St. Jude: A Saint for the Year of Mercy
On December 8, 2015, the Church began the celebration of the Year of Mercy, proclaimed by Pope Francis. This Year is an extraordinary opportunity to contemplate God’s mercy. In his document proclaiming the Year of Mercy, Misericordiae Vultus, Pope Francis explains, “We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends on it. Mercy: the word reveals the very mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Mercy: the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us.”
For the pope, mercy is crucially important for our Christian faith, and should have a practical impact on our daily lives – it should be “a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace.”
In one of Jesus’ most memorable parables, the Good Samaritan picks up the stranger who has been beaten and left for dead; the man is moved with mercy and cares for the stranger, binds his wounds, and brings him to a place of rest.
Jesus himself is the Good Samaritan who mercifully comes to live among us and saves us from our sins. Jesus offers each of us the opportunity to be forgiven of our sins – we have good reason to celebrate in this Year of Faith!
Pope Francis explains that God’s love for us is more than just good intentions; the Holy Father explains, “mercy is a key word that indicates God’s action towards us. He does not limit himself merely to affirming his love, but makes it visible and tangible. Love, after all, can never be just an abstraction. By its very nature, it indicates something concrete: intentions, attitudes, and behaviours that are shown in daily living.” Like the Good Samaritan, God is willing to save us and help us in the most practical and concrete ways.
God often shows us mercy through the saints. He clearly has a special desire to show his love through our patron, St. Jude. It is staggering to imagine all the blessings, miracles, and healings obtained over the years by prayers to St. Jude and dedication to the Rosary Shrine of St. Jude. St. Jude is clearly a merciful saint, a saint who is moved by the sufferings and sorrows of those who seek his help.
Since St. Jude is so eager to help us, he is a model for living out the Year of Mercy, for his example encourages us to help our neighbors in need. Pope Francis writes of “the path which the merciful love of Christians must also travel. As the Father loves, so do his children. Just as he is merciful, so we are called to be merciful to each other.”
How often do we admit to God that we need his mercy? Who are the people in our lives who need mercy? In this Year of Mercy, let us take these questions to God and to his special friend, St. Jude.
Merciful Saint Jude, pray for us!
Photo credit: Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P.