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Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Apostles
by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876
Feast day: October 28
Saint Simon, whose festival the Catholic Church commemorates today, was surnamed the Cananaean or Canaanite, because he was born at Cana, a town in Galilee. In this town, Jesus wrought his first miracle, by changing water into wine, as is known from the Gospel. Nicephorus and some others are of opinion, that Simon was the bridegroom whose wedding our Lord and His holy Mother honored with their presence, but that he afterwards left his bride with her consent and followed Christ.

Saint Jude, the brother of Simon, is called Thaddseus to distinguish him from the other Jude or Judas’ who betrayed and sold the Lord. According to Nicephorus, Mary Cleophas was their mother, and James the Less their brother. Other writers say that Simon and Jude were not brothers.

The Gospel tells us that both Simon and Jude were chosen by Christ as Apostles; but when or under what circumstances this took place, is not recorded, nor have any particulars of their words and actions been left us. There is, however, not the slightest doubt that they, as all the others, constantly followed the Saviour, and although they forsook Him when He was taken prisoner, they had, after His resurrection, the grace to see Him frequently, to be present at His Ascension, and to receive the Holy Ghost on Pentecost.

When, later, the Apostles separated to preach the Gospel, Saint Simon went to Egypt and Saint Jude to Mesopotamia. Both however, were also in other lands, to preach the word of Christ, and after thus spending 30 years in apostolic labors, they met again, by divine dispensation, in Persia.
On their arrival in this land, they found the Persian army in the field; for the King had declared war against India, and was in the act of marching against it. Baradach, the general in chief, had offered many sacrifices to the gods, desiring to know the issue of the war; but no answer was given, which had always been given before, as the Evil spirits spoke through the idols. Hence Baradach, amazed at such unusual silence, sent for another idol which was kept in a place far from the camp, and desired to know the reason for the silence. Satan, answering through it, said, that the presence of two Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ was the cause of the silence of the gods, as the power of these two Apostles was so great, that not one of the gods, until now so greatly honored, dared to appear before them.

Baradach, having received this answer, had the two Apostles brought before him. He met them with great manifestations of respect and listened to them while they spoke to him of the nothingness of the gods which he worshipped. As he was desirous to know the issue of the war, they made use of the occasion to show him how false were the words of the idols and hence how groundless was the notion of their divinity. They bade him propose his questions to the idols, through the magicians as usual, and told him that they would give his gods permission to speak.

The magicians were ordered to ask the gods, and returned with the answer, that the result would be a long, bloody, and disastrous war. The Apostles having heard this, said to Baradach: "Now, great prince, recognize the falsity and the deceit as well of your magicians as of your gods. A deputation of the Indians will arrive tomorrow, at this hour, in your camp, to request peace of you on whatever conditions you may choose to prescribe."
Baradach, surprised at these words, awaited with great impatience the following day. At the very hour the Apostles had foretold, the Indian embassy came humbly begging for peace, which was forthwith concluded.

This event was reported to the king, who resided at Babylon. He called the Apostles into his presence, listened with great attention to their words, and after having been sufficiently instructed in Christianity, was baptized by his holy teachers. The example of the king was followed by the whole court and a great part of the city. After this, the holy men went through the other towns and villages of the kingdom, everywhere preaching the mysteries and truths of the Christian faith. Many thousands became converts, only the magicians and fortune-tellers remained in their blindness, and seeing, with deep resentment, that they were everywhere despised and derided, they sought means to kill the holy Apostles.

To this end, they excited the inhabitants of a town, which was far distant from the residence of the king, against the Saints, who had no sooner arrived there than thay were seized and dragged, the one before an idol of the sun, the other before that of the moon, and were commanded to offer incense. The holy men refused to comply with so wicked a demand, saying that they sacrificed only to the true God; after which they began to preach the Gospel. But the furious Pagans refused to listen to them, and in their rage, cut Saint Simon asunder with a saw, and beheaded Saint Jude. In this manner these two holy Apostles ended their lives and earned the glorious crown of martyrdom.
I cannot pass over in silence an event which took place while Saint Simon and Saint Jude preached the Gospel. The daughter of a noble Persian became the mother of a child, and said that a deacon of the Apostles was its father. The truth of this was not doubted, and the deacon was brought before the king. The holy Apostles, knowing that he was innocent, went to the king, and desired that the parents of the slanderer and the child should be summoned. When they appeared, one of the Saints asked the infant, in the presence of the king and the parents, whether the deacon was its father. The child answered loudly and distinctly: "No! the deacon is innocent."

The king and all present thanked and praised the Almighty who had so miraculously saved His servant. The parents, begging pardon of the latter, as well as of the Apostles, requested that the child should be asked who was its father, but the Apostles said: "We come not to accuse the guilty, but to protect the innocent." This great miracle was not only instrumental in increasing the esteem in which the holy Apostles were held, but was also the means of converting many heathens, and strengthening the faith of those who had already embraced Christianity.
It has further to be remarked that we have, in Holy Writ from the pen of Saint Jude, a short but powerful Epistle, in which he admonishes the faithful to guard themselves against those who, having forsaken the true Church, preach heresy; to remain constant in their faith, and to practise diligently all virtues, especially charity, chastity and purity. Luther rejected this Epistle from Holy Writ, though Saint Augustine had counted it among the inspired books more than a thousand years before, and also several Councils had declared it canonical. Without doubt Luther was actuated by the fact that he, and such as he, are painted with living colors in the same Epistle.

In the life of Saint Bernard we find that this Saint had a particular devotion to Saint Jude. He received, with extraordinary joy and veneration, the relics of this holy Apostle which were sent to him, and, on his death-bed, he requested that they should be laid on his breast and be buried with him.
Prayer from the Liturgical Year 1903
"It is not you (all) who have chosen me, but I that have chosen you; and I destined you to go out and bear fruit, and that fruit will be everlasting. In this manner, all that you ask the Father in my Name, He will grant you." (Saint John 15: 16)
These words were addressed by the Man-God to you, as to all the twelve, as the Church reminded us in her Night Office (Homily of the 3rd Nocturn, ex Aug). And yet, what remains now of the fruit of your labours in Egypt, in Mesopotamia, in Persia?

Can our Lord and His Church be mistaken in their words, or in their appreciations? Certainly not; and proof sufficient is, that, above the region of the senses, and beyond the domain of history, the power infused into the twelve subsists through all ages, and is active in every supernatural birth that developes the mystical Body of our Lord and increases the Church.
We, more truly than Tobias, are the children of saints (Tob. 2: 18); we are no longer strangers, but the family of God, His house built upon the foundation of Apostles and Prophets, united by Jesus the chief corner-stone (Eph. 2: 19, 20). All thanks be to you, O holy Apostles, who in labour and sufferings procured us this blessing. Maintain in us the title and the rights of this precious adoption.
Great evils surround us; is there any hope left in the world? The confidence of thy devout clients proclaims thee, O Jude, the patron of desperate cases; and for thee, O Simon, this is surely the time to prove thyself Zelotes, full of zeal. Deign, both of you, to hear the Church’s prayers; and aid Her, with all your apostolic might, to re-animate faith, to rekindle charity, and to save the world. Amen
Virgin and Child with Saints Simon and Jude (Madonna di San Simon) by Federico Fiori Barocci; 1567; Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, Urbino, Italia; https://www.wga.hu
Apostle Saint Simon by El Greco; 1610-1614; Museo de El Greco, Toledo, Spain; https://www.wga.hu
Apostle Saint Jude Thaddeus by El Greco; 1610-1614; Museo de El Greco, Toledo, Spain; https://www.wga.hu
October 28 - Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles and Martyrs - Zealous for the Salvation of Souls
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