Monday, February 7, 2011

Lost Causes, Saint Jude

                Last night after cleaning up after the Superbowl festivities at our house, I mumbled to my husband as I started drifting off to sleep that I still hadn’t picked a person to write about for this morning’s post.  He grumbled that I should write about the patron saint of lost causes.  The Steelers have been his favorite team since he was a little boy in the 70’s.  Needless to say, he was pouting after the game.  So I thought I would humor him by writing about Saint Jude the patron saint of lost causes.  Being that I am very tired from all the cooking, cleaning, and merriment from yesterday, I feel like my writing today could be a lost cause, but here we go.
                Jude was one of Jesus’ twelve apostles.  Because he could get easily confused with Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Jesus, Jude is also known as Thaddaeus and called Judas, son of James.  Names get tricky when working with the apostles because there is also Simon the Zealot; Simon, who Jesus named Peter; James, son of Zebedee; and James, son of Alphaeus.  Wow, my head is spinning a bit.  I have been taught all of this many times throughout my life, but I can still get confused.  The list of the twelve can be found in Luke 6:13-16.  While reading this section, I remember when I was in grade school struggling with the difference between disciples and apostles.  I may use this as a topic for another day.
                There are days I try to imagine what it would be like to have been one of Jesus’ apostles.  What a privilege to be able to help Jesus at the beginning of His ministry like Jude was able to do.  Jude witnessed miracles and heard the sermons from Jesus’ own sweet lips.  At the last supper, Jude asks Jesus, “Master, [then] what happened that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?”  John 14:22.  Jesus is going to die before He is known to the world.  The twelve will know Him and “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.”  Jesus continued his discourse during the dinner.  I imagine Jude held onto these words in the days of grief to come.  If Jude keeps Jesus’ word, God will love him and dwell within him.  The same can be said of us.
                Jude also sat in the upper room after Jesus ascended into Heaven when the Holy Spirit descended on him and Jesus’ other apostles and followers.  I meditate on this scene from time to time.  I have had the Holy Spirit rest with me on many occasions, but to have felt that power with the first believers must have been beyond the mere words of extraordinary or awesome.  They took this power and traveled to proclaim the good news.  Jude and Simon the Zealot, tradition holds, went to Persia to evangelize in this region.  They were also said to have been martyred there.
                Jude is known as the patron saint of lost causes through tradition. King Abgar of Edessa tried to get Jesus to come to his country to cure him offering asylum to Jesus.  After Jesus’ death and resurrection, Thomas sent Jude to visit the king.  During this visit, King Abgar was cured and converted to Christianity as did many of his subjects.  Since that time, people connect Jude to helping those with health problems.  St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee is named after him.  This hospital has helped many children with terminal illnesses and their families.    
Coming to the end of my research, I can’t help but think of the concept of lost causes.  My biggest lost cause was my career when I started having health issues.  I knew running two miles twice a year in the time allotted would never happen again because of the RA and fibromyalgia.  I knew I couldn’t go out in the field for military training if the weather turned bad.  During my worst days, I couldn’t even go to work and sit at my desk.  My days as a soldier and a technician had to end.  It was a lost cause.  So I prayed.  With God’s help, I formed a new Lisa.  Yes, the soldier still resides in me, but I have learned to become a stay-at-home housewife and mom.  I am also learning a little about the writing world.  Hopefully, I will learn about the publishing world as well.  We need to open our hearts for the lessons lost causes can bring to us, even during a defeat on Superbowl Sunday.
                Blessing to you all.

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