October 28, 2017: SS. SIMON AND JUDE
October 28, 2017: SS. SIMON AND JUDE, APOSTLES
Rank: Double of the II Class.
“I have chosen you; and have appointed you, that you should go, and should bring forth fruit, and your fruit should remain.”
(St. John, xv. 16)
O God, who, by thy blessed Apostles Simon and Jude, hast taught us to know thee; grant we may solemnize their eternal glory with true devotion, and, by observing their festival, be improved in the love of thee. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
St. Simon is represented in art with a saw, the instrument of his martyrdom. St. Jude’s square points him out as an architect of the house of God. St. Paul called himself by this name (I Cor, iii. 10); and St. Jude, by his Catholic Epistle, has also a special right to be reckoned among our Lord’s principal workmen. But our apostle had another nobility, far surpassing all earthly titles: being nephew, by his father Cleophas or Alpheus, to St. Joseph, and legal cousin to the Man-God, Jude was one of those called by their compatriots the brethren of the carpenter’s Son (Together with James the Less, apostle, and first bishop of Jerusalem, a certain Joseph less known, and Simeon, second bishop of Jerusalem, all sons of Cleophas, and of our Lady’s sister-in-law called in St. John’s gospel Mary of Cleophas; St. Matt. xiii. 55). We may gather from St. John’s Gospel another precious detail concerning him. In the admirable discourse at the close of the last Supper, our Lord said: ‘He that loveth Me, shall be loved of My Father: and I will love him and will manifest Myself to him.’ Then Jude asked Him: ‘Lord, how is it, that Thou wilt manifest Thyself to us, and not to the world?’ And he received from Jesus this reply: ‘If any one love Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and will make Our abode with him. He that loveth Me not keepeth not My word. And the word which you have heard is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.’ (St. John, xiv. 21-24)
Ecclesiastical history informs us that, towards the end of his reign, and when the persecution he had raised was at its height, Domitian caused to be brought to him from the east two grandsons of the apostle St. Jude. He had some misgivings with regard to these descendants of David’s royal line; for they represented the family of Christ Himself, whom His disciples declared to be king of the whole world. Domitian was able to assure himself that these two humble Jews could in no way endanger the empire; and that if they attributed to Christ sovereign power, it was a power not to be visibly exercised till the end of the world. The simple and courageous language of these two men made such an impression on the emperor, that according to the historian Hegesippus from whom Eusebius borrowed the narrative, he gave orders for the persecution to be suspended.
We have only to add to the following brief notice of our apostles, that the churches of St. Peter in Rome and Saint-Sernin at Toulouse dispute the honour of possessing the greater part of their holy remains.
Simon surnamed the Chanaanite and Zelotes, and Thaddeus [St. Jude] the writer of one of the Catholic Epistles, who is called also in the Gospel Jude the brother of James, preached the Gospel, the former in Egypt, the latter in Mesopotamia. They rejoined each other in Persia, where they beget numerous children to Jesus Christ, and spread the faith among the barbarous inhabitants of that vast region. By their teaching and miracles, and finally by a glorious martyrdom, they both rendered great honour to the most holy name of Jesus Christ.
Life of St. Simon, surnamed the Zealot.
St. Simon is surnamed the Cananæan or Canaanite, and the Zealot, to distinguish him from St. Peter, and from St. Simeon, the brother of St. James the Less, and his successor in the see of Jerusalem. From the first of these surnames some have thought that St. Simon was born at Cana, in Galilee: certain modern Greeks pretend that it was at his marriage that our Lord turned the water into wine. It is not to be doubted but he was a Galilæan. Theodoret says, of the tribe either of Zabulon or Nepthali. Hammond and Grotius think that St. Simon was called the Zealot, before his coming to Christ, because he was one of that particular sect or party among the Jews called Zealots, from a singular zeal they possessed for the honour of God, and the purity of religion. A party called Zealots were famous in the war of the Jews against the Romans. They were main instruments in instigating the people to shake off the yoke of subjection; they assassinated many of the nobility and others, in the streets, filled the temple itself with bloodshed and other horrible profanations, and were the chief cause of the ruin of their country. But no proof is offered by which it is made to appear that any such party existed in our Saviour's time, though some then maintained that it was not lawful for a Jew to pay taxes to the Romans. At least if any then took the name Zealots, they certainly neither followed the impious conduct, nor adopted the false and inhuman maxims of those mentioned by Josephus in his history of the Jewish war against the Romans.
St. Simon, after his conversion, was zealous for the honour of his Master, and exact in all the duties of the Christian religion; and showed a pious indignation toward those who professed this holy faith with their mouths, but dishonoured it by the irregularity of their lives. No further mention appears of him in the gospels, than that he was adopted by Christ into the college of the apostles. With the rest he received the miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost, which he afterwards exercised with great zeal and fidelity. If this apostle preached in Egypt, Cyrene, and Mauritania, he returned into the East; for the Martyrologies of St. Jerom, Bede, Ado, and Usuard, place his martyrdom in Persia, at a city called Suanir, possibly in the country of the Suani, a people in Colchis, or a little higher in Sarmatia, then allied with the Parthians in Persia; which may agree with a passage in the Acts of St. Andrew, that in the Cimmerian Bosphorus there was a tomb in a grot, with an inscription importing that Simon the Zealot was interred there. His death is said in these Martyrologies to have been procured by the idolatrous priests. Those who mention the manner of his death say he was crucified. St. Peter's Church on the Vatican at Rome, and the Cathedral of Toulouse are said to possess the chief portions of the relics of SS. Simon and Jude.
Life of St. Jude, surnamed Thaddæus.
The apostle St. Jude is distinguished from the Iscariot by the surname of Thaddæus, which signifies in Syriac, praising or confession (being of the same import with the Hebrew word Judas), also by that of Lebbæus, which is given him in the Greek text of St. Matthew. St. Jude was brother to St. James the Less, as he styles himself in his epistle; likewise of St. Simeon of Jerusalem, and of one Joses, who are styled the brethren of our Lord (St. Matt. xiii. 55), and were sons of Cleophas, and Mary, sister to the Blessed Virgin. This apostle's kindred and relation to our Saviour exalted him not so much in his Master's eyes as his contempt of the world, the ardour of his holy zeal and love, and his sufferings for his sake. It is not known when and by what means he became a disciple of Christ; nothing having been said of him in the gospels before we find him enumerated in the catalogue of the apostles. After the last supper, when Christ promised to manifest himself to everyone who should love him, St. Jude asked him, why he did not manifest himself to the world? By which question, he seems to have expressed his expectation of a secular kingdom of the Messias. Christ by his answer satisfied him that the world is unqualified for divine manifestations, being a stranger and an enemy to what must fit souls for a fellowship with heaven; but that he would honour those who truly love him with his familiar converse, and would admit them to intimate communications of grace and favour.
After our Lord's ascension and the descent of the Holy Ghost, St. Jude set out with the other great conquerors of the world and hell, to pull down the prince of darkness from his usurped throne; which this little troop undertook to effect armed only with the word of God, and his Spirit. Nicephorus, Isidore, and the Martyrologies tell us, that St. Jude preached up and down Judæa, Samaria, Idumæa, and Syria; especially in Mesopotamia. St. Paulinus says, that St. Jude planted the faith in Libya. This apostle returned from his missions to Jerusalem in the year 62, after the martyrdom of his brother, St. James [the Less], and assisted at the election of St. Simeon, who was likewise his brother. He wrote a catholic or general epistle to all the churches of the East, particularly addressing himself to the Jewish converts, amongst whom he had principally laboured. St. Peter had wrote to the same two epistles before this, and in the second had chiefly in view to caution the faithful against the errors of the Simonians, Nicholaits, and Gnostics. The havoc which these heresies continued to make among souls stirred up the zeal of St. Jude, who sometimes copied certain expressions of St. Peter, and seems to refer to the epistles of SS. Peter and Paul as if the authors were then no more. The heretics he describes by many strong epithets and similies, and calls them wandering meteors which seem to blaze for a while, but set in eternal darkness. The source of their fall he points out by saying they are murmurers, and walk after their own lusts; for being enslaved to pride, envy, the love of sensual pleasure, and other passions, and neglecting to crucify the desires of the flesh in their hearts, they were strangers to sincere humility, meekness, and interior peace. The apostle exhorts the faithful to treat those who were fallen with tender compassion, making a difference between downright malice and weakness, and endeavouring by holy fear to save them, by plucking them as brands out of the fire of vice and heresy, and hating the very garment that is spotted with iniquity. He puts us in mind to have always before our eyes the great obligation we lie under of incessantly building up our spiritual edifice of charity, by praying in the Holy Ghost, growing in the love of God, and imploring his mercy through Christ. From Mesopotamia St. Jude travelled into Persia. Fortunatus and the western Martyrologists tell us, that the apostle St. Jude suffered martyrdom in Persia; the Menology of the Emperor Basil, and some other Greeks say at Arat or Ararat, in Armenia, which at that time was subject to the Parthian empire, and consequently esteemed part of Persia. Many Greeks say he was shot to death with arrows: some add whilst he was tied on a cross. The Armenians at this day challenge him and St. Bartholomew for the first planters of the faith among them.
We owe to God a homage of eternal praise and thanks for the infinite mercy by which he has established a church on earth, and a church so richly furnished with every powerful means of sanctity and grace; a church in which his name is always glorified; and many souls, both by the purity of their love and virtue, and by their holy functions, are associated to the company of the blessed angels. It ought also to be our first and constant petition in our most earnest addresses to God, as we learn from our Lord's prayer, and as the first dictates of divine charity and religion teach us, that for the glory of his holy name he vouchsafes to protect and preserve his church, according to his divine word; to dilate its pale, to sanctify its members, and to fill its pastors with the same spirit with which he so wonderfully enriched his apostles, whom he was pleased to choose for the foundation of this sacred edifice. If we desire to inherit a share of those abundant and precious graces which God pours forth upon those souls which he disposes to receive them, we must remember that he never imparts them but to those who sincerely study to die to themselves, and to extirpate all inordinate attachments and affections out of their hearts; so long as any of these reign in a soul, she is one of that world to which God cannot manifest himself, or communicate the sweet relish of his love. This is the mystery which Christ unfolded to St. Jude.
Taken from: The Liturgical Year - Time after Pentecost, Vol. V, Edition 1910;
The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints, Vol. II; and
The Divine Office for the use of the Laity, Volume II, 1806.
Ss. Simon and Jude, pray for us.