It fell out of my songbook at Mass this Sunday. A prayer card with St. Jude's picture on one side, and a prayer on the other. St. Jude is the Saint known for bringing "visible and speedy help where help is most despaired of." You may have heard already that he is the "Saint of impossible causes" or "hopeless cases" and his aid always comes at the last possible moment.
Right away, I decided to take this seriously. Seriously, because I happen to have a LIST of impossible causes, that I carry around in my heart all the time. Seriously, also, because in my experience, when I've needed specific kinds of help from specific Saints, they have begun to show themselves to me. St. Therese, Our Lady of Medjugorje, and Our Lady of Guadalupe all showed up in unlikely ways for me when I most needed them, and knew nothing about who they are.
So, I believe that this is what this is about, St. Jude arriving in my songbook, and not someone else's. Because Jack and I never sit in the same place twice. Make of it what you will.
As for "praying to Saints"--if people in Heaven are more alive than we've ever been, which is what I believe, then why not ask "Please pray for me about this situation," just as I ask the other people in my life to pray for me? Or, for that matter, isn't it a little like posting a prayer request on Facebook? (Or, as some would say, "Send good thoughts or good energy.")
I'll take all the help I can get!
Jack's mother loved St. Jude. She always advised me (and everyone else she knew) to ask St. Jude to intercede whenever we needed help. Evidently, that's what St. Jude wants too--for us to encourage others to ask him for help. As you can see:
We women had an interesting time in Bible Study yesterday with Psalm 103. (You may want to look it up.) The biggest take-away for me, I think, is the way it seemed to expand. We read it through once, listening for a word, phrase or image that stood out in the hearing of it. (a "method" called Lectio Divina) This was our "door" or entry into the Psalm.
Next, we talked about the meanings of some of the words; the what and why of the phrases that spoke to us. So much does. Together, we struck layer upon layer of meaning. By the time we'd read it through three times, we realized that the Psalmist (this Psalm is attributed to King David) was trying to give expression to an exhaustive list of all the possibilities for praising God, or, in David's words, for which we "Bless the Lord, O My Soul." The list includes all of the personal, daily, true to life things in which we find ourselves immersed, as well as all of the vast, cosmic realities. None of which extend outside God's domain.
We noticed that God is a God of action and activity: "The Lord forgives, heals, redeems, satisfies, works. . .and that all of that activity is a reflection of God's nature. Which is mostly compassion.
In this particular moment, David is in a state of elation--something none
of us can sustain. Thankfully, though, as David attempts to put his elation
into words, he provides a container for ours. His words serve as a vehicle of
expression for our joy. And when we're not feeling it, we can go to words like these and find some hope. Words like these can lift our spirits.
This is where I've been the past few days. Do you have a personal devotion to or story about St. Jude? I'd love to hear it!