Trust the lord with all your problems

Get the free eBookThe Novena to St. Jude and More Prayers for Life’s Difficult Momentsfrom EWTN.

We know that everyone experiences hardships. But when these moments happen, we know the One who cares for us, the One who wants the best for us. The Lord will carry us through each trial we face, as long as we let Him.

This eBook features the Novena to St. Jude and other prayers. As one of Jesus’ Apostles and the patron of lost causes and desperate situations, St. Jude will intercede for us when all hope seems gone. We hope this resource helps you to trust the Lord with every problem and to always rely on His Divine Providence in good times and in bad.

Who were Sts. Simon and Jude?

Sts. Simon and Jude are two of Jesus’ Twelve Apostles.

St. Simon is referred to in Scripture by Matthew and Mark as the “Cananaean” and by Luke as “the Zealot.”  Both titles mean the same, zealous for the Jewish Law, and distinguish him from Simon, whom the Lord renamed, Peter or Rock. It is unclear whether he belonged to the political party of that day, which was known as the Zealots, or was simply known for his religious zeal.

St. Jude is one of two Apostles with this name. The other, usually called Judas, is the infamous Judas Iscariot, known for his betrayal of Jesus. Here we refer to Jude Thaddeus, the saint increasingly popular as the patron of hopeless causes. He is also the author of the New Testament book the Epistle of Jude. 

Not much is known about the lives of Simon and Jude from the Gospels. Even so, God chose these men, granted them holiness, and worked through them in the lives of many in their own time, and continues to work through them today. 

“[M]ay both Simon the Cananaean and Jude Thaddeus help us to rediscover the beauty of the Christian faith ever anew and to live it without tiring, knowing how to bear a strong and at the same time peaceful witness to it.” – Pope Benedict XVI

Why are Sts. Simon and Jude often mentioned together?

Simon and Jude are often mentioned together because they were companions in their mission of evangelization. They traveled together to preach the Eternal Word, Jesus Christ, to the nations, and are believed to have been martyred together on one of these missions which led them to be honored together on the same feast day. 

Were Simon and Jude brothers?

No, they were not brothers, though some may have this perception because of the way they are honored together and celebrated on the same feast day. Though they did not share the same mother and father, it would be fair to say that they shared a spiritual brotherhood in Christ, having lived and grown in their faith together among the other Apostles.

St. Simon the Apostle
Is Simon the Zealot also Simon Peter?

Simon the Zealot is a different man than Simon Peter. Similar to Judas Iscariot and Jude Thaddeus, Simon the Zealot and Simon Peter shared similarities in their name and are distinguished by titles given to them for this reason. 

Simon Peter is the “rock” upon which Christ built His Church (Matthew 16:18). Simon the Zealot is a lesser-known Apostle, given the title of “zealot,” either because he was zealous in his faith, or if he belonged to the political group called the Zealots that was active at the time.

What was Simon the Apostle known for?

Simon the Apostle is most known for his nickname, “the zealot.” Not much else is known about him. He is not quoted in any of the Gospels, and no other accounts are written about his life.

How was St. Simon martyred?

The most likely account says that he was martyred in Persia by having his hands sawed off. Other sources provide various locations, having him die in Jerusalem, or as far away as Spain. Thus, nothing certain is really known.

“Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, ‘Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?’ Jesus answered him, ‘If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.’” – John 14:22-24

What does “zealot” mean in the Bible?

In the Apostles’ time, there was an active political party of Jews called the Zealots, known for their singular zeal for Jewish law and their opposition to Roman occupation. This latter would eventually lead to complete rebellion in 66 A.D., and the siege and destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by the Romans in 70.

It is unknown whether the apostle Simon was a member of this party, or whether “zealot” simply described his religious character generally. In any case, his name also distinguished him from Peter, whose given name was Simon.

What is St. Simon the patron saint of?

St. Simon is the patron saint of saw workers and tanners. This derives from one account of his martyrdom in which his hands were sawed off.

“May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.” – Epistle of St. Jude, verse 2

What can we learn from St. Simon?

Pope Benedict XVI taught:

Simon is given a nickname that varies in the four lists: while Matthew and Mark describe him as a "Cananaean", Luke instead describes him as a "Zealot."

In fact, the two descriptions are equivalent because they mean the same thing: indeed, in Hebrew the verb qanà' means "to be jealous, ardent" and can be said both of God, since he is jealous with regard to his Chosen People (cf. Ex 20: 5), and of men who burn with zeal in serving the one God with unreserved devotion, such as Elijah (cf. I Kgs 19: 10).

Thus, it is highly likely that even if this Simon was not exactly a member of the nationalist movement of Zealots, he was at least marked by passionate attachment to his Jewish identity, hence, for God, his People and divine Law.

If this was the case, Simon was worlds apart from Matthew, who, on the contrary, had an activity behind him as a tax collector that was frowned upon as entirely impure. This shows that Jesus called his disciples and collaborators, without exception, from the most varied social and religious backgrounds.

It was people who interested him, not social classes, or labels! And the best thing is that in the group of his followers, despite their differences, they all lived side by side, overcoming imaginable difficulties: indeed, what bound them together was Jesus himself, in whom they all found themselves united with one another.

This is clearly a lesson for us who are often inclined to accentuate differences and even contrasts, forgetting that in Jesus Christ we are given the strength to get the better of our continual conflicts.

Let us also bear in mind that the group of the Twelve is the prefiguration of the Church, where there must be room for all charisms, peoples and races, all human qualities that find their composition and unity in communion with Jesus.

St. Jude the Apostle
What is known about St. Jude Thaddeus?

While he was the author of the short New Testament book the Epistle of Jude, we do not know much more about him. Details of his life, his calling, or the time spent with Christ, are not recounted in the Gospels. We know of him because he is mentioned in the lists of the apostles and because of one single question he was quoted to have asked Christ during the Last Supper: 

Judas, not the Iscariot, said to him, “Master, [then] what happened that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus answered and said to him, “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.” (John 14:22–23)

Is Jude the Apostle the brother of Jesus?

In the letter he wrote St. Jude calls himself a servant of Christ and brother of James (Jude 1:1). Other texts have suggested to some that he was a brother of Jesus, along with James, Joses (Joseph) and Simon. From its beginning the Church believed that only Jesus our High Priest ever entered the Holy of Holies of His Mother’s womb, a doctrine called Her Perpetual Virginity. The Jewish reverence for the Ark, the Temple, the Sanctuary, and the Holy of Holies were a mere foreshadowing of the reality of the Incarnation, in which the Word would take flesh from Woman and dwell among us.

For this reason, the Church sought other explanations for the brothers of Jesus in both the Gospel text and the practice of Israel. The simplest is linguistic. The Greek word “adelphoi” used in the New Testament is equivocal, and can refer to blood brothers, other close male relatives but also spiritual kindship. A Jew was a member of a family, a tribe and Israel. We have similar usages today, both culturally and in the Church, where we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.

The other explanation is that Joseph was a widower with children, and these were the brothers and sisters of the Lord. However, if this were true, then the fact that from the Cross Jesus entrusted His Mother to John, a non-brother, remains a puzzling contradiction. 

Both explanations have in common, however, that Jesus had no blood brothers, since Mary bore only one Child, the Word-made-flesh, and together, Mother and Son, fulfilled all the foreshadowing of the Old Covenant with respect to this sublime mystery. 

“[Y]ou, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And convince some, who doubt; save some, by snatching them out of the fire; on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” – Epistle of St. Jude, verses 20-23

How was St. Jude martyred?

One account has St. Jude being martyred by axe or spear while preaching together with St. Simon in Persia. Another account states he was martyred in Beirut, in Lebanon, by axe. The common element is the axe, which, in fact, became a symbol associated with Jude Thaddeus. 

What is Jude the Apostle the patron saint of?

St. Jude is popularly known for being the patron saint of impossible causes. 

What can we learn from St. Jude?

Pope Benedict XVI taught:

[W]ith regard to Jude Thaddaeus, this is what tradition has called him, combining two different names: in fact, whereas Matthew and Mark call him simply "Thaddaeus" (Mt 10: 3; Mk 3: 18), Luke calls him "Judas, the son of James" (Lk 6: 16; Acts 1: 13).

The nickname "Thaddaeus" is of uncertain origin and is explained either as coming from the Aramaic, taddà', which means "breast" and would therefore suggest "magnanimous", or as an abbreviation of a Greek name, such as "Teodòro, Teòdoto".

Very little about him has come down to us. John alone mentions a question he addressed to Jesus at the Last Supper: Thaddaeus says to the Lord: "Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us and not to the world?"

This is a very timely question which we also address to the Lord: why did not the Risen One reveal himself to his enemies in his full glory in order to show that it is God who is victorious? Why did he only manifest himself to his disciples? Jesus' answer is mysterious and profound. The Lord says: "If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him" (Jn 14: 22-23).

This means that the Risen One must be seen, must be perceived also by the heart, in a way so that God may take up his abode within us. The Lord does not appear as a thing. He desires to enter our lives, and therefore his manifestation is a manifestation that implies and presupposes an open heart. Only in this way do we see the Risen One.

What can we learn from St. Jude’s Epistle?

Pope Benedict XVI taught:

The paternity of one of those New Testament Letters known as "catholic," since they are not addressed to a specific local Church but intended for a far wider circle, has been attributed to Jude Thaddaeus. Actually, it is addressed "to those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ" (v. 1).

A major concern of this writing is to put Christians on guard against those who make a pretext of God's grace to excuse their own licentiousness and corrupt their brethren with unacceptable teachings, introducing division within the Church "in their dreamings" (v. 8).

This is how Jude defines their doctrine and particular ideas. He even compares them to fallen angels and, mincing no words, says that "they walk in the way of Cain" (v. 11).

Furthermore, he brands them mercilessly as "waterless clouds, carried along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars for whom the nether gloom of darkness has been reserved for ever" (vv. 12-13).

Today, perhaps, we are no longer accustomed to using language that is so polemic, yet that tells us something important. In the midst of all the temptations that exist, with all the currents of modern life, we must preserve our faith's identity. Of course, the way of indulgence and dialogue, on which the Second Vatican Counsel happily set out, should certainly be followed firmly and consistently.

But this path of dialogue, while so necessary, must not make us forget our duty to rethink and to highlight just as forcefully the main and indispensable aspects of our Christian identity. Moreover, it is essential to keep clearly in mind that our identity requires strength, clarity, and courage in light of the contradictions of the world in which we live.

Thus, the text of the Letter continues: "But you, beloved" - he is speaking to all of us -, "build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And convince some, who doubt..." (vv. 20-22).

The Letter ends with these most beautiful words: "To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God, our Saviour through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and for ever. Amen" (vv. 24-25).

It is easy to see that the author of these lines lived to the full his own faith, to which realities as great as moral integrity and joy, trust and lastly praise belong, since it is all motivated solely by the goodness of our one God and the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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