THE LITANY
OF ST. JUDE

Painting of Saint Jude Thaddeus, by Georges de La Tour, courtesy of Wikipedia

The litany of St. Jude, a prayer for private devotions, gives us an intriguing look at this famous patron saint of desperate cases. Also known as Thaddeus, St. Jude (pictured above) was one of the 12 apostles. He is not to be confused with the infamous apostle, Judas Iscariot, our Lord’s betrayer.

When Christ appeared to the apostles after His resurrection he instructed them to “go into the whole world and preach the Gospel” (Mark 16:15). St. Jude, among the others, certainly took this to heart, as he proclaimed the good news from Judea to as far away as Persia!

Although details of his life are sketchy, both miracles, including curing the King of Edessa (in modern day Turkey) of leprosy, and conversions have been attributed to him. He is also said to have written the New Testament Epistle bearing his name, although this is not completely certain.

When the litany of St. Jude is prayed in a private setting by two or more people, the lines given in italics below are the responses to a leader.

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of heaven, Have mercy on us. (repeat after each line) God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God the Holy Ghost,
Holy Trinity, One God,
St. Jude, relative of Jesus and Mary,
Pray for us. (repeat after each line)
St. Jude, while on earth deemed worthy to see Jesus and Mary, and to enjoy their company,
St. Jude, raised to the dignity of an Apostle,
St. Jude, who had the honor of beholding thy Divine Master humble Himself to wash thy feet,
St. Jude, who at the Last Supper didst receive the Holy Eucharist from the hands of Jesus,
St. Jude, who after the profound grief which the death of thy beloved Master caused thee, had the consolation of beholding Him risen from the dead, and of assisting at His glorious Ascension,
St. Jude, who was filled with the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost,
St. Jude, who didst preach the Gospel in Persia,
St. Jude, who didst convert many people to the Faith,
St. Jude, who didst perform wonderful miracles in the power of the Holy Ghost,
St. Jude, who restored an idolatrous king to health of both
soul and body,
St. Jude, who didst impose silence on demons, and didst confound their oracles,
St. Jude, who foretold to a weak prince an honorable peace with his powerful enemy,
St. Jude, who didst take from deadly serpents the power
of injuring man,
St. Jude, who, disregarding the threats of the impious, didst courageously preach the doctrine of Christ,
St. Jude, who gloriously suffered martyrdom for the love of thy Divine Master,
Blessed Apostle, With confidence we invoke thee! (say 3 times)
St. Jude, help of the hopeless, Aid me in my distress! (say 3 times)
That by thine intercession, both priests and people of the Church may obtain an ardent zeal for the Faith of Jesus Christ,
We beseech thee, hear us. (repeat after each line)
That thou wouldst defend our Sovereign Pontiff and obtain peace and unity for Holy Church,
That all heathens and unbelievers may be converted to
the True Faith,
That faith, hope and charity may increase in our hearts,
That we may be delivered from all evil thoughts and from all the snares of the devil,
That thou wouldst vouchsafe to aid and protect all those
who honor thee,
That thou wouldst preserve us from all sin and from all
occasions of sin,
That thou wouldst defend us at the hour of death, against the fury of the devil and of his evil spirits,
Pray for us, that before death we may expiate all our sins by sincere repentance and the worthy reception of the holy sacraments,
Pray for us, that we may appease the Divine justice, and obtain a favorable judgment,
Pray for us, that we may be admitted into the company of the blessed, to rejoice in the presence of our God forever,
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.
V. St. Jude, pray for us,
R. And for all who invoke thy aid.

Let us pray. O God, Who through Thy blessed Apostle Jude Thaddeus hast brought us unto the knowledge of Thy Name, grant us both to celebrate his eternal glory by making progress in virtue, and by celebrating his glory advance in virtue. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who with Thee and the Holy Ghost art one God, now and forever. R. Amen.

As the litany of St. Jude mentions, the apostle is thought to have suffered a “glorious martyrdom” in Persia. Even though we don’t know much about his life, St. Jude has helped those invoking his aid in dire straits for centuries. St. Bernard considered him to be a “potent helper in every circumstance”.

The popularity of prayers such as this litany of St. Jude and others here shows how much help and hope he has given many people suffering trials and tribulations. Don’t be afraid to ask for his assistance!

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