If you are at all familiar with Catholic saints, their veneration and iconography, you know that St. Jude is the patron saint of lost causes. Under the influence, in part, of the Dominicans, devotion to St. Jude spread to the United States in the 1920’s. Part of this devotion included the ancient tradition of praying a novena. A novena is a prayer repeated daily for a period of time. A novena to St. Jude, for instance, may last nine days or nine weeks.
Some say a novena to St. Jude “has never been known to fail.”
Part of the St. Jude novena agreement is that those praying it publish their results when a prayer is answered.
For instance, a local newspaper might have a small boxed item titled “Thanksgiving Novena to St. Jude” that gives the prayer and then a line that says “I have had my request granted.”
Intercessory prayer is problematic for me. If we have direct access to God, why would I want to add an intermediary, or prayer broker?
Nevertheless, desperate times called for desperate prayer. A friend of mine was in trouble and I cared about resolving my friend’s problem. One day I found a newspaper clipping in my Bible, similar to what I described earlier. I began praying to God via St. Jude.
I found comfort in a section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2nd Edition, a gift from philosopher At Your Service) called “Guides for Prayer.” The subheading read “a cloud of witnesses,” which is a reference one of my favorite verses, Hebrews 12:1. This verse begins “Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…” I might also add that Dorothy Sayers 1926 novel, Clouds of Witnesses, is a fantastic mystery. But I digress.
The Catechism says, regarding prayer to the saints, “Their intercession is their most exalted service to God’s plan. We can and should ask them to intercede for us and the whole world.”
I rest my case. I have had my request granted.
In other news, the Moxie Festival Committee met on Thursday, September 20. This kickoff meeting was well-attended and there was a lot of energy around selecting a theme. It is an incredible theme, if I may say so myself.
“Moxie Goes Artsy.”
I’ve already changed my phone screen saver.
And yes, that is a text from St. Helen of Immaculata. She has an Ipad now and we text each other. She is making steady progress, being 80 and not concerned about the fast pace of information and I’m really proud of her and glad she has embraced emojis.
She does not like it when I call her St. Helen, what with her not being canonized. But we are talking of saintly things today.