"The Story of Luke and the Incarnation"

 

"The Story of Luke and the Incarnation" takes place in 1972 in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Luke is excited because the "Rough Rider Rodeo" is coming to town!

Have you ever been to a rodeo? Maybe our North Dakota, Montana and Texas friends have.

Luke's father can't take him because he is far away in a country called Vietnam where a war

is going on. Luke's father is a brave soldier. Luke misses him a lot. Thankfully, Grandpa is nearby. Grandpa will take him to the rodeo. Listen and read along below to find out what really happens!

Click the little black arrow in the yellow box below and listen to the audiobook of Luke's story. 

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THE STORY OF LUKE AND THE INCARNATION - AudiobookCatholic Kids 101
00:00 / 50:52

A Visit With Jesus Series

 

"The Story of Luke and the Incarnation"

 

Written by Jean Prather

 

Read by Adrianne Price (& Thom Price)

In loving memory of John Daniel Doran 

​​​“And the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us." 

John 1:14

Luke was on his way home from school when he made a detour over to Olson’s Drugstore to look at the most wonderful sign he had ever seen just one more time.

 

"THE ROUGH RIDER RODEO" 

IS COMING TO GRAND FORKS!

COWBOYS! BUCKING BRONCOS! CLOWNS! TRACTOR PULL!

CROWNING OF MISS RODEO 1972!

SATURDAY, MARCH 25

ADMISSION $1.50

NORTH DAKOTA COUNTY LIVESTOCK ARENA

FOOT LONG HOT DOGS! CORN ON THE COB! DAIRY FRESH ICE CREAM!

SPONSORED BY FARMER’S DAUGHTER INSURANCE

DON’T MISS IT!

 

 

“Oh, boy! Oh, boy!” said Luke to himself. “The rodeo is coming to town tomorrow and I’m going to be there!”

 

Grandpa was taking Luke to the rodeo just like he took Luke’s father when he was a boy. Grandpa usually worked on Saturdays but he said he would arrange to take the day off so the two of them could go to the "Rough Rider Rodeo" together.  

 

Thinking about Grandpa made Luke think about Dad. Luke’s father was a brave soldier. He was far away in a place called Vietnam where there was a war going on. Grandpa told Luke that Dad’s tour of duty was almost done and then he would be home for good, but nobody knew exactly what day that would be.

 

Luke took his eyes off the rodeo sign and looked up into the big blue sky. He whispered, “Blessed Mother, my dad is the best dad in the whole wide world and I miss him a lot. Please ask Jesus to take care of him and bring him home safely. I won’t forget to pray my Rosary decade tonight just like Sister Elizabeth taught me.”

 

Sister Elizabeth was Luke’s teacher at Holy Family Catholic School. Luke knew Sister was very smart and he always tried to listen and do what she said. Sister explained, “Luke, if you take care of the Blessed Mother’s business she will be sure to take care of yours.  Always remember to pray for her intentions when you offer up your Rosary decades. She will never forget to bring your intentions straight to her Son, Jesus. Sometimes we might not get what we ask for but we can be certain that Jesus always answers every single prayer in the very best way.”

 

So every night before Luke went to sleep, Mom and he would kneel down next to his bed and pray a decade of the Rosary. His dog, Boots, would come and lie down right next to them. Tonight they would be praying the First Joyful Mystery. That is the mystery when Jesus became a baby in Mary’s womb.

 

Thinking about Jesus as a baby reminded Luke of his baby brothers.

 

“I better get home and see how Mark and John are doing,” said Luke to himself.

 

He gave one last happy glance at the Rough Rider Rodeo sign and then ran off towards home.

 

II

 

 

Luke tiptoed into the bedroom with Boots close at his heels. He looked into the crib and saw that his baby brothers were asleep. They were identical twins. Luke wondered if he would ever be able to tell them apart!

 

He bent down and peeked through the slats to try and see the bottoms of their feet. When they came home from the hospital, Grandma had the idea to take a Magic Marker and write a tiny “M” on the bottom of Mark’s foot and a tiny “J” on the bottom of John’s foot. He got a good look at their tiny feet and saw that the letters had faded away.

 

“One of these days I’m going to be able to tell you two apart without having to ask Mom,” whispered Luke. “She says John has darker hair but you both look the same to me.”

 

As Luke gazed at his baby brothers he thought of Dad. When Dad went to Vietnam he thought Mom was going to have one baby. He sure was going to be happy when he came home and saw two babies!

 

“Oh boy! Oh boy!” whispered Luke to his little brothers. “Guess what? Tomorrow Grandpa is taking me to the rodeo! I’ll tell you all about it. Someday soon Dad will be home and when you grow a little bigger we’ll do all kinds of fun things together. We’ll go to rodeos and baseball games and hockey games. We’ll have a really great time!”

 

It must have been the excitement in Luke’s voice that suddenly made Boots wag his tail and let out a loud bark. Sure enough, the babies opened their eyes and started to cry.

 

“Quiet, Boots! Why did you do that? You scared them!” scolded Luke. He thought for a moment and then in a soothing voice said, “Hey, little brothers. Everything is okay. Don’t cry. I’ll sing you a song Sister Elizabeth taught our class.”

 

Luke took a deep breath and then started to sing:

 

“Jesus, Mary, Joseph, I love you;

Make my family holy in all we do;

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, I love you;

Make my family holy, just like you.”

 

The babies stopped crying and listened. Luke continued:

 

“Jesus you came down from Heaven to be;

A little boy that grew in a family;

Helping good Saint Joseph and Mother Mary;

Loving and obeying with humility.

 

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, I love you;

Make my family holy in all we do;

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, I love you;

Make my family holy, just like you.

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, I love you!”  

 

Luke looked at his little brothers and smiled. They were quiet now.

 

He slowly tiptoed out of the room and closed the door with Boots at his heels.

 

“Come on, Boots!” said Luke as the two of them headed to Luke's room to do homework. 

 

 

III

 

 

Luke was in the bathroom getting ready for bed. He had just finished brushing his teeth when Mom knocked on the door.

 

“How are you doing, Honey?” she asked. “Are you almost done?”

 

“All done,” answered Luke opening up the bathroom door. “Thanks again for the barbecue ribs supper. It was great!”

 

Mom smiled, “It was tasty, wasn’t it? I’ll show you how to make it. It’s really easy.”

 

Mom thought a moment and added, “Soon we’ll be making barbecue ribs for Dad!”

 

“I can’t wait for that day!” exclaimed Luke.

 

Mom gave Luke a big hug.

 

“How about if we pray our Rosary decade now before your brothers get fussy?” asked Mom. "I still need to feed them and get them ready for bed.”

 

“Sounds good, Mom.”

 

Luke switched off the bathroom light.

 

“Hey, Boots!” called Luke. “It’s time to pray our Rosary decade before we hit the sack.”

 

Boots had been curled up at the bottom of the stairs but was soon at Luke’s heels.  

 

Mom and Luke walked into his bedroom. Luke opened up the drawer of his nightstand.

 

“Here you go, Mom.”

 

Luke handed her a sparkling blue Rosary. Then he took out his shiny black Rosary that had been a First Holy Communion gift from Grandpa and Grandma and a Rosary book that Sister Elizabeth had given him.

 

Mom and Luke knelt down next to Luke’s bed. Luke opened up the Rosary book and put it flat on the bed so they could look at it together while Boots lay down next to them.

 

“We’re on the First Joyful Mystery,” said Luke.

 

He carefully studied the picture.

 

“Guess what, Mom?” asked Luke.

 

“What?”

 

“Sister Elizabeth told us all about this exact mystery today during religion class.”

 

“Would you tell me what she said?” asked Mom.

 

“Sure. I’ll try to remember everything she told us. Well, a really long time ago God made the very first man. His name was Adam. Sister said he had a clear mind and was super smart. He loved God and, of course, God really loved Adam. God loved him so much He made him a beautiful garden called Paradise to live in. There were all kinds of trees and plants and flowers and good things to eat in the garden. It was really neat.”

 

“It sure sounds like it,” said Mom.

 

“Guess what? There were lots of animals and birds too. Adam got to name all the animals.”

 

Luke paused and looked over at Boots.

 

“Kind of like when I got to name Boots.“

 

Boots raised his head and looked up at Luke when he heard his name.

 

Mom smiled.

 

Luke continued,  “Anyway, in the middle of this garden called Paradise God planted a special tree. Let me remember the exact name.”

 

Luke paused.

 

“Oh, yeah. It was called the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. That’s it.”

 

Luke stopped to scratch an itch on his knee and then went on.

 

“Now God told Adam that he could eat any of the fruit that grew from any of the trees in the garden except that he wasn’t supposed to eat the fruit from that one tree. If Adam did eat from it, well, it wasn’t good. Adam would die.”

 

Luke looked down at Boots.

 

“That reminds me, Mom. Do you remember when we accidentally left that big box of chocolates with the top off when Boots was a puppy and he ate almost the whole box?”

 

“Oh, yes, I do. He was one sick puppy.”

 

“Yeah, it was terrible!” exclaimed Luke. “I was afraid he might die!”

 

Luke looked at Boots and said, “You won’t ever do that again, will you, Boots?”

 

Boots looked up at Luke and wagged his tail.  

 

Luke continued, “Then after God told Adam not to eat from that one tree, God put Adam to sleep and took out one of his ribs and made a woman. When Adam woke up he had a wife! Her name was Eve.”

 

“‘Bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh,’” said Mom. “That part of the story was one of the scripture readings your dad and I picked for our Nuptial Mass on our wedding day.”

 

“Wow, pretty neat, Mom!”

 

“That was the happiest day of my life, Luke.” Then Mom added, “The other happiest days of my life were the days you and your brothers were born!”

 

Luke grinned.

 

She pointed to the Rosary book and asked, “So after God made Eve, what happened next?”

 

“Well, Adam and Eve were really happy together in the garden called Paradise. They loved each other and they loved God and they had everything they needed. It was just great!”

 

Luke stopped.

 

“Oh, wait a second, Mom. There is one really important part of the story I forgot to say first. Sister said that before God made Adam and Eve He made lots and lots of Angels. She said the greatest and most beautiful Angel in Heaven was named Lucifer. God tested all the Angels to see if they would worship and obey Him. Lucifer didn’t pass the test. Sister said that Lucifer was prideful in a bad way. It wasn’t in the good way when you say you are proud of me, Mom. It was in a way where he thought he should be as great as God! Sister said he even cried out, “I will not serve!” He meant that he would not serve God. It was really bad." 

Mom nodded in agreement.

 

“Then the Archangel Michael, who was really good and wanted to serve only God shouted, “Who is like God?” That meant that God is the very greatest and there is no one equal to Him! Some of the Angels followed Lucifer and decided to be bad. More of the Angels followed the Archangel Michael and decided to be good. There was a really huge battle with the good Angels throwing the bad Angels out of Heaven. Sister said Lucifer is now called Satan and the bad Angels are devils.”

 

Luke was quiet for a moment and then asked, “Mom, remember when I was really afraid to sleep with the light off when I was little?”

 

“Yes. Do you remember what I would tell you?”

 

“You said that even when you and Dad weren’t with me that my Guardian Angel was always with me every single second of my life. You said that my Angel protects me and that I don’t have to be afraid.”

 

Luke thought for a moment.   

 

“I’m not afraid of the dark anymore, Mom. I know the good Angels are way stronger than the bad Angels. We just have to remember to pray and ask for help, right?”

 

“That’s right.”

 

Then Mom asked, “Do you remember what happened to Adam and Eve next?”

 

“Oh, yeah. Well, Sister said that Satan knew all about Adam and Eve and that he was really jealous of them. So he came into the garden looking like a big snake. He had a plan and it was a real bad one. His plan was to try to make Adam and Eve disobey God! So here’s how it went.”

 

Luke paused, gathered his thoughts and then continued.

 

“When Eve was near that one special tree, Satan lied to her and said that if she ate the fruit from that tree she wouldn’t really die but that she would be just like God! Sister said Satan is a liar and we should never, ever listen to him. She said he is always thinking of ways to tempt us to not obey God.”

 

Mom nodded.

 

“And guess what? Eve did listen to Satan. She ate the fruit from that one tree! She knew God didn’t want her to eat it but she ate it anyway! Then she gave some of the fruit to Adam. He knew it came from the same tree but he ate it too! They fell for Satan’s lie! Right after that Adam and Eve felt very ashamed of themselves. They knew they had disobeyed God. They both knew they did something very wrong. They felt afraid. They even tried to hide from God.”

 

“It was the very first sin,” explained Mom. “That sin of our first parents is called Original Sin.”

 

“Yeah, that sin really messed things up, didn’t it? After Adam and Eve sinned God called to them and asked why they had disobeyed Him. They tried to make excuses. Adam tried to blame Eve and Eve tried to blame the snake. It wasn’t good.”

 

“No, it sure wasn’t,” agreed Mom.

 

“Then God told Adam he would have to work hard and that he and Eve would have to leave the beautiful garden. Now they would have to suffer and grow old and then one day they would die. Isn’t that awful? Sister said it’s because God gave Adam and Eve a gift called free will. They could have decided to obey God and not listen to Satan. Instead, they really blew it.”

 

Luke sighed and shook his head.

 

“But is that the end of the story, Luke?” asked Mom as she pointed to the picture of the First Joyful Mystery in the Rosary book.

 

“Oh, no! It’s not the end of the story!” exclaimed Luke with a big smile.

 

Boots looked up.

 

“Then something wonderful happened,” explained Luke. “God made a promise! Sister said He promised that one day He would send a Savior to save Adam and Eve and every single person that came after them from sin and death!”

 

Luke picked up the Rosary book.

 

“Right here! This is the promise! The first Joyful Mystery is the promise come true! God sent the Archangel Gabriel to tell Mary that God had picked her to be the Mother of His Son. That’s Jesus! So Mary said, ‘Yes!’ She only wanted what God wanted.”

 

“That’s right,” said Mom. “Mary was obedient. She was the perfect mother for Jesus. We call Mary the Immaculate Conception because she was created without the stain of Original Sin. She is all pure because God is holy.”

 

Luke listened carefully.

 

“Well, that makes sense, Mom, because here’s what happened next.”

 

Luke showed Mom the picture of the First Joyful Mystery again.

“Sister told us all about this picture. She said the Holy Spirit over…”

 

Luke tried to remember the word Sister said.

 

“Overshadowed?” asked Mom.

 

“Yeah! That’s it! The Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary. That is when Jesus became a baby in her womb. Sister said that Jesus is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. She said that God became a man and that is called the Incarnation.”

 

Luke grabbed Mom’s arm and exclaimed, “Sister said that the Incarnation is the greatest thing that has ever happened in the history of the world! Jesus came to save us from our sins so that we could live forever with Him in Paradise! He made everything right again! Isn’t that great?”

 

Suddenly, Boots started barking!

 

Mom and Luke looked down at Boots and started laughing!

 

“Yes, it’s great and Boots thinks so too!” exclaimed Mom.

 

A few moments later they heard the familiar sound of two babies crying.

 

Mom put her arm around Luke and said, “You explained the lesson so well! The Incarnation is the greatest thing that has ever happened in the history of the world! I’m so proud of you, Luke!”

She gave him a big hug. Then she added with a wink, “Proud of you in the good way.”

 

Luke chuckled.

 

Mom let out a little sigh, “Well, as you can hear, I think we have a couple of future opera singers in the next room.“

 

“Yeah, I’d say their voices work really well,” agreed Luke.

 

“I need to go take care of them, Luke. You go ahead and pray your decade now so you can get to sleep early. I know that tomorrow is the rodeo and I want you to be well-rested. I’ll pray my decade after the babies are asleep. I know you’ll remember to pray for your Dad.”

 

“You bet, I will!”

 

Mom kissed Luke on the head.

 

“I love you!”

 

“I love you too, Mom!”

 

Luke watched Mom walk out of his room and then everything was quiet.

 

Luke looked down again at the Rosary book on his bed and studied the picture. The Archangel Gabriel was kneeling before Mary and holding a lily. Mary looked young and beautiful.

 

“Boots, Sister Elizabeth showed our class a big Bible and told us that the story of the Incarnation is found in the Gospel of Saint Luke,” explained Luke. “Just like my name! Pretty neat, huh?”

 

Boots wagged his tail.

 

Luke picked up his Rosary and announced, “Time to pray!”

 

Luke kissed the Crucifix on the end of his Rosary. Then he made the Sign of the Cross and prayed, "Blessed Mother, thanks for saying, ‘Yes!’ Please tell Jesus that Mom and I are really happy that that Incarnation happened! I pray this Rosary decade for all of your business. I especially pray that big sinners will turn good and that the war will end. Please take care all of my business and especially ask Jesus to bring Dad safely home real soon.”

 

Then Luke closed his eyes and prayed one Our Father slowly out loud. After that he prayed the Hail Mary prayer ten times. He looked at the picture and thought about the Incarnation while he did that. Then he bowed his head in adoration and prayed the Glory Be prayer. He ended the Rosary decade with the prayer that Sister Elizabeth taught his class when they were learning about the Rosary. He opened up his hands and imagined Jesus standing right in front of him as he prayed: “Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of Hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Your mercy.”

 

Luke closed his book and made the Sign of the Cross, “In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen!”

 

He put his Rosary and Rosary book in the nightstand drawer, climbed into bed and said, “Good night, Boots! We have to sleep fast because tomorrow is the big day!”

 

Luke turned off the lamp. He was soon dreaming about cowboys and bucking broncos.

 

IV

 

 

Luke opened his eyes. The smell of coffee brewing from the kitchen came drifting into his bedroom. Luke jumped right out of bed. The great and glorious Saturday had arrived! Before the Rough Rider Rodeo, Grandpa, Grandma and Luke would go to 8am Mass at Holy Family Church. March 25th is the day that the entire Church celebrates the Incarnation in a special way. It’s so special it is called a Solemnity.

 

Grandpa, Grandma and Luke arrived at Church at 7:40am because Luke was scheduled to be an altar server. He had to help get things ready before Mass started.

 

As Luke got out of the car he thought about Mom. He wished she could come too but she needed to stay home with the babies. Grandma said she would watch the babies later so Mom could go to Mass on this special day at twelve-noon. It was a lot of work for Mom to bring the babies with her when she left the house.

Luke went to the sacristy and put on a black cassock and white surplice. Just then his friend, Kevin, arrived.

 

“Howdy, Luke!” greeted Kevin. “Is your Grandpa still taking you to the "Rough Rider Rodeo" today?”

 

“You bet he is,” answered Luke. “He took the day off from work just so we could go together.”

 

“That’s great,” said Kevin. “I’m going with my Uncle Mike and my four cousins.”

 

“Oh, sure. I remember your cousins. I just can’t wait to see those cowboys!” exclaimed Luke.

 

“Yeah! Me too! I wonder how many there will be?” asked Kevin.

 

“Hey, you two, pipe down!” snapped Johnny Johnson. “Quit talking so much! I’m getting a headache from your yapping.”

 

Johnny was a big seventh grader who was always bossing the younger boys around.

 

“One of you go out there and light the altar candles now!” ordered Johnny.

 

Luke walked to the corner of the sacristy and grabbed the candle lighter. It looked like a long golden pole. The top had a wick on one side that held the flame and the other side had a little upside down cup shaped like a bell that was used to snuff out the candles when Mass was over.

 

“Nothing is going to spoil this day,” Luke thought as he walked out the door towards the sanctuary. "Not even Johnny Johnson!”

 

The candles were soon lit, everything was in place and Mass began at 8am sharp.

 

The time came for Father Nelson to read the Gospel. It was taken from the Gospel according to Saint Luke.

 

“It’s the story of the Incarnation!” thought Luke to himself.

 

As Luke sat listening to Father Nelson’s homily he thought about how Father and Grandpa had been friends for a long time. They were the same age and had grown up together. Grandpa went to business school, married Grandma and ended up being the head supervisor at the Diamond Sugar Beet factory. Father Nelson went to seminary, was ordained a priest and ended up becoming the pastor of Holy Family parish. He was the priest in Mom and Dad’s wedding pictures. Luke also remembered seeing a picture of Father Nelson baptizing him when he was a newborn baby. Father would soon be baptizing Mark and John…

 

Luke realized that his mind was wandering and he tried to bring his attention back to what Father was saying in his homily.

 

When Father finished preaching Luke thought, “It’s true! The Incarnation really is the greatest thing that has ever happened in the history of the world!”

 

The next part of the Mass was when Jesus becomes truly present in the little white Host. Luke knew that when Father Nelson said the words of consecration: “This is My Body” over the bread and “This is My Blood” over the wine, the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus! Luke knew that Jesus gave Father Nelson the power to change the bread and wine into His Body and Blood through the Sacrament of Holy Orders when the bishop ordained him a priest. Jesus gave the power to do this miracle to every Catholic priest who has ever lived since the time of the Apostles!

 

When it was Luke’s turn to receive Holy Communion, Father Nelson said, “The Body of Christ” and Luke said, “Amen.” Father then put a little white Host on Luke’s tongue. Luke slowly let the Host dissolve on his tongue and then swallowed the Host. Then Luke prayed, “Jesus, just like when you became a baby in Mary’s womb in the Incarnation, you are really and truly here with me now. I sure love You. Thanks for everything!”

 

When Mass was over it was Luke’s job to snuff out the candles on the altar. As he walked in front of the shiny golden tabernacle he genuflected and whispered, “Thanks again for everything, Jesus!”

 

Luke went back to the sacristy, put the candle lighter in place, hung up his surplice and cassock and was soon heading towards the door to meet Grandpa and Grandma.

 

“See you at the Rough Rider Rodeo!” he called to Kevin on his way out.

 

“Oh boy! Oh boy!” thought Luke to himself. “This is going to be the best day ever!”

​​

V​

​​

 

“Luke, you did a wonderful job serving Mass this morning,” complimented Grandma.

 

“Thanks a lot, Grandma,” answered Luke with a mouthful of pancakes. He swallowed and said, "These are sure good pancakes!”

 

“These pancakes are your Dad’s favorite,” Grandma said with a big smile. “I made these all the time for him when he was growing up.”

 

Just then the telephone rang. A minute later Mom came into the kitchen and said someone was calling from the sugar beet factory looking for Grandpa. Grandpa took the phone call in the living room.

 

“Have a wonderful time at the rodeo today,” Mom said to Luke as she filled her coffee cup. “I’m looking forward to hearing all about it at supper.”

 

“I will, Mom! I’ll tell you everything tonight.”  

 

Mom gave Luke a kiss on the head and then headed back upstairs to give the babies their morning baths.

 

Grandpa soon came back into the kitchen.

 

“There was an accident at work,” explained Grandpa. “Dennis Carter was hurt. I’m going to the factory to check things out.”

 

“Oh, no. I hope it’s not serious,” said Grandma. “His wife just got out of the hospital after having her appendix removed. That family has been through a lot lately.”

 

“Yes, I know. I want to make sure that Dennis is okay.”

 

Grandpa turned to Luke and said, “I don’t think this will take very long, Luke. I just need to talk with Mr. Carter. You take your time eating breakfast. I should be back soon and we’ll head right over to the rodeo.

 

Luke tried not to look disappointed. He nodded, “I’ll be waiting for you, Grandpa. See you real soon.”

 

However, Grandpa wasn’t back real soon. Breakfast was over, the dishes were done, Grandma left to do errands and Luke was sitting alone in the living room watching the clock tick away the minutes. It had been almost an hour and a half since Grandpa left for the sugar beet factory.

 

Suddenly the phone rang and Luke grabbed the receiver.

 

“Hello! This is Luke speaking!”

 

“Luke, this is Grandpa. I’m afraid this situation is much more serious than I originally thought. One of the machines malfunctioned and Mr. Carter’s arm was badly hurt. They took him away in an ambulance and he’s in the hospital right now. The doctor says he has to do surgery on his arm later today. I need to finish filling out some insurance reports and then I have to head to the hospital. I hope you understand.”

 

“I understand,” said Luke with a sinking heart.

 

“Can you go with Kevin to the rodeo?“ asked Grandpa.

 

“I’ll have to call his house to see if he’s left yet.”

 

“Do you still have the three dollars that I gave you?”

 

“I do,” answered Luke trying to fight back some sudden, unexpected tears.

 

“I’m sorry I can’t take you.”

 

“It’s not your fault, Grandpa.”

 

“Thanks for understanding,” said Grandpa. “I have to go now and take care of things for Mr. Carter.”

 

“Grandpa?”

 

“What is it, Luke?”

 

“Well, I was just thinking. Mr. Carter’s son, Billy, is my friend. He’s on my baseball team. If you see Billy at the hospital, would you tell him I sure hope his dad gets better real soon.”

 

“I will, Luke,” said Grandpa. “I sure will. Now give Kevin a call, okay?”

 

“Okay, Grandpa. I’ll see you later.”

 

Luke hung up the phone and then called Kevin’s house. Kevin’s mom answered but she said that Kevin had already left for the rodeo with his uncle and cousins. Luke was afraid of that. As he hung up the phone he tried to think of what he should do. Grandma was running errands and would be coming back to stay with his baby brothers so Mom could go to Mass at twelve-noon. They wouldn’t be able to take him. Who could go with him to the Rough Rider Rodeo? Suddenly Luke had an idea!

 

​​

VI​

​​

Luke stood in front of the convent door. The big brick building was across the street from Holy Family School. He took a deep breath and then rang the doorbell. Eventually the door opened. It was a sister he didn’t recognize. She was quite old.

 

“How may I help you, dear?” she asked.

 

“Um. I’d like to speak with Sister Elizabeth, please,” answered Luke.

 

“Oh, Sister Elizabeth got up early this morning and drove to Bismarck to attend her nephew’s wedding. May I give her a message?”

 

“Oh. Um. Well, no,” stammered Luke. “I was just wondering if she wanted to go to the Rough Rider Rodeo with me today. Thanks anyway.”

 

Luke slowly walked back home. He opened the front door and sat back down in the living room chair by the clock. He could hear Grandma upstairs talking to his baby brothers.

 

“Mom must be at Mass,” Luke thought.

 

He looked at the clock. Yep, it was noon. Exactly twelve o’clock.

 

“Oh, boy. Oh, boy,” sighed a disappointed Luke. “This is not the way I thought this day would go.”

 

Luke looked back at the clock. It was time to pray the Angelus. Every day at school they always prayed the Angelus at twelve-noon before everyone ate lunch. Sister Elizabeth’s words suddenly came to his mind: “Remember Luke, if you take care of the Blessed Mother’s business, she’ll be sure to take care of yours.”

 

It was then that Luke had a terrible thought. He thought he wasn’t going to pray the Angelus because the Blessed Mother hadn’t taken care of his business! Maybe he and Mom and Boots would even skip praying their Rosary decade tonight. After all, here he was sitting at home when he could be having loads of fun at the Rough Rider Rodeo. The Blessed Mother was taking care of other people’s business. She had forgotten all about him!

 

Luke stood up and shook his head.

 

“That’s not true!” he said.

 

Luke closed his eyes tight and whispered, “Blessed Mother, you are so good. I know you haven’t forgotten about me. Please ask Jesus to help me.”

 

He slowly made the Sign of the Cross and then prayed:

 

The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary, and she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

 

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

 

Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to thy word.

 

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

 

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.

 

Luke genuflected when he said these words because the Incarnation is the greatest thing that has ever happened in the history of the world!

 

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

 

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Let us pray, pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an Angel, may by His Passion and Cross, be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ, our Lord. Amen.

 

Luke opened his eyes.

 

He was stunned by what he saw!

 

He tried to open his mouth and speak but nothing would come out.

 

Could what he was seeing really be true? 

 

“Hello, son,” said Dad with a big smile. "I'm home."

 

“Dad! Dad! You’re home!” cried Luke. "You're home! You're home!"

 

Luke ran to his dad who bent down and hugged him.

 

“I’m home for good, son,” said Dad as he held Luke tight. “I’m home for good.”

 

​​

VII​

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There were a lot of wonderful moments that unfolded on that happy day that Dad returned home safely from the war. Luke will never forget the look on Grandma’s face when they walked into Mark and John’s room. Dad picked Grandma up like a feather! Then he hugged her for a long time while Grandma just cried. Later she told Luke they were the happiest tears of her life!

 

Luke will also never forget the smile on Dad’s face when he saw Mark and John for the first time. He carefully picked them up, one by one, and kissed their little heads. Dad told Luke that he had received Mom’s letters and he really did know there were two babies after all!

 

Luke loved watching Grandma run to the telephone to call Grandpa at the sugar beet factory to tell him the happy news. She was so excited that she almost forgot the phone number! She got hold of Grandpa there since he hadn’t left for the hospital yet to visit Mr. Carter. Dad and Grandpa were soon talking and laughing on the phone together just like old times!

 

Then Dad told Luke that the two of them had to hurry over to Holy Family Church to find Mom. By the time they arrived, Mass had ended and they spied Mom in a pew in the middle of the Church. She was kneeling and praying with her head bowed. Dad whispered to Luke to stay where he was and watch.

 

Dad walked to the pew that was directly behind Mom and then went in and knelt behind her. Mom didn’t notice. Luke watched Dad bow his head and remain still for a few moments. Then he reached up and gently touched Mom’s shoulder. Mom turned around to see who touched her and the next thing Luke knew they were hugging and crying and laughing!

 

Luke was so happy! He looked up at the shiny gold tabernacle in the center of the sanctuary and prayed, “Thank you, Jesus! Thank you for bringing Dad home safely! I know that Blessed Mother didn’t forget to talk with you about taking care of my business! You always answer prayers in the very best way. Thanks for the greatest day ever!”

Two weeks later, on a beautiful sunny Saturday in April, Dad arranged for himself, Luke, Grandpa, Billy and Mr. Carter, with a bandaged arm, to be flown in a military jet to the city of Minot. Why?

 

"The Rough Rider Rodeo" was in town!

"The Angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, 

to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David,

and the virgin's name was Mary."

Luke 1:26-27 

 

P.S. Portrait of Sanctity

 

Father Vincent Capodanno

Father Capodanno was a Maryknoll missionary priest and United States Navy chaplain who was assigned to a Marine Corps infantry unit during the Vietnam War. He was killed while selflessly ministering to the men in the midst of a fierce battle that took place on September 4, 1967. 

Father was nicknamed "The Grunt Padre" because of the countless ways he cared for his "grunts." He was a constant source of strength, comfort, blessing and hope to those he served!

May we, like Father Capodanno, learn to "radiate Christ" to all we meet, knowing that "to those who love God all things work together for good." 

THE END 

 

Bonus Track!

 

The Angelus is one of the most beautiful prayers that could ever be prayed because it is remembering the Incarnation: the greatest thing that has ever happened in the history of the world! Luke prayed the Angelus at 12noon each day at school and it's also customary to pray the Angelus at 6am and 6pm.

 

In this live recording you will hear the Angelus spoken plus the CK101 singers singing "Ave Maria!" "Ave Maria!" meaning "Hail Mary!" in Latin. Listen to it often until you have the Angelus memorized. Then when it is 6am, 12noon or 6pm, you can pray it by heart just like Luke!

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Click the image of Jesus in the beautiful white Host to meet Gabe!