Saint Jude: Losing causes and lost intentions
Father Richard Sorfleet
St. John Fisher Eucharistic Catholic Mission
Because of fear of addressing prayers through the wrong Jude [Judas Iscariot], note JN 14: 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, "Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?" NRSV
The ignored epistle writer was then eager to assist the faithful even in the most desperate of circumstances, and hence 'lost causes'.
Jude was martyred together with St Simon in Beirut [Berytus] in modern-day Lebanon in c65 CE.
The tradition of St. Jude being invoked by the hopeless, and thus becoming the patron saint of hope, was popularized due to the writings of St. Birgitta of Sweden 1303- 1373. Jesus told St. Birgitta in a vision, "In accordance with his surname, Thaddeus, the amiable or loving, he will show himself most willing to give help."
It is worth recalling her reflections on prayer:
Christ's words to his bride about the manner and the reverence she should maintain in prayer, and about the three kinds of people who serve God in this world.
I am your God who was crucified on the cross, true God and true man in one person, and who am present in the hands of the priest everyday. Whenever you offer any prayer to me, always end it with the desire that my will and not yours be done always. I do not hear your prayers on behalf of those already condemned. 2 Sometimes, too, you wish something to be done that goes against your salvation, which is why it is necessary for you to entrust your will to me, for I know all things and do not provide you with anything but what is beneficial. There are many who do not pray with the right intention, which is why they do not deserve to be heard. The Revelations of Saint Birgitta, Chapter 14 - Advice on Prayer
One recalls blues vocalist Janice Joplin's [d 1970 from a drug overdose at the age of 27] plea,
Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz ?
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz ?
Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. JN 16: 23 NRSV
Which laid bare the theological bankruptcy of the fundamentalist TV evangelists of the day re prayers without right intentions.
Our causes can become automatic lost causes when they are for the wrong reasons.
They are waterless clouds carried along by the winds; autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the deepest darkness has been reserved forever. JUDE 12b-13 NRSV
It is not the wrong Judas but rather wrong intentions at fault.
O Almighty God, who hast built thy Church upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the head corner-stone; Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their doctrine, that we may be made an holy temple acceptable unto thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. BCP
The Collect of the day with its grant us through Jesus Christ is the petition for God's Will to be done for our good, not a laundry list of our personal wants.
Deserving not to be heard is a tough message to take; nevertheless, it gives us pause to reflect and "collect" our thoughts awhile, before approach the throne of heavenly grace....with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. HEB 4: 16
Father Richard Sorfleet
The Eve of St Simon and St Jude 2016
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