A Brief Sketch of his Life
The Two Judes
Cure of the King of Edessa
His Apostolic Labours
Brief Sketch of his Life
established his Church on earth and endowed it with every means of sanctity and
grace. He selected twelve men whom he specially trained for the ministry, and
these were to be his College of Apostles who were to preach the Gospel to all
the nations. After Pentecost we see these Apostles animated with a deep love for
their Divine Master, facing endless persecutions, and preaching Christ crucified
throughout the world. They detached themselves from worldly affairs, and in
fact, left all things, for the sake of Christ. It was quite clear to them that
in order to love God and to taste of His love they had to disentangle themselves
from all attachment to created things, in short they had to die to themselves
before living for him. This was the mystery which Christ unfolded to St. Jude.,
His kinsman and one of the twelve Apostles.
Jude was son of Alpheus, (or cleophas) brother of ST. Joseph, the foster-father
of our Lord. Cleophas was a very faithful disciple of Christ and was one of the
two disciples to whom our Lord appeared on the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus.
Cleophas was later put to death by the Jews because he gave public testimony of
the Resurrection of our Lord, and thus won the crown of martyrdom. The mother of
St. Jude was Mary Cleophas, a close relative of the Mother of Jesus, and one of
the holy women who stood at the foot of the Cross on Calvary. St. Jude was
therefore a close relative of our Blessed Lord through his father and his
mother. Two of his brothers, like himself became martyrs for the sake of Christ,
namely St. James the less, the author of "The Epistle of St. James,"
which we see in the new Testament, and Simon of Jerusalem. There is also mention
of one Joseph and all of them are styled the brethren of our Lord -
his early childhood St. Jude had the privilege of being in frequent association
with the boy Jesus. He and the other members of the family were, doubtless,
quite at home in the little house of the Holy Family at Nazareth, with Mary and
Joseph their close relatives. This association certainly had a great influence
on Jude, the future Apostle, who, like his Master, was dominated by the virtue
of love. Nothing is heard of him in the Gospel until we find him numbered among
the Apostles. (Luke vi--16)
the last Supper when Christ promised to manifest Himself to everyone who should
love him, St. Jude asked him why He did not manifest himself to the whole world.
Christ answered that he would visit all those who love him and would admit them
to intimate communion of grace with Him - (John xiv - 22, 23)
his latter years St. Jude was privileged to be enumerated among the sacred
writers of the Scriptures. He wrote an Epistle which, though short, is exalted
in language and inspiring in matter. His great humility and his self-effacement
are clearly seen from the "Epistle" where, far from making any
reference of his kinship to our Lord, he describes himself as "Jude, the
servant of Jesus Christ," by which is meant an apostolic minister or
labourer. He also refers to himself as the "brother of James." as
James the Less, who was Bishop of Jerusalem was better known than himself in the
Jude is also called "Thaddeus" (Mt. x.3; Mk.iii, 18). This surname
helps to distinguish this faithful Apostle from the traitor Judas Iscariot.
Thaddeus, in Syriac, means praising or confessing, amiable or loving.
St. Mathew and St. Mark wrote their Gospels, they attempted to avoid confusion
between the two men by listing them apart. They called our St. Jude only by the
name of Thaddeus. When they listed the twelve apostles, they placed the traitor
last and classified as: "Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him." Also, in
the biblical list of the apostles, in the Cannon of the Mass, and in the Litany
of the Saints our St. Jude is prayed to only by the name of Thaddeus. This has
helped to make him the "forgotten" saint. Later, when the Acts of the
Apostles was written by St. Luke (1, 13), after the infamous Judas had passed
from the living his name was dropped from the list of the apostles, and that of
Matthias, his successor, was added. Then St. Jude Thaddeus was called by his
first name, Jude, but for a long time he remained a "forgotten Jude".
the name of the traitor Judas fades and the confusion about the two
personalities clears up, the name of St. Jude is becoming increasingly popular,
especially in our own country. More lovers of St. Jude, and many of his grateful
clients, are expressing their thanks by bestowing his name upon their sons:
"Jude" even Thaddeus, shortened popularly to "Thad" is found
more frequently among boys. It had long been popular in Ireland where in the old
Gaelic it is "Taidg".
of the King of Edessa
Jude is often represented as bearing a replica of our Lord on his breast. The
tradition attached to this is as follows: The fame of our Lord's miracles had
reached Abagaro the King of Edessa who was afflicted with leprosy. He had heard
of Jesus and sent a messenger begging him to come and cure him. In order that
his faith may be tested, our Lord sent word that he could not come just then.
Far from being discouraged the King sent an artist to Jerusalem for the purpose
of at least obtaining our Lord's portrait. But the poor artist baffled by the
splendour and brightness of that Face was unable to make any reproduction. Jesus
moved by compassion and wishing to console Abagaro held a cloth to his Face on
which was left the image of his Sacred Countenance. He then handed it to the
artist and asked him to carry it to the King promising to send some one to heal
him. Tradition says that this mission was confided to St. Jude, who was covered
with supernatural splendour. After the Ascension of Jesus, as Jude entered the
King's premises. Abagaro knelt and faltered forth: "Are you he of whom
Jesus spoke when he sent me the message," I will send you one of my
followers who will cure you of your malady and bring life to you and your
Jude replied: "Because you believed in Him, He sent me to you".
King answered: "I believe in Him, and my faith is such that had not the
Roman army stood in the way I would have sent my own army against the Jews to
rescue Him out of their hands".
fulfilled the will of his father", replied the Apostle. "And death
could not hold him, for after three days in the tomb, He arose glorious and
entered triumphant into Heaven". When he had thus spoken the holy Apostle
placed his hands on Abadaro who was instantly cured of his infirmity. Many
citizens were also healed and several, including the King and his court, were
firmly establishing the Church in Edessa, St. Jude visited the whole of
is said that he not only brought Christianity to Mesapotamia, but civilised the
people of that country who were living like wild animals. He then joined St.
Simon in Libya where the two Apostles diffused the light of the Gospel.
St. Simon the Apostle, St. Jude then set out for Persia where he worked
zealously and converted thousands who were sunk in degrading and idolatrous
practices. Sun worshippers were soon taught to worship the Living God and
Christian charity prevailed in a once barbarous country. The Apostles were,
however, hampered by two magicians named Zaroes and Arfaxat, who endeavored to
uphold the worship of idols. But the holy Apostles were more than a match for
them. In the presence of the Apostles the idols refused to answer, but when the
Apostles in the name of God commanded them to speak, they were forced to
acknowledge the Saints as the Disciples of the True God. The evil spirits
possessing the idols then fled uttering horrible cries and shattering the
this time a powerful army from India was advancing to invade Persia, and the
Persians under General Vesuduch were preparing to march against them. Great
excitement was caused in the camp of the Persian General when the two Apostles
arrived. Once again they were confronted by the magicians Zaroes and Arfaxat.
Vasuduch anxious to know the results of the war asked the Apostles; "We
know you are more powerful than our gods, for at your approach the idols fell to
the ground. Tell us what the results of this war will be". The Apostles
commanded the evil spirits to answer. Questioned by their priests the idols
replied that the war would be long and many would perish. The General felt very
sad but the Apostles consoled him by saying that this prediction was wrong and
that the following day the ambassadors from the Indian army will negotiate for
peace. As foretold by the Apostles peace terms were signed, and the General
moved with indignation ordered that the magicians be put to death. But the
Apostles interceded with the Commander and the punishment was averted. The
Commander then conducted the Apostles before the King, where also they performed
miracles in order to frustrate the veiled signs of the magicians who had
one occasion the idolatrous priests and magicians assembling before the king
brought forward accusations against the Holy Apostles. The priests held charmed
serpents and let them loose upon the Apostles. The Serpents, however, turned
upon the priests and bit severely while they allowed the holy Apostles to take
them in their hands. Convinced, the king banished the magicians from the Court
and he and his nobles embraced the Christian Faith.
Jude preached amidst untold sufferings and persecution in Judea, Samaria and
Idumia, impressing upon the people the beauty of Christian charity. No doubt God
glorifies St. Jude by giving him special power to aid all those who wish to
preserve their purity.
time soon arrived when he who was so closely related to his Lord and Master and
who had been an intimate friend of his from boyhood, and a faithful follower all
through his life was to join him once more.
labours and zeal of St. Jude attracted the hatred of some of the unbelievers
whom he had come to convert. He was clubbed to insensibility, his head being
finally severed from his body with a blow of a broad axe. His mortal remains now
lie in the great basilica of St. Peter, in Rome, and his feast is kept on
October 28th. Pope Paul III granted a plenary indulgence to those who visit the
Church on his Feast Day.
the body of the holy Apostle rests in St. Peter's Rome, his helpful, living
charity is evident all over the world where numerous clients experience
wonderful help in difficulties and trials of the most hopeless nature.
Jude is usually represented holding a club as the sign of his martyrdom. The
following words taken from the first chapter of his Epistle are often seen on a
scroll held in his hand: "Strive manfully for the faith once delivered unto