When we hear the name Jude, some of us might first think of the Beatles song “Hey Jude” before we think of Saint Jude the Apostle.
If you’re in the trenches when it comes to Catholic dating, Jude the Apostle is a powerful saint that most of us should get to know a bit better. This is especially true if you’re feeling a bit hopeless in your love life.
A friend (and relative!) of Jesus
Scripture doesn’t give us a lot of information about Jude the Apostle. But we do know that he was one of the twelve Apostles that Jesus called to follow him.
The Gospels of Matthew and Mark refer to him as Thaddaeus, while Luke and John refer to him as Jude. But both names are referring to the same man.
Jude’s only recorded words in the Gospels are in John 14:22 at the Last Supper, when he asks Jesus, “Master, [then] what happened that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?”
Jesus responds by telling him that anyone who loves him will be faithful to his word, that his Father will love those who are faithful, and that he and the Father will send the Holy Spirit.
Jude is also mentioned in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark as the “brother of Jesus.” Since we know that Mary remained a virgin her whole life, we can conclude that James was not a sibling of Our Lord. But he was likely still a relative.
Consensus among Biblical scholars is that Jude was the son of Clopas, and that his mother was the Virgin Mary’s cousin.
Jude also wrote an epistle in the New Testament. In this letter, he encourages the faithful to fight against falsehood and to grow strong in their Faith through the Holy Spirit.
Tradition holds that, after the death and resurrection of Christ, Jude preached in Judea, Samaria, Idumaea, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Libya.
Jude is believed to have been martyred in Armenia or Beirut, together with Saint Simon (with whom he shares a feast day).
Patron saint of hopeless causes
Jude is known as the patron saint of impossible, hopeless, or desperate causes. This is probably the reason that the well-known children’s cancer research hospital is named after him.
Looking at his life, it might not immediately be obvious to us why he is the patron saint of hopeless causes. After all, he was close to Jesus and there didn’t seem to be much that was hopeless in his life.
But we have to remember that he shared a very similar name with the betrayer of Christ. Jude’s full name was very likely “Judas,” which no one can think of without remembering Judas Iscariot who betrayed Christ.
This means that, from ancient times, people would have had to have been feeling somewhat desperate to invoke the name of Jude. If Jude was invoked only rarely because of this, then he would be very eager to assist those who turn to him.
If this reasoning isn’t convincing enough for us, we also have private revelations from both Saint Bridget and Saint Bernard. Both of these saints received visions in which God asked them to accept Jude as the patron of impossible causes.
So even we’re not feeling like things are technically “impossible” for us, we can still turn to him if we’re feeling hopeless or desolate about the state of our love life, or anything else in our lives for that matter.
Prayer to St. Jude
If you’re feeling like a prayer, or a novena, to this patron saint of hopeless causes would be a good thing for your life right now, here’s a prayer from the National Shrine of Saint Jude in Chicago:
“Most holy Apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the Church honors and invokes you universally, as the patron of hopeless cases, of things almost despaired of. Pray for me, I am so helpless and alone. Make use, I implore you, of that particular privilege given to you, to bring visible and speedy help where help is almost despaired of. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and help of Heaven in all my necessities, tribulation, and sufferings, particularly (state request) and that I may praise God with you and all the elect forever. I promise, O 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.”
St. Jude, patron saint of hopeless causes, pray for us!