OF ST. LUKE
Psalm 36, verse 2
Sin directs the heart of the wicked
man; his eyes are closed to the FEAR of
inclination to sin is part of our nature just as love and mercy is the nature
of God. “See, now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation!” (2 Cor.
you awoke today-you have another chance to begin again. Get thee to confession!
Fast; avoid evil, pray! You are responsible, yes, there may be circumstances
beyond your control that put impediments in your path, have faith and find out
how to get around the barriers to living a Holy life. Secret Hint: Take it to
Mary! She will guide us to salvation.
the Wicked Heart
The mechanic at the repair
shop explained to the frustrated vehicle owner that the wheels of his car were
out of alignment. The mechanic asked if the driver had recently driven through
a pothole or perhaps had hit a curb. He explained that this could be sufficient
to have forced the wheels out of alignment. All the driver knew was that it
took a lot of work to drive straight down the highway with the car constantly
pulling off center. Without constant attention and constant adjustment of the
steering wheel, the car tended to drift off the road. “One big pothole can do
that,” the mechanic informed the puzzled driver, “and after that, it’s almost
impossible to go straight without constant correction.”
What’s true for an
automobile is, in this sense, also true of the human soul.
Theologians have long
attempted to explain humanity’s tendency to veer off course: one big sin (that
of our first parents in the garden) and it’s almost impossible to go straight
without constant correction. Keeping in mind that the New Testament word for
sin is hamartia, a Greek word that literally means to miss the mark or to veer
off course, we might say that after original sin it’s nearly impossible to stay
on the “straight and narrow.” Theologians call this tendency to sin
“concupiscence.” The word concupiscence is defined as a strong desire, a
tendency or attraction, usually arising from lust or sensual desires. It is,
morally speaking, the tendency to go off course. Concupiscence is understood as
an effect of original sin that remains after baptism. The waters of baptism
cleanse us of original sin itself, but concupiscence remains as a lingering
effect. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “certain temporal
consequences of sin remain in the baptized, such as suffering, illness, death …
as well as an inclination to sin that Tradition calls concupiscence”
certain temporal consequences of sin remain in the baptized, such as suffering,
illness, death, and such frailties inherent in life as weaknesses of character,
and so on, as well as an inclination to sin that Tradition calls concupiscence, or
metaphorically, "the tinder for sin" (fomes peccati); since
concupiscence "is left for us to wrestle with, it cannot harm those who do
not consent but manfully resist it by the grace of Jesus Christ." Indeed,
"an athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the
To use another analogy,
medical research cautions that a severe sunburn early in life will render a
person more susceptible to dangerous skin cancer throughout life. That early
sunburn may heal fairly quickly, but its effects last through life, increasing
vulnerability to cancer. Precautions must be taken to shield the skin from the
damaging effects of the sun’s radiation, since there is a greater
susceptibility to skin damage after that major sunburn.
sin — passed down
through the generations of humanity — brought to our first parents the
alienation from paradise and with it all the effects of mortality: pain,
illness, suffering, aging, death and decay. Original sin caused a rupture, or
break, in the harmony between body and soul that was part of God’s creation of
man. In the original innocence of our first parents, there was perfect harmony:
harmony with God, harmony with the surrounding world, harmony with oneself. The
decision to break away from God’s will also broke the original harmony in
creation, and there has been tension ever since. The first 11 chapters of the
Book of Genesis reveal the growth of tension and discord: starting with the
perfect harmony of the garden, through the first sin, then the sin of brother
against brother, and it ends with the tower of Babel — a point in human history
where no two persons could understand each other. In the original innocence of
our human nature, there was perfect harmony between body and soul. Since death
entered the world as a consequence of sin, the separation of the soul from the
body at death is a consequence of original sin. We profess our belief in the
resurrection of the body, at which time soul and body will be restored to the
perfect harmony that existed before original sin. Concupiscence is a symptom of
the disharmony between soul and body, since the body and its appetites, or
desires, wants to pull us a certain way, and the soul wants to cling to the
higher things of God and grace.
In heaven, the harmony
between body and soul will be restored, as will the harmony with God and the
world around us. Sin will be no more. The Sacrament of Baptism washes away
original sin, yet there remain the effects of original sin. One of them is an
innate tendency to be vulnerable to temptation, to be inclined to sin, to be
predisposed to desires that do no honor to the grace of God. The Council of
Trent (1545-1563) taught that concupiscence “comes from sin and induces to
sin.” Yet, concupiscence is not itself sin. Concupiscence makes us vulnerable
to sin, but susceptibility to temptation is not sin. How we act in response to
the temptation determines the rightness or wrongness — the sin. With constant
attention, or more accurately with the acceptance of God’s constant outpouring
of grace, the human person can be unaffected by this tendency to drift off
course. A driver who is attentive to the path ahead can constantly adjust for a
misalignment in the car’s front end, keeping the car moving toward the goal of
the driver. Indeed, the Council of Trent noted that concupiscence “cannot harm
those who do not consent but manfully resist it by the grace of Jesus Christ”
(Catechism, No. 1264). It is prevenient grace that precedes our thoughts and
actions, waiting for us when we are tempted by concupiscence to go off course.
By availing ourselves of that grace, we are enabled by God to resist the
tendency to sin and instead to stay on the morally proper course.
is concupiscence that makes our minds more vulnerable to thoughts that incline
us to sin and to sinful actions, but neither concupiscence nor those thoughts
are sinful in themselves. The morality is determined by what we do in response:
to beg God’s grace to turn away from thoughts of sin is meritorious, but to
offer no resistance and give in to immoral or disordered acts is the very
definition of sin itself. Concupiscence corrupts the will to the point that we
are tempted to conclude that something less than God will ultimately satisfy.
St. Thomas Aquinas taught
clearly that concupiscence is a consequence of original sin. Once human beings
made the decision to be unbound from the will of God, the harmony within human
nature also became unbound. Desires and appetites were no longer in harmony
with the intellect or reason, and the two — desire and reason — fought against
one another. St. Paul understood this, and described it in his Letter to the
Romans: “I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind,
taking me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members” (7:23). As a
result, St. Paul could write, “I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I
do not want” (Rom 7:19). Even Jesus observed concupiscence in action when He
said, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mt 26:41; see also Mk
14:38). The prophets of the Old Testament understood this interior tension.
Jeremiah asked the piercing question, “More tortuous than anything is the human
heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it?” (Jer 17:9). Jeremiah understood
human nature and spoke often of the stubbornness of their evil hearts (see 3:17
and many other passages), “evil thoughts” (4:14, RSV), and humanity’s “stubborn
and rebellious heart” (5:23, RSV). The psalms of David offer lament for sins
committed as well as penetrating insight into the lived dichotomy between
weakness and grace, the lusts of the flesh and the longing for holiness. “Sin
directs the heart of the wicked man; his eyes are closed to the fear of God”
(Ps 36:2). In a plaintive cry for God’s mercy, the psalmist acknowledges the
dueling desires within him, and acknowledges, “I have been mortally afflicted
since youth” (Ps 88:16).
Staying on Course. From the earliest reflection on
life lived in relationship to God — the Book of Genesis — to the present day,
the tension between good and evil is well-known. Whether presented, as a life-or-death
struggle in the psalms; or a comedic conversation with an angel on one shoulder
and the devil on the other; it is innately understood that we all experience
concupiscence on a daily basis. Have you noticed that the temptation to eat
meat seems to be the strongest on a Friday in Lent? That’s concupiscence at
work, the body at war against the soul, each pulling in a different direction.
Whether we entertain evil thoughts, or they entertain us, that’s also concupiscence at
work: the desires of the flesh are not in harmony with the desires of the soul.
While we cannot vanquish concupiscence in this life, we can open our lives to
the grace of God that provides the strength to resist the weakness of our
fallen nature. Despite the choice of our first parents to “throw off the yoke
of God’s will,” as St. Thomas Aquinas described it, we can today choose to take
upon ourselves a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light (see Mt 11:30).
The grace of God that goes before us and anticipates our weakness — prevenient grace — is
ours if we but open ourselves to it when concupiscence tempts us off course.
Modern highways help drivers stay on course with painted lines and with a
rumble strip when they veer out of the lane. In the moral life, prevenient
grace and our free will to do what is right perform for us the same function,
and if we veer off course, the rumble of conscience will gently prod us back.
Feast of Saint Luke
This day celebrates the life of St. Luke, one of Jesus' 12 disciples. Luke was thought to be an educated Gentile, or non-Jew, and may have even been a physician. Some biblical historians believe he may have even been a slave. Luke wrote two books in the New Testament -- the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. The Gospel of Luke focuses on converting non-Jews to Christianity.
St Luke Facts
worked with the apostle Paul, and traveled with him throughout Asia Minor,
proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Gospel of Luke describes a popular passage referred to as the 'The Parable of
the Good Samaritan'. In it a traveling man is attacked by robbers who
strip and beat him. A priest and a Levite pass by without helping him.
A Samaritan stops and cares for him, taking him to an inn where the
Samaritan pays for his care. (Luke 10:25-37)
became of Luke is unclear. Some accounts say he was martyred, while
others say that he lived to an old age and died in Greece.
· The feast Day for St. Luke is held on October 18 in the Roman Catholic, Orthodox Church and some Protestant churches. The Orthodox Church refers to this day as the Feast of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke.
St Luke Top Events
and Things to Do
the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke. This is the story that is most
often read at Christmas time about the birth of Jesus Christ.
the popular 'Parable of the Good Samaritan'. Use this to inspire you to
go out of your comfort zone to help someone in need.
traditions believe that St. Luke, in addition to being a writer and physician,
was a painter. Do a little artwork today to honor the saint.
get a checkup. Luke was a physician. Take care of your body in
honor of St. Luke.
for doctors and those who care for the sick through the intercession of St.
Luke, patron of physicians.
this day to honor St. Luke would include some beef dish, as he is known as the
"ox" and is the patron of butchers. For dessert, bake some raisin
Banbury Tarts to evoke the festivals of England on this day, or a cake in the
shape of a book with decorations of a calf or ox for this evangelist.
is also known as "Sour Cakes Day" in Scotland, because baked cakes
were eaten with sour cream in Rutherglen.
Lovely, summerlike days that occur around October 18 are called
Saint Luke’s Little Summer in honor of the saint’s feast day. Around this time,
Saint Luke’s feast day, there is a period brief period of calm, dry weather. Of
course, it’s difficult to generalize today across the vast continent of North
America, but the temperature is usually mild, and the leaf colors are turning a
gorgeous color. It’s a good time for a brief vacation or visit to a park. In
Venice, Italy, they say: “San Luca, El ton va te la zuca” (Pumpkins go stale on
St Luke’s Day), but here in North America, pumpkins are enjoying their finest
hour. Saint Luke is the patron saint of physicians and surgeons, so it seems
only fitting that the good doctor give us these calm days. In olden days, St.
Luke’s Day did not receive as much attention in the secular world as St. John’s
Day (June 24) and Michaelmas (September 29), so it was to keep from being
forgotten that St. Luke presented us with some golden days to cherish before
the coming of winter, or so the story goes. Some folks call this Indian Summer,
but that officially occurs between November 11 and November 20.
Cyprus’s Painted Churches
Above seaside Lemosos and on the eastern flank of 6,500-foot Mt. Olympus, you’ll also find ten magnificent medieval churches and monasteries, whose modest exteriors stand in contrast to their rich interiors, embellished with some of the finest Byzantine frescoes and icons in the Mediterranean. At the ornate 11th-century Kykkos Monastery, even the cloisters are richly frescoed, and a golden icon of the Virgin ascribed to St. Luke is said to work miracles. Agios Nikolaos tis Stegis (St. Nicholas of the Roof) is covered entirely in wall paintings. The monks who lived here were not only gifted artists but also master vintners, following a 5,500-year-old wine-making tradition in Cyprus. Stop at Chrysorrogiatissa Monastery for a visit to the region’s oldest wine-making site. The dark amber– colored Commandaria, a sweet wine that was a favorite elixir of medieval crusaders, is thought to be the world’s oldest appellation and is made from centuries-old vines in the Troodos foothills. For something with a little more kick, stop in any village bar for a glass of zivania, a centuries-old Cypriot beverage produced from the residue of grapes. With a 45 percent (and up) alcohol content, it is also used to treat wounds and sore throats.
Eat waffles and Pray for the assistance of the Angels
to St. Joseph
Monday: Litany of
Schultz, Patricia. 1,000 Places to
See Before You Die