Luke was born in Antioch into a noble pagan family of Greek origin, and after a very complete education, he became a doctor. He met the Apostle Saint Paul, who announced the Good News to him. Convinced by his words, Luke abandoned all his possessions to follow Christ, renouncing the healing of bodies, he became a doctor of souls. He became Paul's companion for 18 years, following him until his martyrdom in Rome in 67. They become so close that in his letters, Saint Paul calls Luke his beloved (Colossians 4:14). Together, Paul and Luke preached the Gospel and shared everything: the same works, the same persecutions, the same shipwrecks. Luke learned the art of preaching from Paul and, in his wake, led the nations to the love of God. After the death of the great Apostle, Luke continued his apostolate in Italy, Gaul, Dalmatia and Macedonia. He shed his blood for the faith by dying a martyr at the age of 84. Following his death, a miraculous liquid flowed from the tomb of Saint Luke, healing the diseases of the eyes of those who treat themselves with faith. Thus, Luke continues to practice medicine after his death. Saint Luke is celebrated on October 18th. He is the patron saint of doctors and painters.
Luke is the author of one of the four gospels, the other three evangelists being Saint Matthew, Saint Mark and Saint John. He is also the author of the Acts of the Apostles, where he makes himself the historian of the early life of the Church. Luke knew the Virgin Mary well, and his gospel reflects his great veneration for her; it was to her that he consecrated the beginning of his gospel.
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and with his undeniable personal skills, Saint Luke wrote the gospel that bears his name. As a doctor, he brought a scientific eye to the diseases encountered and named them precisely. Having been confronted with human misery and suffering, he understood and sympathized with them. Luke is called the "scribe of the mercy of Christ" because in his gospel, he particularly reports the events manifesting the goodness of the Lord: the prodigal son, the good Samaritan, the lost sheep, the forgiven sinner, and the good thief. Luke gives an importance to women; they appear four times more than in other evangelists. The Gospel of Luke is especially valuable because it contains the "gospels of childhood", that is, those in which the events surrounding the incarnation and preceding the public life of Jesus are reported. Saint Luke is the only one to tell the Annunciation, the Visitation, and the Nativity, episodes that can be found in the meditation of the joyful mysteries of the rosary.
The Evangelist Luke is symbolized by the bull. It is the animal of sacrifice, and the Gospel of Luke begins with the mention of a priest offering sacrifices to the Lord in the Temple of Jerusalem. This priest is none other than Zechariah, the father of Saint John the Baptist. Each evangelist is represented by a symbol corresponding to the first pages of his gospel: Matthew the angel; Mark the lion; John the eagle. These symbols also come from the vision of the prophet Ezekiel where the animals appear each with four faces and four wings.
The symbol of the bull corresponds well to the evangelist Luke because, as the bull chews his food, Luke chewed and reproduced the words of Jesus to assimilate the teaching of Christ. It is he who emphasizes this essential quality in the Mother of God when he says "she faithfully kept all her things in her heart".
From a young age, Luke manifested a gift for painting and practiced it in his leisure time. Tradition reports that he asked the Blessed Virgin for permission to paint her portrait. He made three paintings of the Virgin and Child. Once they were completed, he presented the paintings to the Mother of God, and she blessed them by saying: “My grace will always be with these images.” In several places, icons of the Virgin attributed to Saint Luke are venerated: the famous Madonnas of Saint Luke. Later, Saint Luke also represented the holy apostles, transmitting to the nascent Church the first icons.
Saint Luke is the patron saint of painters and sculptors.
Very early on, Saint Luke was chosen as the patron saint of doctors and caregivers. In the Middle Ages, all trades placed themselves under the protection of a patron saint. Saint Luke being himself a doctor, he is naturally chosen by the doctors to be their patron. From the thirteenth century onwards, medical faculties returned to school on October 18th, the day of St. Luke, and—until the French Revolution—great celebrations were organized to celebrate it.
You who revealed the Father's Mercy to us by the doctor and evangelist Saint Luke, make us good Samaritans ready to welcome, care for and console the sick and wounded whom You give us next.
Help us to discern in each of them the features of your divine Face, You who invite us to practice with the same impetus the love of God and the love of our neighbor, You who heal the stranger on the Sabbath day, You who let yourself be touched by all and make yourself close to each.
Give us the courage to defend life, from conception to natural completion, and to respect the dignity of all, especially the weakest.
In the tumult of war or the fatigue of a night's guard, may your Spirit enlighten our hearts and guide our hands.
Give us also wisdom and science, to make good diagnoses and find suitable therapies.
Bless our work and missions, enlighten our teaching and research.
More than anything, let us acknowledge that we are that wounded on the side of the road. It is You, Lord Jesus, who continually come to meet us and take care of us. It is You who charge us on your mount and welcome us into Your Church, a field hospital offered to all men.
Through the intercession of Saint Luke our Patron Saint, bless the Army Health Service and grant us, after meeting You and serving in our suffering brothers, to know the joy of loving and being loved in your eternity of love, light and peace.
We suggest that you learn from Saint Luke to receive the word, meditate on it, and live it..