Catholics get criticized for including the Blessed Mother in their prayer lives, but then, on top of that, they pray to the saints. We are told in 1 Timothy 2:5, that there is only one mediator between God and man and it’s Jesus Christ. So why on earth would we waste precious time in prayer talking with the saints when we can go straight to the top?
Why indeed. Because it works. And there is a reason for that. First, allow me to explain my own introduction to novenas through St. Jude.
My life took on a deeper spiritual dimension when I was pregnant with our fourth child. It began when my husband Mark lost his job. For the first time we consciously put our lives in God’s hands. Whenever Mark was turned down, our prayers gave us peace and certainty that it just wasn’t God’s will for us. When a solid job offer did finally come, it was from a person who had heard about Mark from someone else. He had not even applied for the job! Surely, God had taken care of everything.
We put our house up for sale, but had to move out of state for the job before it sold so we had to rent it out. The renters trashed it and real estate agents told us it would never sell in that condition. We were inexperienced landlords and realized there was nothing in the lease that enabled us to kick them out. And even if we did, we had no money to make up for their rent or the financial means to fix up the house now. Being so far away, we felt helpless. Mark was concerned that we might face foreclosure. Around this time, I read that St. Jude was the patron saint of hopeless causes. Surely our situation was hopeless! Neither of us had ever prayed a novena before, but in desperation, we decided we had nothing to lose.
As soon as we finished the novena, our renters called, very upset, to say they were leaving the next day. They had heard what sounded like a loud explosion n the basement and totally freaked out. They were leaving immediately.
We were shocked. Mark at first said, “They can’t just leave, they signed a lease. How will we pay the mortgage?” I told him maybe it was an answer to our novena. I didn’t know how we could afford two houses but I did know it would never sell with those renters in it. So we told them to go ahead and leave and then waited on the Lord.
A couple of days later, Mark’s parents called us from Hawaii where they had just moved a couple of weeks earlier. They had a sudden change of heart and realized they didn’t want to live there. They wanted to return to the mainland. What did we think about their renting the house from us and fixing it up? A few months later, the house looked better than ever and sold immediately. Our seemingly impossible situation completely turned around. I am convinced it was the intercession of St. Jude that made this miracle possible.
Since that time almost 25 years ago, I’ve prayed many novenas and received many answers--some just as dramatic, but not all.
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The very first novena is recorded in the New Testament. It was the nine days of prayer by the Apostles and Blessed Mother from the time Jesus ascended into heaven until Pentecost Sunday—a very big answer indeed. Saints are not canonized until there have been two miracles directly connected to their intercession. Scripture tells us to pray for one another and that the prayers of the righteous are very powerful. So imploring a saint is asking someone very close to God to pray for our intention. Why not ask a saint, part of the great cloud of witnesses, (Heb 21:12) to pray on our behalf? I still talk to Jesus about it, but I enlist the help of those who loved him most while on earth and now in heaven. Below is the first novena my husband and I ever prayed together.
Novena to St. Jude
Most holy Apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the Church honors and invokes you universally, as the patron of difficult cases, of things almost despaired of, Pray for me, I am so helpless and alone.
Intercede with God for me that He 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 help of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and sufferings, particularly -
(make your request here)
- and that I may praise God with you and all the saints forever. I promise, O Blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor granted me by God and to always honor you as my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to you.
May the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, and loved in all the tabernacles until the end of time. Amen.
May the most Sacred Heart of Jesus be praised and glorified now and forever. Amen
St. Jude, pray for us and hear our prayers. Amen.
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.
Copyright 2016 Patti Maguire Armstrong
About the Author
Patti Maguire Armstrong is the mother of 10, and has a B.A. in social work and M.A. in public administration. Her newest book is Holy Hacks: Everyday Ways to Live Your Faith & Get to Heaven. Others include Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories from Everyday Families and the Amazing Grace Series. Follow her at @PattiArmstrong and read her blog at PattiMaguireArmstrong.com.