3/1/2004 Letting St. Jude "Work" Through You
St. Jude has a well-deserved reputation as a special friend we can turn to in all times of need, from challenging problems to life-impacting situations. We have become quite used to viewing him as our "go-to-Saint".
Our relationship with him seems to operate this way: we decide we need help, we pray for his intercession to Jesus on our behalf, and then we wait, hope, and have faith that we will have our life impacted in some way according to God's plan for us.
There is another powerful aspect to this relationship that most of us have probably never considered.
It's the idea that, in the midst of all our needs, concerns, and problems, we should be looking to do good and show kindness to those around us.
"Excuse me," I can hear you saying. "This is MY problem we're focusing on. How about I wait until MY prayers are answered, and then I can show my gratitude by helping other people."
Well, I'll give you three reasons why it's so important for St. Jude followers to incorporate doing good to others in their lives, ESPECIALLY when they are going through difficulties of their own :
1.) AS CHRISTIANS, WE ARE CALLED TO DO SO. The Bible contains numerous references to the importance of doing good while on this earth. For example, "..faith without good works is dead" (James 2:26). It is our actions we will be judged upon, and these actions must reflect our faith in Jesus Christ.
2.) DOING GOOD FEELS GOOD! Think about it: The reason we usually go to St. Jude in the first place is usually because we feel powerless to fix or deal with something in our lives. It is this powerlessness that leads to frustration, depression, and often, hopelessness.
But even during this pain, the one thing we DO have power over is what we say and do to each other. There is no better way to regain control and start to find healing in your own life than to see the positive effect your kindness can have on someone else. It reaffirms your self-worth, puts your mind on a productive path, and provides a type of positive therapy.
3.) YOU COULD BE PART OF THE ANSWER TO SOMEONE ELSE'S NOVENA! More often than not, when St. Jude followers tell me that they have felt evidence of God's hand in their lives, they mention that there are other people involved. Whether it be a caring word from a health care professional, a change of heart from an estranged spouse, or a word of support from a superior, we sense St. Jude working though those around us on our behalf.
As I have written before, the St. Jude Novena is not a one-way, one-dimensional deal, where you say a prayer and then sit back and wait for it to happen.
We have to get involved. In our own lives and in the lives of those around us.
I am sure that we are all connected as brothers and sisters. We are called to be involved with improving and enriching the lives of those around us. If we can pray over each other's concerns, it's only natural that, when we have the chance, we should help make those prayers a reality.
It can be as simple as a supportive chat with a colleague or a bit of extra politeness to a stranger. Perhaps even a special action toward someone whom you have a rocky relationship with. You might be amazed how good it feels to see someone's appreciative reaction to your kindness. Maybe not enough to make you forget your problems, but don't be surprised if it helps restore, just a little, your faith in yourself and your ability to stay strong and hopeful, as St. Jude has encouraged us to be.
So, go ahead. Do or say something good to someone--something that maybe yesterday you would not have even considered.
You could be helping fulfill somebody else's prayers without even knowing it.
You'll be doing a beautiful favor for them. And a special one for yourself.
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