What’s in That Prayer? The Collect for Saint Luke

Here is the oration that the Church prays in the Mass and Office for Saint Luke the Evangelist (October 18):

Intervéniat pro nobis, quǽsumus, Dómine, sanctus tuus Lucas Evangelísta: qui crucis mortificatiónem iúgiter in suo córpore, pro tui nóminis honóre, portávit.

Here is my translation:

May Thy holy Evangelist Luke intercede for us, we ask, O Lord, who perpetually bore the mortification of the Cross in his body for the honor of Thy Name.

Here is the translation from the Divinum Officium site:

O Lord, we beseech thee, that Luke, thy holy Evangelist, who for the honor of thy name bore continually in his body the suffering of the cross, may intercede in our behalf.

Saint Luke was known as comes Pauli, that is, “the companion of [Saint] Paul,” the Apostle who wrote these words about bearing in our body the mortification of Jesus:

In all things we suffer tribulation, but are not distressed; we are straitened, but are not destitute. We suffer persecution, but are not forsaken; we are cast down, but we perish not: Always bearing about in our body the mortification of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our bodies. For we who live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake; that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our mortal flesh. (II Cor. 4:8-11)

It seems obvious that this passage from Second Corinthians inspired the wording of today’s oration. Although Saint Paul did develop this doctrine in more detail in his epistles, the core teaching was not new when he wrote it. In his own Gospel, Saint Luke records this utterance of the Master Himself: “And whosoever doth not carry his cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27).

Behind this austere and even grim challenge that comes with our Baptismal obligations lies a very consoling doctrine, namely, that our sufferings, if undergone virtuously in Christ, are transformed by grace into fonts of life — an everlasting life that vastly overshadows the sufferings themselves: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18).

May this life be ours through the intercession of Saint Luke!


Saint Luke, depicted writing his Gospel, with the symbolic Ox behind him (source)