Are you faced with a desperate situation? The prayer to St. Jude (pictured at left) printed below helps 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!
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 one and some otherslisted 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.