St. Jude's Life

Christ established a Church on earth, endowed it with every means of sanctity and grace. He selected twelve men whom he specially trained for the ministry and these were to be his College of Apostles who were to preach the Gospel to all the nations. After Pentecost we see these Apostles animated with a deep love for their Divine Master, facing endless persecutions, and preaching Christ crucified throughout the world. They detached themselves from worldly affairs, and in fact, left all things, for the sake of Christ. It was quite clear to them that in order to love God and to taste his love they had to disentangle themselves from all attachment to created things, in short they had to die to themselves before living for Him. This was the mystery which Christ unfolded to St. Jude, his kinsman and one of the apostles.

St. Jude was son of Alpheus (Cleophas), brother of St. Joseph, foster-father of our Lord. Cleophas was a very faithful disciple of Christ and was one of the two disciples to whom our Lord appeared on the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. Cleophas was later put to death by the Jews because he gave public testimony of the Resurrection of our Lord, and thus won the crown of martyrdom. The mother of St. Jude was Mary Cleophas, a close relative of the mother of Jesus, and one of the holy women who stood at the foot of the Cross on Calvary. Her holy body remains at Verulis and great miracles have been wrought at her grave. St. Jude was therefore a close relative of our Lord through his father and his mother. He is one of the few Saints who enjoys proximity of actual relationship to the brothers, like himself became martyrs for the sake of Christ, namely St. James, as we see in the New Testament and Simon of Jerusalem. There is also mention of one Joses and all of them are called the brethren of our Lord (Mt 28:55).

From his early childhood St. Jude had the privilege of being in frequent association with the boy Jesus. He and the other members of the family were doubtless quite at home in the little house of the Holy Family at Nazareth, with Mary and Joseph their close relatives. This association certainly had a great influence on Jude, the future Apostole, who, like his Master was dominated by the virtue of love. Nothing is heard of him in the Gospel until we find him numbered among the Apostles (cf. Lk 6:16).

After the Last Supper when Christ promised to manifest himself to everyone who would love him, St. Jude asked him why he did not manifest himself to the whole world. Christ answered that he would visit all those who love him and would admit them to intimate communication of grace (Jn 14:22-23).

In his later years St. Jude was privileged to be enumerated among the sacred writers of the Scriptures. He wrote an epistle which, though short, is exalted in language and inspiring in matter. His great humility and his self-effacement are clearly seen from the "Epistle," where far off from making any reference of his kinship to our Lord, he describes himself as "Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ," by which he meant an apostolic minister or labourer. He also refers to himself as the "brother of James," as James the Less, who became the Bishop of Jerusalem.

James the Less was better known than St. Jude in the early Church.