St. Jude Thaddeus is often invoked as the Patron of Hopeless Causes. The Apostle Jude Thaddeus should not be confused with Judas, the betrayer of Jesus. Both men were named Judas but the Apostle Jude Thaddeus was with Jesus throughout His ministry, received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, preached the Word of God in Edessa, Armenia and Persia and then was martyred with St. Simon. In this lesson we will study the life of St. Jude as presented in the Gospels, in the writings of the Church Fathers, and in the Catechism. We will also learn several prayers to him and have an engaging activity in honor of St. Jude.
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King Abgar’s cure was just the beginning of St. Jude Thaddeus’s reputation as the Patron Saint of Hopeless Causes. Eusebius mentioned that St. Jude Thaddeus amazed the inhabitants of Edessa with his cures in God’s name. The King’s sickness was known to be incurable by human standards and his return to health would naturally be discussed throughout the area. The Image of Edessa was also deeply revered, especially in the East until the Sack of Constantinople in 1204 during the Fourth Crusade.
St. Jude Thaddeus
There were several saints who had a special reverence for St. Jude Thaddeus. St. Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373) was instructed to honor St. Jude Thaddeus during her visions of Jesus. In one, Jesus instructed her to erect altars for each of the Apostles. The fifth altar should be for St. Jude Thaddeus who had “purity of heart and bravely fought the devil” (St. Birgitta of Sweden, Revelations, Book IX, Extravagantes, Chapter 34, Line 13 http://www.umilta.net/bk9.html).
In another vision, Jesus instructs St. Bridget to pray to St. Jude Thaddeus confidently “In accordance with his surname, ‘Thaddeus’, the amicable, loving, he will show himself most willing to give help.” (Thorman. 1958. pg. 23). St. Bernard of Clairvaux honored a relic of St. Jude and requested it be buried with him. St. Bernard expressed a wish to not …
“…be entirely without him whom in life he had found to be a powerful protector of his purity, and a potent helper in every circumstance.” (1931. St. Jude Thaddeus: Helper in Desperate Cases. pg. 21)
Only St. John recorded the words of St. Jude Thaddeus and, although they are few, they do tell us that he wanted to spread the Gospel to others. After Pentecost, that is what he did. Despite the length of the journey, he went to King Abgar and healed him in the name of Jesus. He and St. Simon preached in Persia, converting many until their martyrdom. He wrote an Epistle warning the Church about false prophets—a warning fit for any age, including our own. As St. Jude Thaddeus trudged over many weary miles or preached or wrote, he would have remembered the words of Jesus at the Last Supper:
“If anyone love Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and will make Our abode with him.” (John 14:23)
St. Jude Thaddeus proved His love by his steadfast adherence to the words of Jesus. We may also prove our lov...
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