If you ask my daughter how many aunts and uncles she has, she might have difficulty giving you an exact count. Not because she doesn’t know who Mama and Daddy’s brothers and sisters (and spouses) are, but because we have lots of framily “aunts and uncles.”
You know – those people that are such good friends that they are almost family, and thereby are honorary aunts and uncles.
I think that concept could run over into saints. There are the saints with whom I have some sort of legitimate tie – St. Elizabeth of Hungary (my confirmation saint) and St. Joseph (whose feast day is my birthday), but there are also the saints to whom I pray for intercession because they have just become dear friends.
St. Jude falls into the latter category.
At some point in early adulthood, my mother gave me a St. Jude holy card. As the patron saint of hopeless causes, she had a certain devotion to him from various struggles in her own life, and that is how we were “introduced,” so to speak.
I have reached out to St. Jude for his intercession in so many situations that felt hopeless – when my father was diagnosed with cancer, when my company was acquired and job stability was nill, when we found out I was likely no longer pregnant with out third child. All of these situations felt utterly and completely without hope.
Certainly, I was praying to God the Father and to Jesus, but I was also asking my friend St. Jude to intercede as well.
I can’t say that all of those situations turned out the way that I would have liked, but isn’t that the mark of a good friend – that they can hear your woes, help you arrive at the truth, and comfort you – all in the same conversation?
St. Jude is known for preaching the gospel, even in difficult situations.
Combined with his patronage of hopeless causes, he seems like a perfect saint for intercessory prayers in modern times. Hopelessness can be such a pervasive feeling that it can almost seem to smother you in certain situations – whether it is politics, social media, or issues plaguing our church. What better way to combat that hopelessness than by reaching out to a framily saint?
Novena Prayer to St. Jude
Most holy Apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the Church honors and invokes you universally as the patron of hope. Please intercede on my behalf. Make use of that particular privilege given to you to bring hope, comfort, and help where they are needed most. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and help of heaven as I work with my challenges, particularly… . I praise God with you and all the saints forever. I promise, blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, to always honor you as my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to you. Amen.
(from The National Shrine of St. Jude)