After our last posting, we decided to experiment with prayer. The Sacred Space at The Royal Children Hospital had provided a small flyer for visitors entitled, ‘Novena to St. Jude Thaddeus’. On the back of the flyer, these words were written:
PRAYER TO ST. JUDE:
Most Holy Apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the church honours and invokes you universally, as the patron of hopeless cases, of things almost despaired of . Pray for me, I am so hopeless and alone.
Make us 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 sufferings, particularly (mention 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 favour, to always honour you as my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion on you. AMEN.
This piece of writing elicited a range of responses within me.
Firstly, I do not come from the Christian tradition that remembers or teaches about the saints, let alone includes them in their prayer or prays to them or through them. However, I have gained much in recent years in reading about St. Brigid and St. Hildegarde. Their lives have inspired me perhaps more than any other women in history and I feel honoured to share the same faith as these women. So, it was a different way of praying for me.
Secondly, I have been taught to boldly approach God’s throne of grace and make my requests known directly to Creator. I believe Christ has paid the price for this freedom and the Spirit gives me the assurance of acceptance. It is a freedom and boldness that I am unwilling to forfeit because it was secured for me in a costly manner. So, there were parts of this prayer that did not sit well with my theology.
Thirdly, and more positively, I was excited to discover there was a saint whose memory made special consideration for ‘hopeless cases and things despaired of’. This I could relate to. I needed to read on:
May the most sacred heart of Jesus be adored, loved in all tabernacles until the end of time.
May the most sacred heart of Jesus be praised and glorified now and forever.
St. Jude pray for us and hear our prayers. (Make request)
Blessed be the sacred heart of Jesus
Blessed be the immaculate heart of Mary
Blessed be St. Jude Thaddeus in all the world and for all eternity.
I decided I could work with this novena (even though I still do not know what a novena is) if I skipped the bit about St. Jude praying for us and simply made my prayer of hopelessness and despair directly to God.
The real reason I wanted to try this prayer was because it came with a guarantee:
MUST BE READ SIX TIMES A DAY FOR NINE CONSECUTIVE DAYS.
PRAYER WILL BE ANSWERED ON OR BEFORE THE NINETH DAY.
HAS NEVER KNOWN TO FAIL.
(It also said you were suppose to leave nine copies in a church each day, but I read that bit too late so it was not a part of the deal for me!?)
How about that? A way of praying that comes with a guarantee of success. I had to try it.