Jesus went up to the mountain to pray,
and he spent the night in prayer to God.
When day came, he called his disciples to himself,
and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles:
Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew,
James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew,
Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus,
Simon who was called a Zealot,
and Judas the son of James,
and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. (Lk 6:12-16)
You’ll notice in that list are 2 Judases among the 12. Judas Iscariot became a traitor. We all know him. The other Jude, Jude Thaddeus, went out with Saint Simon to Syria, Mesopotamia, and Persia to proclaim the gospel and died a martyr. He was the son of Cleophas and Mary (who stood at the foot of the cross), the brother of Saint James the Lesser, and nephew to Mary and Joseph, making him a blood relative to Jesus.
If you’re like me, at some point in time you’ve probably seen a novena prayer to St. Jude left in a church pew or somewhere nearby. He’s familiar. Most of us know St. Jude as the saint of impossible causes. Now just how would someone garner that particular patronage?
It seems that confusion arose among the early Christians between Judas Iscariot and Jude. Not being quite sure, people didn’t pray for St. Jude’s intercession, and “devotion to him became something of a lost cause.” (sqpn.com)
My husband and I prayed to St. Jude when we were awaiting our first child. Infertility rendered parenthood an impossible cause for us. So we prayed to the saint of the impossible for a child. A friend gave my husband, a recent convert to the Faith, a rather large statue of St. Jude – kind of funny for a recent Protestant – nothing subtle about it! My husband placed it on his shelf in the closet and we would see it every day when getting ready for work and pray at the same time.
The whole adoption process is pretty daunting. The paperwork, the questions, the cost – all of it seemed impossible. It was hard to hope, too. Years of infertility had conditioned me not to hope because it only disappoints. It was hard to trust because at that point in my journey, I wasn’t too sure about how trustworthy God really was. We wanted to have a family, but this wasn’t the way we wanted it.
God had a better plan. He always does. He brought me to my knees so that I would learn to depend on Him and learn that He really, really loves me. The only way I was ready to learn that was through suffering. All the hidden wounds I carried which kept me from trusting God were ripped open and raw. One of the first steps in cleaning a wound is to open it up and clean it out. God debrided my heart and in the process drew me close to Him as a loving Father whom I know has my best interests at heart.
The same love with which He touched me, he touched another woman – one who had a child, but wanted a family for that child. His love moved her to make one of the greatest sacrifices a person can make. She gave us her child to raise as our own. Only God can do that!
The angel told Mary, “…nothing is impossible with God.” (Lk 1:37) On October 28, 1992, the feast of St. Jude, our first daughter’s adoption was finalized. She was officially, legally, completely ours. Nothing is impossible with God.
St. Jude, pray for us! Anne