Friday, October 28, 2011

Feast Day: Sts. Jude and Simon, Apostles and Martyrs

Simon, called the Zealot to distinguish him from the apostle whom Jesus renamed Peter, was one of the original 12 apostles. He was sent to spread the Gospel in Egypt, Persia and Mesopotamia. Jude, also an apostle, was a nephew of Mary and Joseph and preached with St. Simon. St. Jude was a healer and an exorcist; he is now best known as the patron saint of lost or impossible causes. Tradition teaches that both Simon and Jude were martyred, although the exact places of their martyrdoms are unknown.

Saint Simon and Saint Jude ... you carried the good news of Jesus throughout the eastern regions with no thought to your own safety ... please help us to be as fearless in our daily living of the Gospel. Saints Simon and Jude, pray for us!
Little is known of these two Apostles, whose names are always linked in the Gospel accounts, St. Simon was surnamed the Zealot for his rigid adherence to the Jewish law and to the Canaanite law. He was one of the original followers of Christ. Western tradition is that he preached in Egypt and then went to Persia with St. Jude, where both suffered martyrdom. Eastern tradition says Simon died peacefully at Edessa.

Jude is so named by Luke and Acts, while Matthew and Mark call him Thaddeus. St. Jude, known as Thaddaeus, was a brother of St. James the Less, and a relative of Our Saviour. St. Jude was one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus. He is not mentioned elsewhere in the Gospels, except, of course, where all the apostles are mentioned. He is an author of an epistle (letter) to the Churches of the East, particularly the Jewish converts, directed against the heresies of the Simonians, Nicolaites, and Gnostics. This Apostle is said to have suffered martyrdom along with St. Simon in Armenia, which was then subject to Persia. However, scholars debate whether or not he is the author of the Letter of Jude. Actually, Jude had the same name as Judas Iscariot. Evidently because of the disgrace of that name, it was shortened to "Jude" in English. Ancient writers tell us that he preached the Gospel in Judea, Samaria, Idumaea, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Lybia. According to Eusebius, he returned to Jerusalem in the year 62, and assisted at the election of his brother, St. Simeon, as Bishop of Jerusalem.
Saint Jude the Apostle

Apostle Jude, by Anthonis van Dyck
Apostle and Martyr
Born1st century AD
Roman Province of Galilee
Died1st century AD
Roman Province of Syria
Honored inRoman Catholic ChurchEastern Orthodox ChurchesEastern Catholic ChurchesChurch of the EastCoptic ChurchAnglican CommunionLutheranism , Islamand Philippine Independent Church
MajorshrineSaint Peter's, RomeReims,Toulouse, France
FeastOctober 28 (Western Christianity)
June 19 (Eastern Christianity)
AttributesAxe, club, boat, oar, medallion
PatronageArmenia, lost causes, desperate situations, ibises[citation needed], hospitals, St. Petersburg, Florida, Cotta Lucena City Quezon,Philippines the Chicago Police DepartmentClube de Regatas do Flamengo from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and SibalomAntique,Philippines.
St Jude is invoked in desperate situations because his New Testament letter stresses that the faithful should persevere in the environment of harsh, difficult circumstances, just as their forefathers had done before them. Therefore, he is the patron saint of desperate cases. (The epithet is also commonly rendered as “patron saint of lost causes”.) However, there is another reckoning to this epithet. Many Christians have unfortunately reckoned him as Judas Iscariot and thus avoided veneration. Therefore he was also called the “Forgotten Saint”. Because veneration was avoided, only people in the most desperate circumstances would call upon him, and Jude, desiring to help, was willing to pray for even the most desperate or lost case. Therefore, goes the logic, Jude became the patron saint of lost causes.

Saint Simon the Zealot

St. Simon, by Peter Paul Rubens (c. 1611), from his Twelve Apostles series at the Museo del PradoMadrid
Apostle, Martyr, Preacher
BornCana or Canaan
Died~65 or ~107[1]
place of death disputed. Possibly Pella, Armenia; Suanir, Persia; Edessa, Caistor
Honored inRoman Catholic ChurchEastern Orthodox ChurchCoptic Church;Oriental Orthodox Churches,Eastern Catholic Churches;Anglican ChurchLutheran ChurchIslam.
Majorshrinerelics claimed by many places, including ToulouseSaint Peter's Basilica[2]
FeastOctober 28 (Western Christianity); May 10 (Coptic Church)
Attributesboat; cross and saw; fish (or two fishes); lance; man being sawn in two longitudinally; oar[2]
Patronagecurriers; sawyers; tanners[2]

Simon is mentioned on all four lists of the apostles. On two of them he is called "the Zealot." The Zealots were a Jewish sect that represented an extreme of Jewish nationalism. For them, the messianic promise of the Old Testament meant that the Jews were to be a free and independent nation. God alone was their king, and any payment of taxes to the Romans—the very domination of the Romans—was a blasphemy against God. No doubt some of the Zealots were the spiritual heirs of the Maccabees, carrying on their ideals of religion and independence. But many were the counterparts of modern terrorists. They raided and killed, attacking both foreigners and "collaborating" Jews. They were chiefly responsible for the rebellion against Rome which ended in the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. In art, Simon has the identifying attribute of a saw because according to legend, he was put to death by a saw.

As in the case of all the apostles except for Peter, James and John, we are faced with men who are really unknown, and we are struck by the fact that their holiness is simply taken to be a gift of Christ. He chose some unlikely people: a former Zealot, a former (crooked) tax collector, an impetuous fisherman, two "sons of thunder" and a man named Judas Iscariot.
It is a reminder that we cannot receive too often. Holiness does not depend on human merit, culture, personality, effort or achievement. It is entirely God's creation and gift. God needs no Zealots to bring about the kingdom by force. Jude, like all the saints, is the saint of the impossible: only God can create his divine life in human beings. And God wills to do so, for all of us. One of his namesakes is St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, which has helped many children with terminal illnesses and their families since its founding in 1962.
"Just as Christ was sent by the Father, so also he sent the apostles, filled with the Holy Spirit. This he did so that, by preaching the gospel to every creature (cf. Mark 16:15), they might proclaim that the Son of God, by his death and resurrection, had freed us from the power of Satan (cf. Acts 26:18) and from death, and brought us into the kingdom of his Father" (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy).
A common Roman Catholic prayer is:

"O most holy apostle, Saint Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the Church honoureth and invoketh thee universally, as the patron of hopeless cases, and of things almost despaired of. Pray for me, who am so miserable. Make use, I implore thee, of that particular privilege accorded to thee, to bring visible and speedy help where help was almost despaired of. Come to mine assistance in this great need, that I may receive the consolation and succor of Heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and sufferings, particularly (here make your request) and that I may praise God with thee and all the elect throughout eternity. I promise thee, O blessed Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favour, to always honour thee as my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to thee. Amen."
An alternative prayer:

"May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, glorified, loved and preserved now and forever. Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy on us, Saint Jude worker of Miracles, pray for us, Saint Jude helper and keeper of the hopeless, pray for us, Thank you Saint Jude."

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