Saint Jude Thaddeus
Patron Saint of Desperate Causes
What do we know about St. Jude? It seems there is still so much in question about St. Jude, also known as Jude Thaddeus, we believe he was brother to James and cousin to Jesus. Though the greater Christian world considers Jude a brother of Jesus Christ, and as a matter of practicality, he so closely resembles Jesus, you would think they were twins. (When I personally saw the plaster representations we've all seen so many times of him for the first time, I assumed that the likeness on the medallion he is always holding about chest high was of himself, turns out it is Jesus' likeness that he holds by his heart.) However, perhaps in an effort to portray Mary the mother of Jesus a perpetual Virgin, Catholic tradition holds that Jude was a cousin of Jesus. This of course lays open another whole subject about the siblings of Jesus, but for now we'll leave that to another page and another time.
Whether Jude was a brother or a cousin, the fact remains that he bore a close family resemblance to Jesus. Despite what we saw as kids on the Patty Duke show identical cousins are a genetic impossibility.
Judging from the prayers and novenas to St. Jude it appears he was the forgotten apostle for some time, and that the Catholic church has judged that to be due to the similarity in name to Judas Iscariot, the traitor who sold out Jesus to those who would crucify Him for thirty pieces of silver.
We know that Jude was an apostle and that he wrote the next to the last book of the Bible. One of the shortest books, the epistle is only one chapter, a mere 25 verses in which he touches on an amazing number of references to other works and Old Testament Scriptures. One of the peculiar things one notes is the amazing near word for word resemblance to portions of the second chapter of the second epistle of Peter. Makes one think that when they sat down to write to the early Christians, these leaders of the church had a reference document that they turned to for form and took quotes from when writing their letters to the early church. (Others have suggested that it may have been Peter who wrote both texts.)
The text itself is very revealing. A cursory reading reveals that Jude was a Biblical scholar, and fatherly in his protection of the early church. His basic theme in the epistle is that Christians must be wary of False Teachers. The mere 25 verses also reveal the nature of God and the wily nature of Satan.
Jude's warning about False teachers is not merely a warning about innocent Christians who could be duped by these teachers, but also a warning to those who would mislead others and the fate that will befall them. Matthew Henry's Commentary on Jude, which you can read at the Unbound Bible website, outlines the whole book like this:
The thing that most interested me in this one chapter are his Old Testament references which he uses to illustrate his points and provide historical reference to the nature and behavior of God.
My favorite discovery was in verse 9, "Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses,..." Jude goes on to make his point that Michael "durst not bring against him a railing accusation but said, The Lord rebuke thee." Sound advice when arguing with the devil. But the thing that caught me was a sort of between the lines thing in the first part of that verse. Namely the fact that Michael the archangel was in a dispute with Satan over the burial site of Moses. He makes reference to this as though everyone knows this story, so he doesn't need to go into much detail. I had to do further research to find out what this incident was all about. It seems that Satan wanted to make the location of Moses' burial site known to the Israelites so that he could tempt them to worship Moses.
Wow - Michael prevailed, Satan was prevented from revealing the burial place and "vented his rage in desperate blasphemy." (For a little perspective on this, one should consider that the biggest ongoing dangerous temptation for the Israelites was that they would fall into Idolatry. All the pagan religions worshiped idols and we remember the whole golden calf cult that Aaron tried to foster among them.)
I was heartened to know that Michael prevailed, that he didn't have to vent his spleen (if indeed archangels have spleens), but instead simply said "The Lord rebuke thee!" Cool (For more information on archangels and seraphim visit our friends at Seraphim )
What was even more revealing to me was about the nature of the devil. He's always been on the wrong side of History, but he's no dummy. (and frankly I think many of us underestimate his intelligence because he was stupid enough to take on God to begin with.) On the contrary he's insidiously clever, and is always thinking several chess moves ahead, always laying traps for the devout. Funny to think of him completely exasperated because his 'Tempt the Israelites to Venerate Moses Gambit' was nipped in the bud.
I would encourage you to visit the Unbound Bible site, and read these 25 verses for yourself. You'll find almost every version of the Bible there, as well as commentaries and countless translations. I've only touched lightly on a couple of gems in this chapter, a full reading of the text is bound to enrich and admonish you. Well worth the few minutes of your time.
Here's what CatholicForum.com has to say about Jude by way of their prayers and novenas to him:
Saint Jude Prayer #1
Most holy Apostle St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the name of the traitor who delivered the beloved Master into the hands of His enemies has caused you to be forgotten by many, but the Church honors and invokes you universally as the patron of hopeless cases, of things despaired of. Pray for me who am so miserable; make use, I implore you, of this particular privilege accorded to you, to bring visible and speedy help, where help is almost despaired of. Come to my assistance in this great need, that I may receive the consolations and succor of Heaven in all my necessities, tribulations and sufferings, particularly (here make your request), and that I may bless God with you and all the elect forever.
I promise you, O blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, and I will never cease to honor you as my special and powerful patron and to do all in my power to encourage devotion to you. Amen.
Saint Jude Prayer #2St. Jude, glorious Apostle, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the name of the traitor has caused you to be forgotten by many, but the true Church invokes you universally as the Patron of things despaired of; pray for me, that finally I may receive the consolations and the succor of Heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and sufferings, particularly (here make your request), and that I may bless God with the Elect throughout Eternity. Amen.
Novena to Saint Jude
(What's a Novena? its a prayer said which invokes a saint or the Mother of Christ and is said each day, 9 days in a row)To Saint Jude, Holy Saint Jude, Apostle and Martyr, great in virtue and rich in miracles, near kinsman of Jesus Christ, faithful intercessor of all who invoke your special patronage in time of need. To you I have recourse from the depths of my heart and humbly beg to whom God has given such great power to come to my assistance. Help me in my present and urgent petition, in return I promise to make your name known and cause you to be invoked. Saint Jude pray for us and all who invoke your aid. Amen.
Afterwards pray 3 Our Father's, 3 Hail Mary's, 3 Glory Be's (Those prayers are reprinted below, just in case you'd like to put what you've read in to practice)
The Lord's Prayer (Oratio Dominica)
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Hail Mary (Ave Maria)
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Glory to God in the highest
There are three book links on this page, each of these books is available both new and used on Amazon. They are:
*from catholic forum.com