28 October 2011

28 October - Saint Simon and Saint Jude

Weather:  Simon and Jude is almost certain to be rainy.

There is oft times a tempest on St. Jude.

"The birthday of the blessed apostles, Simon the Cananean, and Thaddeus, who is called Jude.  Simon preached the Gospel in Egypt, Thaddeus in Mesopotamia.  Afterwards, entering Persia together, they converted to Christ a numberless multitude of the inhabitants, and then underwent martyrdom."

[And the lands which they traversed need our prayers more than ever.  Saints Simon and Jude, intercede for the Christians in Egypt and the Middle East!]

Today is the feast of Saint Simon the Zealous and Saint Jude Thaddeus, Apostles and Martyrs; invoked against rheumatic pain [which cold, wet days are likely to aggravate].  Saint Simon, who (according to one tradition) was sawed in half, is the patron of those who use saws and other toothed instruments, like curry-combs.  Saint Jude is well known as the patron of hopeless problems and lost causes (you can still see any number of prayers to Saint Jude published in the newspapers).

The lives of both can be read here in the Golden Legend.

As Apostles go, these two are the obscure ones - Simon more so than Jude.  Jude, at least, wrote an epistle.  But where they preached and where they were martyred - even how they were martyred - is disputed.  Read an interesting disquisition on Saint Simon by Otto Hophan, OFM Cap.,  from which I take this comforting paragraph:

"Simon, the unknown apostle, is the patron of the countless Christians who go through life without fame, without a name. He is the patron of the army of unknown workers in the vineyard of the Lord, who toil in the last places for the kingdom of God. He is the patron of the unknown soldiers of Christ, who struggle on the disregarded and thankless fronts.  No one notices, no one praises, no one rewards this obscure and often misunderstood apostle - no one except the Father, who sees through all obscurity, who understands all misjudgments." 

Artwork: Workshop of Simone Martini, Saint Simon (left) and Saint Thaddeus (right), c1320.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

So, young ladies... you have dreamed of your future husband (Saint Faith's Eve) and found what kind of husband he will make (Saint Luke's Day).  Care to find out the initial of his surname? 

Take an apple and pare it whole (or as long of a paring as you can get).  Take the long paring in your right hand, stand in the middle of the room, and say: 

"Saint Simon and Jude, on you I intrude,
By this paring I hold, to discover
Without any delay, tell me this day,
The first letter of my own true lover." 

Then turn around three times (doesn't matter which way) and cast the paring over your left shoulder.  It will form the first letter of your future husband's surname.  If the paring breaks into many pieces, so that no letter is discernable, then you will never marry (at least, not this year). 

[Remember that there are several alphabets out there (my parings always look Cyrillic, if not Middle Eastern) and that even our own familiar Latin-based alphabet has several ways to form its letters.  If you can't tell immediately (with no cheating!) what initial the paring has formed, look up different fonts and alphabets.  I'm sure you will find something to match.] 

After throwing the parings as described, take the pips of the apple, put them in spring water, and swallow them. [Why?  Who knows?  The reason was never given.] 

Then explain to your mother why you are throwing garbage on the floor ("It's for a good cause!")