entirely different and greatly exalted above that of the others. The Blessed Mother and her holy spouse received during these days favors and blessings beyond the conception of the human mind. 36. Having thus spent all seven days of the solemnity they departed for Nazareth (Ib. 43). When his parents departed from Jerusalem and were pursuing their way homeward, the child Jesus withdrew from them without their knowledge. For this purpose the Lord availed Himself of the separation of the men and women which had become customary among the pilgrims for reasons of decency as well as for greater recollection during their return homeward. The children who accompanied their parents were taken in charge either by the men or the women without distinction, since their company with either was a matter of indifference. Thus it happened that St. Joseph could easily suppose the child Jesus had remained with his most holy Mother (Ib. 44), with whom He generally remained. The thought that She would go without Him was far from his mind, since the heavenly Queen loved and delighted in Him more than any other creature human or angelic. The great Lady did not have so many reasons for supposing her most holy Son was in the company of St. Joseph, but the Lord himself so diverted her thoughts by holy and divine contemplations that She did not notice his absence at first. When afterwards She became aware of not being accompanied by her sweetest and beloved Son, She supposed the most glorious St. Joseph had taken Him along and the Lord accompanied his foster father for his consolation.
37. Thus assured, most holy Mary and St. Joseph pursued their journey home for an entire day as St. Luke tells us (Ib.). As the pilgrims proceeded onward they gradually thinned out, each taking his own direction and joining again with his wife or family. Most holy Mary and her spouse found themselves at length in the place where they had agreed to meet on the first evening after leaving Jerusalem. When the great Lady saw the Child was not with St. Joseph, and when the holy Patriarch found He was not with his Mother, they were both nearly muted with alarm and amazement, without being able to speak for a long time. Governed in their judgment by their most profound humility, both felt overwhelmed with self-reproach for what they deemed their failure to watch over their most holy Son, and thus blamed themselves for his absence, for neither of them had any suspicion of the mysterious manner in which He had been able to elude their vigilance. After awhile they somewhat recovered from their astonishment, and with deepest sorrow took counsel with each other regarding what was to be done (Lk. 2:45). The loving Mother said to St. Joseph: “My spouse and my master, my heart cannot rest if we do not return with all diligence to search for my most holy Son.” This they proceeded to do, beginning their search among their relations and friends, yet none could give them any information regarding Him nor alleviate their sorrow; on the contrary, their sorrow was increased anew by the answers that none of them had seen Him on the road from Jerusalem.
38. The afflicted Mother then turned to her holy Angels. Those who carried the escutcheons inscribed with the most Holy Name of Jesus, of which I spoke at the Circumcision (Inc. 523), had accompanied the Lord, while the other Angels still remained with the purest Mother. This was the order maintained whenever the Son separated from the Mother. These, who numbered ten thousand, She asked saying: “My friends and companions, thou well knowest the cause of my sorrow. In such bitter affliction I beseech thee to be my consolation, giving me information regarding my Beloved so I may seek and find Him (Cant. 3:2-3). Give some relief to my wounded heart, which absent from its Good and Life bounds from its place in search of Him.” The holy Angels knew the will of the Lord in giving his most holy Mother that occasion of great merit, and that it was not time to manifest the sacrament, though they never lost sight of their Creator and our Redeemer; hence they answered by speaking to Her other words of consolation without telling Her the location of her most holy Son or what He was doing. By this response, and the new doubts which it caused to the most prudent Lady, her concerns, tears and sighs grew with highest sorrow, urging Her to search with diligence not for the lost drachma like the woman of the Gospel (Lk. 15:8), but for the entire Treasure of heaven and earth.
39. The Mother of Wisdom then began to discuss within her Heart the different possibilities. The first thought which presented itself to Her was the fear lest Archelaus, imitating the cruelty of his father Herod, had obtained notice of the presence of Jesus and taken Him prisoner. Although She knew from Holy Scriptures and revelations, and by her conversations with her most holy Son and Teacher, that the time for his Passion and Death had not yet come (Jn. 7:30), and the king would not take away his life, yet She was filled with dread at the thought that they had taken Him prisoner and might molest Him. In her most profound humility She also had misgivings lest perchance She had in any way displeased Him by her conduct and therefore deserved that He leave Her and take up his abode in the desert with his precursor St. John. At other times, addressing her absent Love, She exclaimed: “Sweet Love and glory of my soul, by the desire Thou hast to suffer for men, and in thy immense charity, Thou shalt avoid no labor or hardship (Heb. 10:5); rather I suspect, my Master and Lord, Thou dost seek them on purpose (Is. 53:7). Where shall I go? Where shall I find Thee, Light of my eyes (Tob. 10:4)? Dost Thou desire my life to falter by the sword which divides it from thy presence? Yet I do not wonder, my Good, that Thou dost chastise with thy absence one who did not know how to retain the benefit of thy company. Why, my Lord, hast Thou enriched me with the sweet delights of thy childhood if I am so soon to lose thy loving assistance and instruction? Yet woe is me!, for since I cannot merit having Thee as my Son and enjoying thy presence, I confess I owe Thee gratitude for the favor of condescending to accept me as thy slave! Yet if being thy unworthy Mother this title can be of any avail in finding Thee, my God and my highest Good, do Thou, O Lord, permit it, and grant me what I lack in order to be worthy to find Thee, so I may live with Thee in the desert, or wherever Thou shalt go, to sufferings, labors and tribulations. My Master, my soul desires to merit at least in part to share thy sorrows and torments, to die if I do not find Thee, or to live in thy service and presence. When thy divine Being hid Thyself from my interior the presence of thy amiable humanity remained with me, and though Thou wast austere and less endearing to me than accustomed, yet I could throw myself at thy feet; but now I am without this happiness, and the Sun which enlightened me has been completely hidden from me, leaving me only anguish and groans. Ah life of my soul, what sighs from my inmost heart can I send Thee! Yet I am not worthy of thy clemency, since my eyes find no traces of Thee.”
40. Thus this most sincere Dove persevered in her tears and groans without cessation or rest, without sleeping or eating anything for three whole days. Although the ten thousand Angels accompanied Her in corporeal forms and witnessed her affliction and sorrow, yet they did not manifest where to find her lost Child. On the third day the great Queen resolved to seek Him in the desert where St. John was, for since She saw no indications that Archelaus had taken Him prisoner She began to believe more firmly that her most holy Son was with St. John. When She desired to execute this determination and begin walking toward the desert the holy Angels detained Her, urging Her not to undertake the journey since the incarnate Word was not there. She wanted also to go to Bethlehem in the hope of finding Him in the cave of the Nativity, but the holy Angels likewise prevented it, telling Her that He was not so far away. Although the Blessed Mother heard these answers and well perceived the holy Angels knew the whereabouts of the child Jesus, She was so considerate and reserved in her humility and prudence that She gave no response, nor asked where She could find Him, for She understood they withheld this information by the command of the Lord; with such magnanimous reverence did the Queen of the Angels treat the sacraments of the Most High and of his ministers and ambassadors (II Mach. 2:9). This was one of the occasions in which the greatness of her queenly and magnanimous Heart was made manifest.
41. Not all the sorrows suffered by all the martyrs ever reached the height of the sorrows of most holy Mary in this trial; nor will the patience, resignation and tolerance of this Lady ever be equaled, nor can they, for the loss of her most holy Son was greater to Her than the loss of all of creation, and her awareness, love and appreciation of Him were beyond all imaginable measure. Her doubt was very great, since She did not know the cause of the loss as I have already said; moreover, during these three days the Lord left Her to her natural resources of nature and grace, deprived of special privileges and favors, for with the exception of the sight and conversation of the holy Angels He suspended all the other consolations and blessings so constantly vouchsafed to her most holy soul. From all this we can surmise what sorrow filled the loving Heart of the heavenly Mother. But, O prodigy of sanctity, prudence, fortitude and perfection!, in such unheard-of affliction and sorrow She was not disturbed, nor lost her interior or exterior peace, nor did She entertain a thought of anger or indignation, nor allowed Herself any improper movement or expression, nor fell into any excess of grief or annoyance as is so common in great affliction with other children of Adam, who allow all their passions and faculties to be disarranged, yea even in small difficulties. But the Queen of virtues labored in all this in celestial harmony and consonance; though her sorrow was great without comparison and had pierced her inmost Heart, She did not fail in reverence and in the praise of the Lord, nor ceased in her prayers and petitions for the human race and for the finding of her most holy Son.
42. With this heavenly wisdom and with greatest diligence She sought Him for three successive days, roaming through the streets of the city, asking different persons and describing to the daughters of Jerusalem the marks of her Beloved, searching the byways and open squares of the city, thereby fulfilling what was recorded in the Canticles of Solomon (3:2). Some of the women asked Her what were the distinctive marks of her lost and only Son, and She answered with the words of the Spouse given on her behalf: My Beloved is white and ruddy, chosen out of thousands (Ib. 5:10). One of the women, hearing Her thus describe Him, said: “This Child with those same features came yesterday to my door to ask for alms and I gave some to Him, and his amiability and beauty have stolen my heart. And when I gave Him alms I felt within myself sweet and intense compassion upon seeing a Child so gracious in poverty and without help.” This was the first news the sorrowful Mother heard of her Onlybegotten in Jerusalem. Being a little relieved in her sorrow She pursued her quest and met other persons who spoke of Him in like manner. Guided by this information She directed her steps to the hospital of the city, thinking that among the afflicted She would find the Spouse and Architect of poverty (Mt. 5:40) among his own legitimate brethren and friends. Inquiring at that place She was informed that a Child of that description had paid his visits to the inmates, leaving some alms and speaking words of much consolation to the afflicted.
43. The report of these doings of her Beloved caused sentiments of most sweet and tender affection in the Heart of the heavenly Lady, which She sent forth from her inmost Heart as messengers to her absent and hidden Son. Then the thought struck Her that since He was not with the poor He no doubt was in attendance in the temple as the house of God and of prayer. The holy Angels encouraged Her and said: “Our Queen and Lady, the hour of thy consolation is near. Soon shalt Thou see the Light of thy eyes; hasten thy footsteps and go to the temple.” The glorious patriarch St. Joseph at this moment again met his Spouse, for in order to increase their chances of finding the divine Child they had separated in different directions. By another Angel he had now been likewise advised to proceed to the temple. All three days he had suffered incomparable and excessive affliction and sorrow, hastening in deepest shame from one place to another, sometimes with his heavenly Spouse, sometimes without Her. He would have put his life in evident danger if the hand of the Lord had not comforted him and if the most prudent Lady had not consoled him and taken care that he take some food and rest sometimes from his great fatigue, since his true and tender affection for the divine Child caused him to vehemently and anxiously search for Him without remembering to take nourishment sufficient for life and the support of nature. Following the advice of the holy Princes the most pure Mary and St. Joseph hastened to the temple, where happened what I shall relate in the next chapter.
INSTRUCTION GIVEN TO ME BY THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN, MOST HOLY MARY.
44. My daughter, by oft-repeated experience mortals know they do not lose without sorrow what once they have possessed with delight. This truth, so well established, should convince men what little love they have for their God and Creator, since among the many who lose Him there are so few who are afflicted by this loss, since they never deserved to love Him or possess Him by the force of grace.* Just as they fail to sorrow at losing the highest Good, whom they do not hold in loving possession, so they also fail to seek after their God when they have lost Him. But there is a great difference in the manner in which men lose sight of their highest Good, for it is not the same to lose sight of God for the purpose of being tried in virtue and love as to lose sight of Him in punishment for sins committed. The first is a contrivance of divine love and a means of communicating itself more abundantly to the one who longs for it and merits it; the second is a just chastisement meted out by divine indignation. In the first kind of absence the Lord humbles the soul by holy fear (Prov. 28:14) and filial love, leaving it uncertain whether it has given cause for his withdrawal. Although its conscience does not reprehend it, the tender and loving heart knows its danger, feels the loss, and thus, as the Wise Man says, is blessed, for it then lives in constant fear and dread of such a loss, knowing that until the end of his life man knoweth not whether he be worthy of love or hatred (Eccles. 9:1) in the sight of God. During their mortal * cf. Mt. 7:23 [Ed.] existence the just man and the sinner commonly share the same good and evil lot without distinction (Ib. 2). 45. This is what the Wise Man calls the great and dreadful danger among all things done under the sun (Ib. 3), that the impious and reprobate are full of malice and hardness of heart in their false and dangerous security, seeing that without distinction the same things happen to all men, and that no one can know with certainty who is chosen or reprobate (Ib. 12), the friend or enemy of God, the just or the sinner, who merits love and who are odious in his sight. Yet if each man would examine his conscience without passion or deceit, it would answer each one with the truth which he must know (Lk. 12:58); for when it cries out against sins committed one would be most apathetic and foolish not to attribute the evils and adversities to oneself, or fail to see oneself forsaken by grace and deprived of the highest Good. And if such a one has the use of reason, the greatest evidence of this sad state is not to feel with inmost sorrow the loss or lack of spiritual joy and the effects of grace, since the loss of this feeling in a soul created and destined for eternal happiness is a strong indication that the soul neither desires nor loves this happiness, and therefore is a sign that it does not seek it in earnest (Lk. 15:8) in order to arrive at that which can be attained in this mortal life, a certain confidence and prudent security of possessing the highest Good and not having lost Him by one’s own fault. 46. I was deprived of the bodily presence of my most holy Son, and though I had the hope of again finding Him, yet in my great love the uncertainty as to the cause of his withdrawal gave me no rest until I found Him. In this I desire thee, my dearest, to imitate me, whether thou dost lose Him through thy own fault or by the disposition of his own will. So great must be thy dread of losing Him through thy fault that neither tribulation, nor trouble, nor necessity, nor danger, nor persecution, nor the sword, neither height nor depth, should ever withhold thee from seeking after thy God, for if thou art faithful as thou should be, and if thou dost not wish to lose Him, neither the angels, nor the principalities, nor the powers, nor any other creature can ever deprive thee of Him (Rom. 8:35). So strong are the bonds of his love and its chains that nothing can burst them except thy own free will. (Venerable Mary of Agreda, The New English Edition of The Mystical City of God, Book Five: The Transfixion, Chapter IV.)
This is important upon which to reflect as Jorge Mario Bergoglio said on December 27, 2015, that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, God Himself in the very Flesh, had to "beg forgiveness" of His foster-father and His Most Blessed Mother. Our Lord had to be about the work of His Co-Equal, Co-Eternal God the Father in Heaven. God in the very Flesh never had any need to beg forgiveness from anyone at any time. Although duly submissive to the authority of His parents both before and after the three days in the Temple, His staying behind in the Temple was preparing His Most Blessed Mother for the sorrows that would piece her Immaculate Heart as He suffered His Sacred Passion and Death to atone in His own Sacred Humanity for the debt that we owed to Him in His Sacred Divinity. Yes, the conciliar revolutionaries make short work of the actual words of Sacred Scripture, thereby blaspheming God the Holy Ghost and His human instrument in this instance, Saint Luke the Evangelist.
Indeed, the Gospel according to Saint Luke contains many accounts of Our Lord’s willingness to forgive us erring sinners, providing us with the moving account of the Parable of the Prodigal Son:
And he said: A certain man had two sons:  And the younger of them said to his father: Father, give me the portion of substance that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his substance.  And not many days after, the younger son, gathering all together, went abroad into a far country: and there wasted his substance, living riotously.  And after he had spent all, there came a mighty famine in that country; and he began to be in want.  And he went and cleaved to one of the citizens of that country. And he sent him into his farm to feed swine.
 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks the swine did eat; and no man gave unto him.  And returning to himself, he said: How many hired servants in my father's house abound with bread, and I here perish with hunger?  I will arise, and will go to my father, and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee:  I am not worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.  And rising up he came to his father. And when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and running to him fell upon his neck, and kissed him.
 And the son said to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, I am not now worthy to be called thy son.  And the father said to his servants: Bring forth quickly the first robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:  And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it, and let us eat and make merry:  Because this my son was dead, and is come to life again: was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.  Now his elder son was in the field, and when he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing:
 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.  And he said to him: Thy brother is come, and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe.  And he was angry, and would not go in. His father therefore coming out began to entreat him.  And he answering, said to his father: Behold, for so many years do I serve thee, and I have never transgressed thy commandment, and yet thou hast never given me a kid to make merry with my friends:  But as soon as this thy son is come, who hath devoured his substance with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.
 But he said to him: Son, thou art always with me, and all I have is thine.  But it was fit that we should make merry and be glad, for this thy brother was dead and is come to life again; he was lost, and is found. (Luke 15: 11-32.)
This has great relevance to each of our lives as most of us have wandered in one way or another in our personal lives, sometimes grievously and sometimes venially, perhaps squandering our talents by wasting our time on trivial pursuits and the countless variety of bread and circuses that distract us from our interior lives, and have to come to the Sacred Tribunal of Penance to seek the Absolution from a true priest that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ made possible by the shedding of every single drop of His Most Precious Blood during His Passion and Death on the wood of the Holy Cross to atone in His Sacred Humanity for the offense given Him in His Sacred Divinity by sin.
As Saint Luke was a physician, he took care to describe just how abhorrent sin was to Our Lord as He sweated droplets of His Most Precious Blood during His Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane when He saw in His mind’s eye every sin that every human being had ever committed before Him, was committing at the time of His Sacred Passion, and would commit until the end of the world. Even thought of sin caused Him to recoil in His Sacred Humanity from the antithesis of His Sacred Divinity, sin:
And he was withdrawn away from them a stone's cast; and kneeling down, he prayed,  Saying: Father, if thou wilt, remove this chalice from me: but yet not my will, but thine be done.  And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony, he prayed the longer.  And his sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground.  And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow. (Luke 22: 41-45.)
The Gospel According to Saint Luke also contains the account of Our Lord’s manifestation on the road to Emmaus after His Resurrection that reminds us that inspired words of the Old Testament pointed unequivocally to Himself and to His own Passion, Death, and Resurrection:
And behold, two of them went, the same day, to a town which was sixty furlongs from Jerusalem, named Emmaus.  And they talked together of all these things which had happened.  And it came to pass, that while they talked and reasoned with themselves, Jesus himself also drawing near, went with them.
 But their eyes were held, that they should not know him.  And he said to them: What are these discourses that you hold one with another as you walk, and are sad?  And the one of them, whose name was Cleophas, answering, said to him: Art thou only a stranger to Jerusalem, and hast not known the things that have been done there in these days?  To whom he said: What things? And they said: Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet, mighty in work and word before God and all the people;  And how our chief priests and princes delivered him to be condemned to death, and crucified him.
 But we hoped, that it was he that should have redeemed Israel: and now besides all this, today is the third day since these things were done.  Yea and certain women also of our company affrighted us, who before it was light, were at the sepulchre,  And not finding his body, came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, who say that he is alive.  And some of our people went to the sepulchre, and found it so as the women had said, but him they found not.  Then he said to them: O foolish, and slow of heart to believe in all things which the prophets have spoken.
 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into his glory?  And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the scriptures, the things that were concerning him.  And they drew nigh to the town, whither they were going: and he made as though he would go farther.  But they constrained him; saying: Stay with us, because it is towards evening, and the day is now far spent. And he went in with them.  And it came to pass, whilst he was at table with them, he took bread, and blessed, and brake, and gave to them.
 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him: and he vanished out of their sight.  And they said one to the other: Was not our heart burning within us, whilst he spoke in this way, and opened to us the scriptures?  And rising up, the same hour, they went back to Jerusalem: and they found the eleven gathered together, and those that were staying with them,  Saying: The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.  And they told what things were done in the way; and how they knew him in the breaking of the bread.
 Now whilst they were speaking these things, Jesus stood in the midst of them, and saith to them: Peace be to you; it is I, fear not.  But they being troubled and frightened, supposed that they saw a spirit.  And he said to them: Why are you troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?  See my hands and feet, that it is I myself; handle, and see: for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see me to have.  And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and feet.
 But while they yet believed not, and wondered for joy, he said: Have you any thing to eat?  And they offered him a piece of a broiled fish, and a honeycomb.  And when he had eaten before them, taking the remains, he gave to them.  And he said to them: These are the words which I spoke to you, while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.  Then he opened their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.
 And he said to them: Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead, the third day:  And that penance and remission of sins should be preached in his name, unto all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  And you are witnesses of these things.  And I send the promise of my Father upon you: but stay you in the city till you be endued with power from on high.  And he led them out as far as Bethania: and lifting up his hands, he blessed them. (Luke 24: 13-50.)
Yes, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Testament. He is the Messias, the Divine Redeemer, Who has made it possible for us to sanctify and to save our immortal souls. It was to proclaim this infallibly that our first pope, Saint Peter, preached as follows on Pentecost Sunday to the Jews from around the Mediterranean that had gathered in Jerusalem and had heard the noise that had emanated from the Upper Room as God the Holy Ghost descended in tongues of flame upon Our Lady, the Apostles and the others.
Saint Luke, the human author of the Acts of the Apostles, provided us with this magnificent sermon of our first pope:
Ye men of Judea, and all you that dwell in Jerusalem, be this known to you, and with your ears receive my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day:
But this is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass, in the last days, (saith the Lord,) I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. And upon my servants indeed, and upon my handmaids will I pour out in those days of my spirit, and they shall prophesy. And I will shew wonders in the heaven above, and signs on the earth beneath: blood and fire, and vapour of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and manifest day of the Lord come.
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved. Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you, by miracles, and wonders, and signs, which God did by him, in the midst of you, as you also know: This same being delivered up, by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you by the hands of wicked men have crucified and slain. Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the sorrows of hell, as it was impossible that he should be holden by it. For David saith concerning him: I foresaw the Lord before my face: because he is at my right hand, that I may not be moved.
For this my heart hath been glad, and any tongue hath rejoiced: moreover my flesh also shall rest in hope. Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, nor suffer thy Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life: thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Ye men, brethren, let me freely speak to you of the patriarch David; that he died, and was buried; and his sepulchre is with us to this present day. Whereas therefore he was a prophet, and knew that God hath sworn to him with an oath, that of the fruit of his loins one should sit upon his throne.
Foreseeing this, he spoke of the resurrection of Christ. For neither was he left in hell, neither did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised again, whereof all we are witnesses. Being exalted therefore by the right hand of God, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath poured forth this which you see and hear. For David ascended not into heaven; but he himself said: The Lord said to my Lord, sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy enemies thy footstool.
Therefore let all the house of Israel know most certainly, that God hath made both Lord and Christ, this same Jesus, whom you have crucified. Now when they had heard these things, they had compunction in their heart, and said to Peter, and to the rest of the apostles: What shall we do, men and brethren? But Peter said to them: Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins: and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are far off, whomsoever the Lord our God shall call. And with very many other words did he testify and exhort them, saying: Save yourselves from this perverse generation.
They therefore that received his word, were baptized; and there were added in that day about three thousand souls. And they were persevering in the doctrine of the apostles, and in the communication of the breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: many wonders also and signs were done by the apostles in Jerusalem, and there was great fear in all. And all they that believed, were together, and had all things common. Their possessions and goods they sold, and divided them to all, according as every one had need. (Acts 2: 14-41.)
This is very clear. All men must convert to the true Faith, even the Jews. What is patently clear and was taught infallibly by Holy Mother Church form time immemorial is not at all clear to Modernists, who do not believe that anyone has to convert to the Catholic Church nor even to believe in Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to be save.
For instance, Joseph Alois Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, who is a rationalist and thus a skeptic about the details of Divine Revelation, sought to deconstruct meaning of the words contained in the Acts of Apostles in Jesus of Nazareth: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection:
From a theological understanding of the empty tomb, a passage from Saint Peter's Pentecost sermon strikes me as important, when Peter for the first time openly proclaims Jesus' Resurrection to the assembled crowds. He communicates it, not in his own words, but by quoting Psalm 16:8-10 as follows: "... my flesh will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my son to Hades, nor let your Holy One see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life" (Acts 2:26-28). Peter quotes the psalm text using the version found in the Greek Bible. The Hebrew text is slightly different: "You do not give me up to Sheol, or let your godly one see the Pit. You show me the path of life" (Ps. 16:10-11). In the Hebrew version the psalmist speaks in the certainty that God will protect him, even in the threatening situation in which he evidently finds himself, that God will shield him from death and that he may dwell securely: he will not see the grave. The version Peter quotes is different: here the psalmist is confident that he will not remain in the underworld, that he will not see corruption.
Peter takes it for granted that it was David who originally prayed this psalm, and he goes on to state that this hope was not fulfilled in David: "He both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day" (Acts 2:29). The tomb containing his corpse is the proof of his not having risen. Yet the psalm text is still true: it applies to the definitive David. Indeed, Jesus is revealed here as the true David, precisely because in him this promise is fulfilled: "You will not let your Holy One see corruption."
We need not go into the question here of whether this address goes back to Peter and, if not, who else may have redacted it and precisely when and where it originated. Whatever the answer may be, we are dealing here with a primitive form of Resurrection proclamation, whose high authority in the early Church is clear from the fact that it was attributed to Saint Peter himself and was regarded as the original proclamation of the Resurrection. (Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection, pp. 255-256.)
Left unaddressed in this classic piece of Modernist deconstruction of Sacred Scripture that is a blasphemous affront to God the Holy Ghost and to Saint Peter is the little matter that three thousand Jews from all over the Mediterranean converted because of the stirring words delivered by our first pope moments after he had received the Seven Gifts and Twelve Fruits of God the Holy Ghost, being blessed at that moment with the charism of infallibility of doctrine. Ratzinger/Benedict has to place into question, no matter how subtly by way of refusing address the question that he raises, the fact that Saint Peter delivered this sermon as to admit openly that it is the case is to damn himself for refusing to speak to Jews as Saint Peter did.
Moreover, as we know that Saint Peter did deliver this sermon and that the Acts of the Apostles was written by Saint Luke under the inspiration of God the Holy Ghost, to assert that Saint Peter was wrong about the authorship of Psalm 16, attributing it "incorrectly" to King David, is to mock the papal infallibility with which our first pope had just been clothed by the same God the Holy Ghost.
Consider this fact, my friends. Consider it if only for a moment.
Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, that "master" of true Scripture exegesis who believes his insights superior to those of Holy Mother Church's Fathers and Doctors, including the Angelic Doctor, Saint Thomas Aquinas, has identified the first "papal error" for us, committed moments after Saint Peter received the Gifts and Fruits of God the Holy Ghost. If only Saint Peter had had the benefit of Ratzinger/Benedict's training with all of its "access" to sources not known to the fisherman from Galilee, he would not have made such a blunder.
True Catholics have always had a great reverence for and devotion to the author of the Third Gospel and of the Acts of the Apostles, something that Dom Prosper Gueranger made clear in The Liturgical Year:
The goodness and kindness of God our Savior hath appeared to all men. 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 Savior prepared before the face of all peoples; a light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of … Israel. 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 honor of giving to the Church the Gospel of Jesus, the Son of God. Matthew had already drawn up for the Jews the Gospel of the Messias, Son of David, Son of Abraham. Afterwards, at the side of Paul, Luke wrote for the Gentiles the Gospel of Jesus, Son of Adam through Mary. 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 course 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 Cæsar 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 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 Savior.
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 good-will. 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, 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 Canticles for the new people of God. All was song around the new-born Babe; and Mary kept all the words 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 Savior’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 groat, 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.
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 Savior!
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 labors 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. (Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., The Liturgical Year.)
The readings for Matins in The Divine Office on the Feast of Saint Luke provide us with a summary of the Evangelist’s life:
Luke was a physician of Antioch, who, as appeareth from his writings, knew the Greek language. He was a follower of the Apostle Paul, and his fellow traveller in all his wanderings. He wrote a Gospel, whereof the same Paul saith We have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the Gospel throughout all the Churches 2 Cor. viii. 18. Of him, he writeth unto the Colossians, iv. 14: Luke, the beloved physician, greeteth you. And again, unto Timothy, II. iv. 11: Only Luke is with me. He also published another excellent book entitled The Acts of the Apostles, wherein the history is brought down to Paul's two years sojourn at Rome, that is to say, until the fourth year of Nero, from which we gather that it was at Rome that the said book was composed.
The silence of Luke is one of the reasons why we reckon among Apocryphal books The Acts of Paul and Thecla, and the whole story about the baptism of Leo. For why should the fellow traveller of the Apostle, who knew other things, be ignorant only of this? At the same time there is against these documents the statement of Tertullian, almost a contemporary writer, that the Apostle John convicted a certain Priest in Asia, who was a great admirer of the Apostle Paul, of having written them, and that the said Priest owned that he had been induced to compose them through his admiration for Paul, and that he was deposed in consequence. There are some persons who suspect that when Paul in his Epistles useth the phrase: "According to my Gospel" Rom. ii. 16, Tim. ii. 8, he meaneth the Gospel written by Luke.
However, Luke learned his Gospel not from the Apostle Paul only, who had not companied with the Lord in the flesh, but also from other Apostles, as himself declareth at the beginning of his work, where he saith: “They delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word.” i. 2. According to what he had heard, therefore, did he write his Gospel. As to the Acts of the Apostles, he composed them from his own personal knowledge. He was never married. He lived eighty-four years. He is buried at Constantinople, whither his bones were brought from Achaia in the twentieth year of Constantine, together with the relics of the Apostle Andrew. (Matins, The Divine Office, Feast of Saint Luke the Evangelist, October 18.)
Dom Prosper Gueranger’s prayer in honor of Saint Luke reminds us that, in addition, to being a disciple of Saint Paul, whose conversion he documented so thoroughly in the Acts of the Apostles, but a confidante of Our Lady herself:
The symbolical Ox, reminding us of the figurative sacrifices, and announcing their abrogation, yokes himself with the Man, the Lion, and the Eagle, to the chariot which bears the Conqueror of earth, the Lamb in his triumph. O Evangelist of the Gentiles, blessed be thou for having put an end to the long night of our captivity, and warmed our frozen hearts. Thou wast the confidant of the Mother of God; and her happy influence left in thy soul that fragrance of virginity which pervaded thy whole life and breathes through thy writings. With discerning love and silent devotedness, thou didst assist the Apostle of the Gentiles in his great work; and didst remain as faithful to him when abandoned or betrayed, shipwrecked or imprisoned, as in the days of his prosperity. Rightly, then, does the Church in her Collect apply to thee the words spoken by St. Paul of himself: In all things we suffer tribulation, are persecuted, are cast down, always bearing about in our body the mortification of Jesus; but this continual dying manifests the life of Jesus in our mortal flesh. Thy inspired pen taught us to love the Son of Man in his Gospel; thy pencil portrayed him for us in his Mother’s arms; and a third time thou revealedst him to the world, by the reproduction of his holiness in thine own life.
Preserve in us the fruits of thy manifold teaching. Though Christian painters do well to pay thee special honor, and to learn from thee that the ideal of beauty resides in the Son of God and in his Mother, there is yet a more sublime art than that of lines and colors: the art of reproducing in ourselves the likeness of God. This we wish to learn perfectly in thy school; for we know from thy master St. Paul that conformity to the image of the Son of God can alone entitle the elect to predestination.
Be thou the protector of the faithful physicians, who strive to walk in thy footsteps, and who, in their ministry of devotedness and charity, rely upon thy credit with the Author of life. Second their efforts to heal or to relieve suffering; and inspire them with holy zeal, when they find their patients on the brink of eternity.
The world itself, in its decrepitude, now needs the assistance of all who are able, by prayer or action, to come to its rescue. The Son of Man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth? Thus spoke our Lord in the Gospel. But he also said that we ought always to pray and not to faint; adding, for the instruction of the Church both at this time and always, the parable of the widow, whose importunity prevailed upon the unjust judge to defend her cause. And will not God revenge his elect, who cry to him day and night; and will he have patience in their regard? I say to you that he will quickly revenge them. (Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., The Liturgical Year.)
May we beg Our Lady at all times to send us the graces to draw inspiration from the inspired words contained in the Gospel of Saint Luke, remembering that thirteen of her Most Holy Rosary’s fifteen mysteries have their Scriptural foundation in the Gospel written under the influence of her spiritual sin and disciple of Saint Paul.
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.
Saint Luke, pray for us.
From Archbishop Jacobus Voragine's The Golden Legend on the Life of Saint Luke, Evangelist