Today, October 18, is the feast of St. Luke the Evangelist. In honor of this patron saint of doctors, here are five ways you can live, pray, and grow to be more like the “beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14).
Learn From a Spiritual Mentor
Luke is believed to have been a Greek and Gentile, having never personally encountered Jesus in his lifetime. Luke was similar to his spiritual mentor, St. Paul, in that sense. According to Acts, the two met after St. Paul received a vision of “…a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’” (Acts 16:8-9) Under Paul’s guidance, Luke learned, traveled, and spread the Good News of the Resurrection.
Look at the people around you. Do you know anyone whose faith and spiritual knowledge you admire, from which you could learn? A spiritual mentor need not be a priest, though having a strong relationship with a trusted religious figure is a wonderful idea. A spiritual mentor could also be a family member, someone you volunteer with or someone in your Bible study class. Ask questions, pray together, and discuss your own path as a Christian, as the purpose of the mentor relationship is to bring you closer to God through guided spiritual exploration.
Use Your Gifts
In addition to being a physician, tradition holds that Luke was a skilled painter and gifted athlete. He is even believed to have been the first to paint an image of the Blessed Mother with the infant Jesus, many versions of which were copied throughout the early Christian world. Luke was clearly someone endowed with many gifts, which he used not only for personal betterment, but to give glory to God.
If you are wondering about your own gifts, begin with those known as the gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord. Paul tells us there are many others, including teaching, healing, languages, and administration (Corinthians 1:12). Yes, even administration – someone has to keep things organized! Once you are able to identify your gifts, look at whether you use them to the betterment of the Church and your inner life. Whether you are a brilliant musician or a devoted mother, God gives us our gifts to serve Him.
Develop a Relationship with Mary
The Gospel of Luke contains the infancy narratives, the first-hand account of Jesus’s birth which would have come from Mary herself. St. Luke, then, must have known and spoken with Mary, even personally hearing her Magnificat. Imagine this incredible encounter between the Mother of God and one of His disciples, a stand-in for us all as children of Mary.
In your own life, have you taken the time to know Mary? For some Catholics, a relationship with Mary does not come as easily as one with Jesus. You can start simply, by asking her Son to open your heart in love to her. Pray the rosary and deeply contemplate the different moments of her life, as they connect to the story of mankind’s salvation. Always know that Mary serves as the “Mediatrix of all Graces,” and a close relationship with her brings us closer to Jesus.
Rely On the Holy Spirit
Luke names the Holy Spirit in his Gospel more often than the other authors. For him, the Spirit’s moving is the catalyst for many of the major events of Jesus’s life, like His birth and baptism (Luke 1:35; Luke 3:21-22). Luke shows us that the Holy Spirit is a tangible, working force in the world and in our Christian development.
In our own lives, God is constantly working in the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, to speak and guide us. Yet, we are apt to overlook His actions. How often do you pray “Come Holy Spirit” in times of need or distress? The Holy Spirit can aid in everything, from a difficult discussion at work to providing the grace for a safe trip or newborn delivery. The Holy Spirit is grace in action.
Tell the Stories You Live
We are most familiar with St. Luke as a writer and evangelist; he is the only Gospel writer to use the Greek word for “eyewitness” (“autoptai”) in describing his role as a recorder of events, which gives his narrative a personal feeling. Like Luke, we are all called to be “ministers of the Word,” and share “the certainty of the words of the gospel” (Luke 11:04). Remember that through our baptism and faith, we are all called to serve as evangelists. Witness need not be only through words, but through loving actions, as well. Luke told his story as a witness to God’s love – have you told your story?
May St. Luke inspire us, both today and always, to seek to serve God with every aspect of our lives. St. Luke, pray for us!