Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Desperate times

Today is the Feast Day of St. Jude, (a.k.a., Jude Thaddeus or Jude of James) with whom I became great friends spending 9 days before each final exam week on my knees during law school, and whose friendship I have renewed along the way several times since then.
St. Jude is invoked in in desperate times, and for seemingly hopeless causes. This is due to the political climate in his day, as well as the fact that his name was often confused with Judas Iscariot, so I suppose if you had a go-to apostle, he wouldn't be the one and thus, you'd have to be pretty desperate if you were going down the ranks and calling on him! But his short chapter in the Bible packs a lot of punch.

The Epsitle of St. Jude addresses some interesting topics:
  • He warns and exhorts the faithful to be wary of false prophets and their heretical teachings

  • He advises that the heretics, wicked angels, and inhabitants of Sodom* will be met with terrible punishment in the end, as will those who fall away and follow them
  • He encourages Christians to remain faithful to the teachings of the Apostles, even in the face of persecution from without and contentious times within Christianity
  • He tells the faithful how to deal with those who have fallen away - with mercy - both by action (through aid and conversion) and in prayer (those whose obstinacy in sin is beyond the ability to help)
  • His doxology is considered to be the most beautiful in the Bible:

(24) To the one who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you unblemished and exultant, in the presence of his glory, (25) to the only God, our savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory, majesty, power, and authority from ages past, now, and for ages to come. Amen.

* Jude is the one who actually calls sodomy/sexual perversion a sin (verse 7), so you'll occasionally see "Jude 7" signs at anti-gay marriage/anti gay pride demonstrations.

Given the current state of things in our nation, what the polls are indicating for next week, well, could there BE a more appropriate Saint on the calendar today? Maybe it's a bit late to start a novena, but you could certainly add his novena prayer on at the end of your Rosary novena:
Most holy Apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the Church honors and invokes you universally, as the patron of difficult cases, of things almost despaired of,

Pray for me, I am so helpless and alone. Intercede with God for me that He bring visible and speedy help where help is almost despaired of. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and help of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and sufferings, particularly -(make your request here)- and that I may praise God with you and all the saints forever.

I promise, O Blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor granted me by God and to always honor you as my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to you. Amen

(Follow with an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be)
St. Jude is traditionally depicted holding a club (or an axe or halberd) to symbolize the means of his martyrdom, and/or with a flame over his head to depict his devotion to the Holy Spirit as expressed in his Epsitle. He is the unofficial Patron Saint of this blog and its author - I call this last prayer card "St. Jude By the Brook." :-)


Lola said...

My grandmother was devoted to St. Jude. She loved him.

Your posting reminded me of another friend in heaven to ask for help. Oh, and am I going to ask his help this week!

Anonymous said...

One of my son's middle name is Jude thanks to the kindness of St Jude.

Philangelus said...

St. Jude never was able to help me. That says something about me, huh? :-)

I think the epistle of Jude is interesting also because he juxtaposes the Genesis 6 angels with the Sodomites, so you have angels having sexual relations with humans in Genesis 6 and humans wanting to have sexual relations with angels in Sodom. Both ideas, he says, are non-starters (well, spiritually speaking) and they get condemned together.

Kit said...

Jane - I think the angel-human relations aspect is fascinating, too, and it goes beyond my knowledge base - were the angels assuming human form? What were the practical results of these unions? Ooohhhh...sounds like a very interesting topic for an authoress to explore....