Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sermon: Pray Without Ceasing

A sermon by Rev. Keenan Kelsey of Noe Valley Ministry, Presbyterian Church, San Francisco, California, U.S.A., given February 20, 2005 (source link here).

Thessalonians 5:14-24
And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the faint-hearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil. May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.


When I think of the phrase, Pray Ceaselessly, Pray without Ceasing, I think of Naomi Anna Greenleaf. Many of you know her – a former NVM member who lives in southern California, and visits occasionally. She writes us a letter each month. For a woman who feels like prayer is often an empty exercise for her, she is the most faithful and loving and determined pray-er I know! Here is an excerpt from her last letter to us...

I’m sure you’ve heard me complain over and again about my barren spiritual life, how in prayer and meditation I never hear anything by the rattle-clatter of my own mind, how I can’t seem to find the voice of God. Well, that all changed as I was repeating the Jesus prayer to my self. (I have undertaken the discipline of constant prayer that is, repeating a short prayer over and over as I go about my daily business. The Jesus Prayer has two forms: long form: “O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Short form: “O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy.” I use the short form.) As I was repeating the prayer, the thought came to me to pay closer attention to it. So I tried to imagine Jesus listening to me as I prayed. As I did so, I suddenly became very aware of my physical body. This might not seem remarkable to you, but I happen to be a person who lives “in the head” most of the time, and rarely do I feel my body…So this new sensation gave me a lot of joy…I thought to myself, “What a surprise! Is this what it’s like to contact Christ, am I finally learning to pray?” And I was very pleased and happy and continued praying. Then came a distraction, a temptation.”

Here Naomi Anna describes a desire to taste a Christmas gift of homemade marmalade. She got all involved in trying to get the top off “To make a long story short, I finally got the jar open and tasted the marmalade and then put it away. Then I tried to go back to my prayer. Nothing happened. I couldn’t get connected. “My God” I thought, “What have I done? Have I traded Christ for a spoonful of marmalade?” Well I know for a fact that Christ would not abandon me just because I was straying, It was I who had abandoned him. The connection was still very tender…I felt sure if I was patient, persevering, I would get the feeling back. But that was two weeks ago. But do you want to know something? As I was sitting here, writing this letter to you, the feeling started to come back…Maybe it’s true that our connections with one another can lead us to God. Maybe it’s high time I forgive myself, and get back to praying…”

"Pray ceaselessly" says Paul. This is the center phrase of Paul’s final instruction in his first letter to the church in Thessalonica. This was the capital city in Macedonia, a bustling seaport, with a new church largely gentile in membership. He wrote to give the new converts both instruction and encouragement in their trials. And he reminds them, Pray without ceasing.

Indeed, this is the center of Paul’s own theology, Paul’s way of being in the world. Every letter he wrote begins with thanksgiving and prayer for the church members and their work. He begins this letter to Thessalonians: “We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers.”

Paul exhorts prayer in almost every epistle – in Romans: “Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.” In First Corinthians: “What should I do then? I will pray with the spirit, but I will pray with the mind also.” In Ephesians: “Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication.” In Colossians: “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray for us as well that God will open to us a door for the word, that we may declare the mystery of Christ…” To the Philippians: “My prayer for you is that you will have still more love - a love that is full of knowledge and wise insight.” And my very favorite expression of prayer, again in Romans: “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.”

Sighs too deep for words.

Other people have used other words to describe this practice to which we are called, this discipline, this attitude, which is meant to hold, inform, sanctify, enrich, guide our lives. Karl Rahner said, “When we are in awe and love, in God’s presence, we are praying.”

Our very reformed John Calvin said, “Prayer is my flaming heart, as I offer it to God.”

Thomas Merton wrote: “The great thing in prayer is not to pray, but to go directly to God... at the very root of your existence, you are inconstant and immediate contact with the infinite power of God... Prayer is the movement of trust, of gratitude, of adoration, or of sorrow, that places us before God, seeing both God and ourselves in the light of God’s infinite truth, and moves us to ask God for the mercy, the spiritual strength, the material help, that we all need."

When asked about prayer, Albert Einstein said that..."the most beautiful thing we can experience is the mystery.”

And none other than African American Opera Diva Marian Anderson said, “Prayer begins where human capacity ends.” Prayer begins where human capacity ends.”

Prayer is our response to God’s initiative. It is dialogue rather than monologue.

One of the reasons Jesus prayed confidently was because He saw prayer as friendship with God. For me, prayer is intimacy with God -- some sort of divine/human dynamic that makes a difference, a way through my fears, a way to claim my faith. My current way of praying constantly is the recurring phrase, “Don’t leave me now, God!”

I have learned the hard way that prayer is not a magical means by which we get God to do what we want. I imagine a major league baseball pitcher who prays that God will help him "get ‘em out"… and a player on an opposing team who prays that God will help him "get a hit.” How confusing this must be to God when they face each other!

Nor is there a single special way to pray that guarantees the answer or action we want. In a Peanuts cartoon, Charlie Brown is kneeling beside his bed for prayer. Suddenly he says to Lucy, "I think I’ve made a new theological discovery, a real breakthrough. If you hold your hands upside down, you get the opposite of what you pray for."

Prayer is more of an inner openness to God that allows divine power to be released in us. Ultimately, perhaps, the power of prayer is not that we succeed in changing God, but that God succeeds in changing us.

I knew young man who suffered from Lou Gehrig’s Disease, or ALS. I suppose that this is one of the most debilitating illnesses known. Over a period of time, all of the muscles of the body become useless. But, the mind remains clear and sharp - trapped in a body that cannot move.

Of course, this man reacted the way you or I would expect. He was bitter and angry at what was happening to him. When he did pray, his prayers were questions that asked, "Why me, God? Why is this happening to me?" He prayed angry tirades, cursing God ... cursing his illness. And who could blame him? He could no longer care for himself. He could no longer sit up without assistance.

After he finished his angry tirade his pastor told him, "Don’t worry! You didn’t shock me or God." A serious look crossed his face and he said, "I’ve tried to pray. I’ve asked God to cure me, but I keep getting worse."

"Perhaps," the pastor said, "you are praying the wrong prayer. The promise of God is not that he will magically remove our problems but that he will give us strength in the midst of our problems. Why don’t you start praying for strength to deal with your illness and strength to enjoy the life you have?"

I would be lying if I said change was immediate. But, gradually a change took place. The bitterness and anger he felt gave way to acceptance. But, the surprise was that he saw an avenue of ministry. With a pencil between his teeth, he began typing out notes to people who were going through problems. They were not long, just short, simple notes telling others that someone was thinking about them and praying for them. Shortly before his illness claimed his life, he told one of the members of his family, "I have enjoyed my life to the end."

Prayer is being in communion with God, not something to be used when needs arise. Prayer is being in relationship so that God can speak to us. Prayer is finding peace in the midst of troubles, calm in the midst of calamity, and love in the midst of our loneliness.

Prayer requires trust, faith in this magnificent yet intimate God. And prayer always makes a difference, sometimes subtle sometimes dramatic. Our Hebrew reading was about Abram and Sarai and Terah before them; they were people of prayer, people of faith. They left behind all they knew to venture out into the unknown. They risked everything to follow a God they hardly knew. As our ancestors in the faith, Abraham and Sarah leave us a legacy of prayer and faith that is daring and action-filled. This is the heritage from which we spring -- to dare to leave barrenness behind, to risk the unknown, to live faith as a verb, to trust in promises fulfilled. The God who makes promises is a responder to prayers, a giver of gifts that are free to those willing to receive them in faith.

Today, let us pray. Let us begin where Paul begins each letter, probably each day. Let us begin where Jesus always seemed to begin every venture and effort, with prayer. It is one of the Lenten disciplines espoused by the religious for years. But it is more than just a discipline. It is a way of life.

Soon we will call up three prayer teams, who will go to the far corners and offer themselves to pray with and for you. They will serve as a vehicle, a way to speak and enhance your own prayers as they are offered to God. They will then offer you an anointing. You also have prayer crosses in your bulletins. There are pens at the back, you are asked to write your deepest desires in prayer and place them on our Lenten cross.

And finally, the offering plates are here on the communion table. We ask you to bring forward offerings, tithes, gifts, and leave them with your own sense of thanksgiving, and a prayer for what they might accomplish in the world.

And as you pray, remember Naomi Anna. She would tell you she is living proof that miracles happen, through prayer. Don’t let her down!

AMEN

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Patron Saint of the Impossible

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Legend has it that St. Jude was born into a Jewish family in Paneas, a town in the Galilee region of ancient Palestine, the same area that Jesus grew up in.  He probably spoke Greek and Aramaic, like many people in that area, and he was a farmer by trade. Jude was described by St. Matthew (13:55) as being one of the “brethren” of Jesus, probably meaning a cousin since the Hebrew word for “brethren” indicates a blood relationship.  His mother, Mary, was referred to as a cousin of Jesus’ mother Mary, while his father, Cleophas, was the brother of St. Joseph.
Jude had several brothers, including St. James, who was another of the original Apostles. His own first name, “Jude”, means giver of joy, while “Thaddeus”, another name he was called, means generous and kind.
Jude was called to be one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ.  He began preaching the Good News of Jesus to Jews throughout Galilee, Samaria, and Judea.  Around 37 A.D., St. Jude went to Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq) and became a leader of the Church of The East that St. Thomas established there.  St. Jude traveled throughout Mesopotamia, Libya, Turkey, and Persia with St. Simon, preaching and converting many people to Christianity.  He was credited with helping the early creation of the Armenian Church and other places beyond the borders of the Roman Empire.
Around the year 60 A.D., St. Jude wrote a Gospel letter to recent Christian converts in Eastern churches who were under persecution.  In it, he warned them against the pseudo-teachers of the day who were spreading false ideas about the early Christian faith.  He encouraged them to persevere in the face of the harsh, difficult circumstances they were in, just as their forefathers had done before them.  He exhorted them to keep their faith and to stay in the love of God as they had been taught.  His inspirational support of these early believers led to him becoming the patron saint of desperate causes.
St. Jude ThaddeusSt. Jude is traditionally depicted carrying the image of Jesus in his hand.  This depiction comes from a Biblical story in which King Abgar of Edessa (a city located in what is now southeast Turkey) asked Jesus to cure him of leprosy and sent an artist to bring him a drawing of Jesus.  Impressed with Abgar’s great faith, Jesus pressed his face into a cloth and gave it to St. Jude to take to Abgar.  Upon seeing Jesus’ image, The King was cured and he converted to Christianity along with most of the people under his rule.
In addition to the image of Christ, St. Jude is often shown in paintings with a flame around his head. This represents his presence at Pentecost, when he received the Holy Spirit with the other apostles.
St. Jude died a martyr of God in Persia or Syria around 65 A.D.  After his death, his body was brought back to Rome and was placed in a crypt beneath St. Peter’s Basilica.  His last mortal remains still lie there today.  After his martyrdom, pilgrims came to his grave to pray, and many of them experienced the powerful intercessions of St. Jude.  This is how he got the title, “The Saint for the Hopeless and the Despaired”.  St. Bridget of Sweden and St. Bernard had visions from God asking each to accept St. Jude as “The Patron Saint of the Impossible”.  St. Jude Shrine in Baltimore has arranged for a daily Mass to be celebrated on the altar above the tomb for the intentions of those whose names are registered at the Shrine.  Pope Paul III, in a brief dated September 22nd, 1543, granted a plenary indulgence to all who would visit his tomb on the day commemorating his death, October 28th, the day of his feast.
Today, more than ever before, the merit of Jude Thaddeus is being revived in people’s minds and hearts.  In return, he is proving himself to be more than an ordinary advocate, taking special delight in coming to the aid of persons in desperate need.  No petition seems too great for him. In response to the many requests and petitions received, the Pallottines offer daily prayers and bear witness to the many favors received through St. Jude’s intercession.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Servant of Jesus Christ, St. Jude

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Saint Jude regarded himself as having one goal, one distinction in life, and this was to be permanently committed to the service of Jesus Christ. This permanent commitment ultimately rewarded Jude with the crown of martyrdom.

When Jude introduces himself, he also addresses himself to his fellow Christians who also are called, loved, and kept by Jesus Christ. Now a person can be called to an office, a duty, or a responsibility; or he may be invited to a party or some festive occasion; or as on other occasions a person can be called to render a judgment on oneself. So Jude tells us first he is called to be an Apostle, and how joyful this makes him, even though he is ever mindful of the saying of Christ: "To whom much is given, much is expected." Jude is ready to render judgment of himself.

Like Jude, every Christian who is committed to Christ has a responsibility, accompanied by the joy of the call, and must always be ready to meet judgment of himself because of the talents that God gave him.

As the knowledge of being loved by God grows in the Christian, Jude shows how the psychology of the Christian changes: he no longer fears God. Jude is quite conscious of this fact. The manifestation of God's love is made known in the merciful coming of the Saviour. And the coming of the Lord taught Jude that God is a Father who desires that His children associate with His life and share it intimately.

In telling us that a Christian is one who is kept by Christ, Jude implies that a Christian is never alone. Christ is always watching over His own.

Jude teaches that the Lord protects us, as each person encounters the drudgery, despair, and disillusionment of daily life. Jude seems to be telling us much about himself, and every follower of Christ. Jude reminds us that those who are called --those dear to God the Father-- are kept safe for Jesus Christ.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Prayer to St. Jude

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Prayer to Saint Jude
(To be said when problems arise or when one seems to be deprived of all visible help, or for cases almost despaired of.)

Most holy Apostle St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the Church honors and invokes you universally as the patron of hopeless cases, of things despaired of. Pray for me, I am so helpless and alone; 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), so 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.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

About St. Jude

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The tradition of devotion to St. Jude goes beyond a simple Bible story; in fact, it is a reflection of the ability of ordinary people to call upon their powerful faith to triumph over seemingly impossible odds in their daily lives.

Legend has it that St. Jude was born into a Jewish family in  Paneas, a town in the Galilee portion of ancient Palestine, the same region that Jesus grew up in. He probably spoke Greek and Aramaic, like many of his contemporaries in that area, and he was a farmer (as many of his family were) by trade.

Jude was described by St. Matthew (13:55) as being one of the "brethren" of Jesus, probably meaning a cousin since the Hebrew word for "brethren" indicates a blood relationship. His mother, Mary, was referred to as a cousin of Jesus' mother Mary, while his father, Cleophas, was the brother of St. Joseph.

Jude had several brothers, including St. James, who was another of the original Apostles. His own first name, "Jude", means giver of joy, while "Thaddeus",  another name he was called, means generous and kind.

He was later married, had at least one child, and there are references to his grandchildren living as late as 95 A.D.

Jude was then called to be one of Jesus 12 Apostles, and began preaching the Good News of Jesus to Jews throughout Galilee, Samaria, and Judea.

St. Jude went to Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq) around 37 A.D., and became a leader of the Church of The East that St. Thomas established there.  For a fascinating account of St. Jude's influence in that region, read my article The St. Jude- Iraq Connection.

St. Jude was a true internationalist, traveling throughout Mesopotamia, Libya, Turkey, and Persia with St. Simon, preaching and converting many people to Christianity.  He was credited with helping the early creation of the Armenian church, and other places beyond the borders of the Roman Empire.

Around the year 60 A.D., St. Jude wrote a Gospel letter to recent Christian converts in Eastern churches who were under persecution.  In it, he warned them against the pseudo-teachers of the day who were spreading false ideas about the early Christian faith.   He encouraged them to persevere in the face of the harsh, difficult circumstances they were in, just as their forefathers had done before them. He exhorted them to keep their faith and to stay in the love of God as they had been taught. His inspirational support of these early believers led to him becoming the patron saint of desperate cases.

He is believed to have been martyred in Persia or Syria around 65 A.D. The axe or club that he is often shown holding in pictures symbolizes the way in which he was killed. Truly, he paid the ultimate price for his faith.  After his death his body was brought back to Rome and was placed in a crypt beneath St. Peter's Basilica, which people visit to this day

St. Jude is traditionally depicted carrying the image of Jesus in his hand or close to his chest. This idea comes from a Biblical story in which King Abgar of Edessa (a city located in what is now southeast Turkey) asked Jesus to cure him of leprosy and sent an artist to bring him a drawing of Jesus. Impressed with Abgar's great faith, Jesus pressed his face into a cloth and gave it to St. Jude to take to Abgar. Upon seeing Jesus' image, The King was cured and he converted to Christianity along with most of the people under his rule. This cloth is believed to be the famous Shroud of Jesus which is currently on display in Turin, Italy.

St. Jude is often shown in paintings with a flame around his head.  This represents his presence at Pentecost, when he received the Holy Spirit with the other apostles.

In the Middle Ages, St. Bernard of Clairvaux (France) was a renowned devotee of St. Jude, as was St. Bridget of Sweden who, in a vision, was encouraged by Jesus to turn to St. Jude with faith and confidence. He told her that, in accordance with Jude's surname, Thaddeus (which means generous, courageous, and kind), "he will show himself to be the most willing to give you help."

Devotion to St. Jude began again in earnest in the 1800's, starting in Italy and Spain, spreading to South America, and finally to the U.S. (originally in the Chicago area) in the 1920's.  Novena prayers to St. Jude helped people, especially newly-arrived immigrants from Europe, deal with the pressures caused by the Great Depression, Second World War, and the changing workplace and family life.

Why has devotion to St. Jude continued to grow to the present day?

In spite of (or possibly because of) all the advances human society has made, human beings find themselves under incredible stress and have difficulty coping at one time or another.  Increasingly, people are finding that technology and other man-made innovations are unable to provide comfort and hope when it is truly needed, so millions of people around the world turn to St. Jude when they feel the most helpless and alone. St. Jude has proven to be a true friend and a beacon of hope to those who call on him--always willing to help and seek help no matter how desperate the need. And in today's tumultuous times, we need him more than ever.  We celebrate his feast day on October 28.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Prayer to St. Jude

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Are you faced with a desperate situation? The prayers to St. Jude (pictured at left) printed below help remind us that nothing is impossible with God, even help when you’re at your wit’s end. Considering that thanksgiving notes appear in newspapers to this patron saint of desperate cases, praying to him must have some effect!

This prayer, courtesy of the Dominican Shrine of Saint Jude Dominican Friars, is wonderfully straightforward:

Most holy Apostle, Saint Jude Thaddeus, friend of Jesus, I place myself in your care at this difficult time. Help me know that I need not face my troubles alone. Please join me in my need, asking God to send me: consolation in my sorrow, courage in my fear, and healing in the midst of my suffering. Ask our loving Lord to fill me with the grace to accept whatever may lie ahead for me and my loved ones, and to strengthen my faith in God's healing powers. Thank you, Saint Jude Thaddeus, for the promise of hope you hold out to all who believe, and inspire me to give this gift of hope to others as it has been given to me.

V. Saint Jude, Apostle of Hope
R. Pray for us!

St. Jude was one of the twelve Apostles. Mark’s (3:18) and Matthew’s (10:3) gospels refer to him as Thaddeus (a surname meaning “amiable or “loving”), possibly in part to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot, our Lord’s betrayer! John’s gospel refers to him in the last supper as “Judas… not the Iscariot” (14:22).

The evangelist no doubt wanted to make sure that he would not be confused with the man Jesus Himself referred to as the “son of perdition” in John 17:11!

This prayer to St. Jude touches on that:

Oh glorious apostle St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the name of the traitor who delivered thy beloved Master into the hands of His enemies has caused thee to be forgotten by many, but the Church honors and invokes thee universally as the patron of hopeless cases--of things despaired of. Pray for me who am so miserable; make use, I implore thee, of that particular privilege accorded thee of bringing 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 (mention your request), and that I may bless God with thee and all the elect throughout eternity. I promise thee, O blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, and I will never cease to honor thee as my special and powerful patron, and to do all in my power to encourage devotion to thee. Amen

St. Jude is known as the brother of Saint James the Less. According to tradition, he wrote the epistle bearing his name in the New Testament as well, although this is not as certain.

In his letter he stressed having faith in apostolic teachings in the midst of heresies through fraternal charity, prayer, and loving obedience to God. According to the historian Eusebius he assisted in his brother St. Simeon’s election as Bishop of Jerusalem in 62 A.D.

St. Jude is said to have preached the gospel in such regions as Judea, Samaria, Libya, and Mesopotamia, before suffering martyrdom in Armenia, which was then part of Persia. According to one account, he is said to have cured the King of Edessa’s leprosy in Mesopotamia with an image of Jesus’s face that our Lord had pressed on a cloth.

The king was so impressed he converted to Christianity, along with much of his family and kingdom. Talk about a picture being worth a thousand words! St. Jude converted countless others to the faith as well.

He is often shown in drawings, like the one above, holding an image of Jesus in one hand and a club (a symbol of his martyrdom) in the other. Often the Holy Spirit is seen over his head as a tongue of fire (in remembrance of Pentecost when He came upon the apostles).

These two prayers to St. Jude, like the previous ones and some others listed here can be used as a novena (a prayer said for nine consecutive days).

O Holy St Jude!
Apostle and Martyr,
great in virtue and rich in miracles,
near kinsman of Jesus Christ,
faithful intercessor for all who invoke you,
special patron in time of need;
to you I have recourse from the depth of my heart,
and humbly beg you,
to whom God has given such great power,
to come to my assistance;
help me now in my urgent need and grant my earnest petition.
I will never forget thy graces and favors you obtain for me
and I will do my utmost to spread devotion to you. Amen.

St. Jude, pray for us and all who honor thee and invoke thy aid.
(Say 3 Our Father's, 3 Hail Mary’s, and 3 Glory Be’s after this.)

Note that in addition to saying a prayer to St. Jude, we can invoke his aid by offering Holy Masses and Communions in his honor. We can also engage in charitable works in his name.

As St. Leo once said “Prayer has the greatest efficacy to obtain favors from God when it is supported by works of mercy.” Don’t forget to help someone in need as part of your prayer to St. Jude.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Novena in Honor of Saint Jude Thaddeus

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October 28

Glorious Saint Jude Thaddeus, by those sublime privileges with which you were adorned in your lifetime, namely, your relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh, and your vocation to be an Apostle, and by that glory which now is yours in heaven as the reward of your apostolic labors and your martyrdom, obtain for me from the Giver of every good and perfect gift all the graces of which I stand in need: (Mention your request).

May I treasure up in my heart the divinely inspired doctrines that you have given us in your Epistle: to build my edifice of holiness upon our most holy faith, by praying for the grace of the Holy Spirit; to keep myself in the love of God, looking for the mercy of Jesus Christ unto eternal life; to strive by all means to help those who go astray.

May I thus praise the glory and majesty, the dominion and power of Him who is able to keep me without sin and to present me spotless with great joy at the coming of our Divine Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Consecration to Saint Jude

Saint Jude, Apostle of Christ and glorious martyr, I desire to honor you with a special devotion. I choose you as my patron and protector. To you I entrust my soul and my body, all my spiritual and temporal interests, as well as those of my family. To you I consecrate my mind so that in all things it may be enlightened by faith; my heart so that you may keep it pure and fill it with love for Jesus and Mary; my will so that, like yours, it may always be one with the Will of God.

I beg you to help me to master my evil inclinations and temptations and to avoid all occasions of sin. Obtain for me the grace of never offending God, of fulfilling faithfully all the duties of my state of life, and of practicing all those virtues that are needful for my salvation.

Pray for me, my holy patron and helper, so that, being inspired by your example and assisted by your prayers, I may live a holy life, die a happy death, and attain to the glory of heaven, there to love and thank God forever. Amen.

Prayer

O God, you made your Name known to us through the Apostles. By the intercession of Saint Jude, let your Church continue to grow with an increased number of believers. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Short Biography of St. Jude Thaddeus Patron Saint of Lost Causes and Desperate Cases

Source: A Short Biography of St. Jude Thaddeus Patron Saint of Lost Causes and Desperate Cases

Saint Jude is known as the patron of lost causes and desperate cases, and the patron saint of hospitals. Jude was one of Jesus’ twelve original apostles, though little specific information is known about his life. His lineage is documented as a direct relative of Jesus, a cousin. There are certainly many sources of shared personal history, for instance any reference in the New Testament to “the apostles” would presumably include him. Thus we can conclude he was in the boat, on the hillside, in Jerusalem, at the Last Supper, etc.

Saint Jude is actually a saint known by two names, Jude and/or Thaddeus. The name "Thaddeus" means sweetness and gentleness of character. He is not the traitor Judas Iscariot, and he faithfully followed Jesus until his crucifixion, and then later set out to evangelize.

October 28th is the Roman Catholic day of his feast. He is also venerated as a saint in the Anglican Church, Eastern Catholic Churches, Eastern Orthodox Church and the Coptic Christian Church.

Written history is not clear concerning Jude Thaddeus’ birth and early years, so modern knowledge is a by-product of legend. St. Jude was born in the northern region of Galilee which today is northern Israel. The town at the time was known as Paneas but the name was changed to Caesarea Philippi and today is named Banyas. His father was Clopas, brother of St. Joseph, and his mother Mary was a cousin of the Virgin Mary. This fact allows the conclusion that St. Jude was a contemporary of Jesus and most likely in roughly the same age group. He was a farmer by occupation and like most people in that time and that region probably bilingual, speaking Greek and Aramaic. St. Hegesippus, an historian of the early years of the church, tells of an incident involving two grandsons of St. Jude, so we know he was married and that he had at least one child. There are some biblical scholars that have stated St. Jude was the bridegroom at the Cana wedding, though this is not a proven fact.

St. Jude who was one of the first disciples to join Jesus and was his true believer through the Crucifixion and afterward, until his own death.

Who was St. Jude Saint Jude the Apostle

The apostles, Saint Jude Thaddeus and Apostle Bartholomew were the first to bring Christianity to the present day nation of Armenia.

St. Thomas, acting under divine guidance, dispatched St. Jude to the city of Edessa, Turkey to preach on the teachings of Jesus Christ. He also preached and taught in Turkey, Syria, Libya, Samaria, Judea and Palestine.

We know of one incident and one written document from St. Jude. Together, these two constitute the foundation of Christianity. St. Jude is the apostle at the Last Supper who asked Jesus why he chose to reveal himself only to his disciples. Jesus’ reply, "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him."

There is one written document from this saint, The Letter of St. Jude. The importance and impact of this letter cannot be overstated, it is one of the seven letters of the Catholic faith. Using a direct no nonsense approach, he warns Christians against the unbelievers with clear charges such as licentiousness, perversion, sexual immorality, unnatural lust, slanderers of holy men, rejection of authority and denial of Jesus Christ.

St. Jude was murdered by an angry pagan mob in Beirut, Lebanon in 65 A.D.