QUAERITUR: In Collect for St. Luke why “mortificationem jugiter in suo corpore… portavit”?

I got this by e-mail:


Why does the Church give us – in her Traditional Liturgy
– the Collect "Interveniat" for St Luke, seeing as it contains the
phrase "qui crucis mortificationem jugiter in suo corpore…

I was wondering about this while saying the Breviary and
serving Mass today. 

While doubtless all should do so (cf. esp. 2 Cor 4:10;
also Lk 9:23; Gal 5:24), I would have thought this collect better used for St
Paul, who carried the marks of the Lord in his body (Gal 6:17), while I find no
special reference to stigmata, etc., regarding St Luke.   Any ideas?

Here is the Collect:

Interveniat pro nobis,
quaesumus Domine,
sanctus tuus Lucas Evangelista:
qui crucis mortificationem iugiter in suo corpore
pro tui nominis honore portavit.

There might be a couple reasons for this.  First, Evangelists are associated closely with the Apostles, and so it might not surprise us that something from the Apostle Paul might be applied to others in that category. 

This is strengthened by Luke’s strong association with Paul.  We associate Luke and the Acts of the Apostles.  Here also is the entry in the Roman Martyrology talking about how St. Luke was a companion of St. Paul:

Festum sancti Lucae, Evangelistae, qui, ut fertur, Antiochiae ex ethnica familia natus et arte medicus, ad Christi fidem conversus et comes carissimus beati Pauli Apostoli factus, in libro Evangelii, quae fecit Iesus et docuit, mansuetudinis Christi scriba omnia diligenter ordinavit et item in Actibus Apostolorum primordia vitae Ecclesiae usque ad primam Pauli in Urbe commorationem enarravit.

The so-called Golden Legend says of this matter:

[Luke] had rightful work and deed, and his work was rightful by intention,
and that is signified in his collect where it is said: Qui crucis
mortificationem jugiter in corpore suo pro tui nominis amore portavit:
he bare in his body mortification of his flesh for the love of thy

The idea here is that when one applies oneself to one’s vocation properly, in all you do, you deny the urges of the flesh and therefore mortify your senses and appetites, which is a way of uniting oneself with the Passion of the Lord.  It may be that this was thought to be apt because, as a physician, Luke would have seen much suffering, which is difficult to endure in one with great charity.

Other than that, it is a rather nice and pious thing to pray.

PS: For the Latin cited, above, maybe you readers would like to try your hand and offer the rest of us a smooth and accurate rendering.

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  1. Brian says:

    I’ll give it a try even though my proficiency in Latin is rather lacking:

    May Thy Evangelist, St. Luke, intercede for us we beseech Thee, O Lord, who for the honor of Thy name never ceased to carry in his body the mortification of the cross.

  2. Scott Smith says:

    The Oration:

    Luke, your holy Evangelist, continually bore the mortification of the cross in his body for the honor of your name. We ask, O Lord, that he would intervene for us; through Our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, he who lives and reigns with you in unity with the Holy Ghost, God, through all ages of ages. Amen.

    From the Martyrology quoted:

    The feast of Saint Luke, Evangelist, who as it is told, was born of an imitable family and into the medical art, was converted to the Christian Faith and became a most dear companion of the blessed Apostle Paul. In the book of his Gospel, Luke, the scribe of Christ’s gentleness, diligently ordered all that Jesus did and taught and also in the Acts of the Apostles told of the primordial life of the Church even to the first mention of Paul in the City.

    Definitely need to spend more time with Latin…

  3. Andrew says:

    This is from Pelbartus de Temesvar, Pomerium de sanctis, Sermo LXXVIII. De beato Luca evangelista Sermo tertius:

    I don’t feel like translating but he explains some of St. Luke’s virtues among which “dura poenitantia” is mentioned which accounts, according to this author for the Church’s words about the “constant mortification”. Since it is the Saints Feast Day today, perhaps juvabit to have the entire paragraph cited.

    Initium sermonis:
    “Misimus ad vos fratrem nostrum (scilicet Lucam), cuius laus est in Evangelio per omnes ecclesias.”
    Verba sunt apostoli Pauli II. Cor. VIII. 1, in quibus commendatur beatus Lucas proponiturque nobis omnibus in exemplum.

    Finis sermonis (novissima paragraphus):

    Circa tertium de celebri sanctitate Lucae sit pro conclusione, quod beatus Lucas propter quinque virtutes praecipuas celebri laude commendatur et in exemplum proponitur per omnes ecclesias. Prima est fidei catholicae doctrinae, ut patet de eius evangelio, et etiam de aliis scriptis, scilicet Actibus apostolorum. Secunda virtus est innocentia, quia numquam crimen mortale commisit, ut dicit Hieronymus: serviens – inquit – fuit Domino sine crimine. Tertia est dura poenitentia. Unde canit Ecclesia quod “crucis mortificationem jugiter in suo corpore pro honore nominis Christi portavit.” Quarta est virginitas perpetua, ut testatur de eo Hieronymus. Quinta est Spiritus Sancti gratia in plenitudinis perseverantia. Nam Hieronymus dicit de eo, quod LXXXIV annorum obiit in Bithynia plenus Spiritu Sancto. Ecce quam sancte vixit, et quam feliciter consummavit. O Christiane, ecce tibi salutis exemplum et virtutis perfectae. Accedamus ergo, carissimi, et oremus Dominum Jesum ut beati Lucae meritis et precibus det nobis gratiam in praesenti et gloriam in futuro. Amen.

  4. christophorus says:

    I also believe that the legend says that Luke was crucified on an olive tree.

  5. Joshua says:

    Butler’s “Lives of the Saints” has an apposite comment regarding this Collect:

    ‘No sooner was he [St Luke] enlightened by the Holy Ghost and initiated in the school of Christ but he set himself heartily to learn the spirit of his faith and to practice its lessons. For this purpose he studied perfectly to die to himself, and, as the church says of him, “He always carried about in his body the mortification of the cross for the honour of the divine name.” He was already a great proficient in the habits of a perfect mastery of himself, and of all virtues, when he became St. Paul’s companion in his travels and fellow-labourer in the ministry of the gospel.’

  6. Joshua says:

    I’ve just looked up what Pius Parsch might have to say about this Collect, but found he said nothing at all about it; I’m hoping someone can check Gueranger’s work on the liturgical year and see what he makes of it. For that matter, Schuster’s work on the Sacramentary may help, too, but I don’t have access to a copy at present.

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