St. Jude Thaddeus
Helper in Desperate Cases
But you, my beloved, building yourselves upon your most holy faith, praying
in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy
of our Lord Jesus Christ, unto life everlasting. Jude 1:20-21
Amen, amen I say to you, he that believeth in me, the works that I do,
he also shall do; and greater than these shall he do. John 14:12
Then calling together the twelve apostles, he gave them power and authority
over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom
of God, and to heal the sick. Luke 9:1-2
And he sent them two and two before his face into every city and place
whither he himself was to come. And he said to them: The harvest indeed is great,
but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he
send labourers into his harvest. Luke 10:1-2
Devotion to the holy Apostles should be cherished because they were the
first teachers of our Faith. During the Middle Ages the Apostles were held in
high veneration, but in our materialistic age, this devotion has greatly declined,
though veneration of St. Jude Thaddeus has been revived in recent years. St.
Jude is called the Patron of Hopeless and Desperate Cases, owing to the singular
help he has obtained for his clients in grave necessities. This holy Apostle
bears the surname Thaddeus (meaning amiable or loving),
which distinguishes him from Judas Iscariot, the traitor. Besides the Apostle
James the Less, Jude had two other brothers who, together with himself, are
called the brethren of Jesus, which in Hebrew signifies a near relationship.
His father was Cleophas, who was probably a brother of St. Joseph. Because of
his fearless confession of the Resurrection of Christ, Cleophas was put to death
by the Jews and thus won the crown of martyrdom. The mother of our Apostle was
Mary of Cleophas, possibly a cousin of the Blessed Virgin, who with Mary stood
by the Cross of Jesus on Calvary. In his boyhood, Jude and his brothers must
have been close companions of Jesus. No mention is made of Judes occupation
before his call to the apostolate, but we may judge that he was a farmer, since
he belonged to the tribe of Juda, which was devoted to farming. From the time
Jude was chosen to be an Apostle, he labored with untiring zeal, particularly
for the conversion of the Gentiles.
Cure of the King of Edessa
St. Jude is usually represented wearing a picture of Our Lord on his breast.
This custom stems from the following legend:
Abgar, King of Edessa (the modern-day city of Urfa in Turkey), who was afflicted
with leprosy, hearing of Our Lords miracles, sent a messenger begging
Jesus to come and cure him. Being unable, at the time, to gratify his request,
Our Lord sent word that He would send someone later to cure him. The King,
anxious at least to have an image of the great wonder-worker, sent an artist
to make a portrait of Him: but the artist, blinded by the splendor of our
Saviours face, was unable to carry out his mission. At this, Our Lord,
in loving compassion, pressed a cloth to His face and impressed His features
upon it. The artist then carried this to his sovereign, who received it with
great joy. When St. Jude went to Edessa after Our Lords Ascension, he
healed Abgar of the frightful disease and, by his eloquent presentation of
the truths of the Gospel, converted the King and his whole household, as well
as many of his subjects.
Conversion of Barbarians
After firmly establishing the Church in Edessa, St. Jude visited the whole
of Mesopotamia, preaching the Gospel and everywhere increasing the number
of the faithful. Having returned to Jerusalem for the council of the Apostles,
he afterward joined St. Simon in Libya, where the two Apostles spread the
light of the Gospel. Then they set out for Persia, where God gave them an
abundant harvest. It is impossible to compute the number converted or to describe
the change in the manners and customs of that savage people. Before the arrival
of the two Apostles, the laws and habits of the Persians were unjust and wicked.
The marriage tie was totally disregarded; the dead were thrown into the fields
to become the food of wild beasts; and other barbarities prevailed. Taught
by the Apostles the noble and generous sentiments of the True Religion, these
people soon became the admiration of other Christians. Barbarity was replaced
by gentleness, cruelty by Christian charity, impiety by evangelical perfection.
Victory over the Persian Magicians
In Persia, the two Apostles were continually thwarted in their work by two magicians
named Zaroes and Arfaxat. By their art and incantations, these magicians tried
to uphold the worship of idols. At every step they confronted the Apostles and
denounced them as impostors, but the two Saints invariably exposed their tricks
and impostures. In the presence of the two holy Apostles, the idols refused
to answer their false priests. When the Apostles, in the name of God, commanded
the idols to speak, they were forced to acknowledge the Saints as the disciples
of the true God. The Saints ordered the demons inhabiting the idols to quit
them, which they did, howling with rage and shattering the images. The two Apostles
set out for the camp of Baradach, commander-in-chief of the Persian army, where
they were met by the same magicians, Zaroes and Arfaxat. The Persians were then
preparing to march against an army from India, and Baradach was anxious to know
what the outcome of the war would be. We know you are more powerful than
our gods, he said to the Apostles, for at your approach the idols
fell to the ground. After the war is over, we will gladly listen to your teaching.
Tell us what the result of this war will be. The Apostles commanded the
demons to answer. Questioned by their priests, the idols replied that the war
would be long and many would perish. Fear not, O Prince, your gods lie!
joyfully exclaimed the two Apostles. Tomorrow, at this same hour, ambassadors
will arrive from your enemy to conclude negotiations for peace. On the
following day the ambassadors from India arrived at the hour designated by the
two Saints, and terms of peace were agreed upon. The Prince, indignant at the
false prophecies of the wicked magicians, ordered them to be burned alive, and
likewise all who maligned the holy Apostles. But Simon and Jude interceded with
the commander, and the punishment was averted. Filled with admiration for the
two Apostles, Prince Baradach conducted them to the King of Persia. Here also
they performed miracles to frustrate the wicked designs of the same magicians,
who had preceded them there.
Taken from St
Jude Thaddeus by TAN Books
& Publishers, Inc.
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