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  • Fr. Scott Haynes

A Letter to St. Luke

Fr. Scott A. Haynes


Bishop Albino Luciani, who later became Pope John Paul I, used to write fictional letters to people with whom he could never come into contact as a way of instructing his flock. He wrote letters among others to Mark Twain, St. Joan of Arc and St. Luke. They have been published in a book Illustrissimi: Letters from Pope John Paul I. Now listen to John Paul I’s letter to St. Luke:


“Dear St. Luke, I have always been fond of you because you are a man of great sweetness filled with the spirit of conciliation. In your Gospel you stress that Christ is infinitely good, that sinners are the object of a special love on God’s part, that Jesus almost ostentatiously made the acquaintance of those who did not enjoy any consideration in the world.”


In his letter to St. Luke, Bishop Luciani further wrote:

“You are the only one who gives us the story of Christ’s nativity and childhood which we hear read at Christmas always with renewed emotion. One little phrase of yours in particular captures my attention, ‘wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.’ It is the phrase that inspired all the Christmas crèches in the world and thousands of stupendous paintings. I set beside this phrase a stanza of the Breviary: He was willing to lie on straw; He was not afraid of the manger; He was nourished with a little mouth; He who feeds even the least of the birds.”


What Bishop Luciani wrote is so true, as we read Luke’s Gospel, we experience the tenderness and mercy of Jesus. We behold the humility of God in the birth of our Lord. Thus, Pope John Paul I asks:

“Christ took that very humble place, what place do we take?”