Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Here's a job for Saint Jude!

As you know, Saint Jude is the patron of seemingly hopeless causes. Prayerful devotions to Saint Jude are, traditionally, made on Thursdays. I don't know why.

I do know something, though. Saint Jude is being abused and has been for a long time.

Here's a good thing.

Saint Jude can be a power ally when we mortals are faced with what we mortals perceive as "hopeless and desperate cases." Nothing is "hopeless or desperate" to God, but the Lord understands that we're not divine and has been good enough to give us a saintly friend to support us when we believe we are in an impossible situation. That's good.

Here's a bad thing.

I don't know about you, but probably once or twice a month, at least, I find a bunch of xeroxed copies of a prayer to Saint Jude in a church. Nothing wrong with that...until one starts to read the "prayer."

It ends with an "instruction" to the praying person. And it's not good.

The language varies, but the gist is always the same. The petitioner is generally instructed to make a novena to Saint Jude using the scripted prayer. That's not bad. What's bad is that, following the novena instruction, the reader is told to make X amount of copies of the prayer, distribute X amount of copies to X amount of churches, and do any number of weird things in addition, from "making a wish" to repeating some mantra X amount of times.

I fully expect, one day, to read that one must also, in order to "receive Saint Jude's attention," do the hokey-pokey and wave around a dead chicken in one's back yard.

Stop with the superstition!

Awhile back, I bemoaned the existence of "chain e-mail letters." This abuse of Saint Jude falls under the same category: idolatry.

If you find yourself in an impossible situtation, by all means, do ask the good Saint for his intercession. But keep it to yourself! And never mind the extraneous nonsense.

If you find a stack of "prayers" to Saint Jude with instructions similar to what I've described above, toss them. Do pray for the misguided person who left them there.

And ask Saint Jude to stop the superstition being perpetuated in his name. Sheesh, it seems like a hopeless cause to me!