I respect the views of my fellow-Catholics on the efficacy of appealing to saints for their intercession, though it's not a practice I adhere to, BUT I have a remarkable tale to tell.
Two years ago, Sunderland Football Club had an abysmal run of eighteen losses on the trot. It was almost unbelievable ... After the sixth successive defeat, I stopped offering sympathy, and holding out hope for victory 'next time'. After the seventeenth defeat I mentioned that it might be time to call upon St Jude... .
Sunderland won the following match, then sufficient in number to avoid relegation from the Premier Division, which ought to be counted a miracle. I was just as amazed as the Football Fan in the household, which shouldn't surprise you. Oddly enough, a brief mention to the hallowed gentleman this weekend seems to have pulled off a last minute goal against arch-rivals Newcastle United. This was definitely a mixed blessing, as I support Newcastle, when I remember to do so: though not seriously since the charming Rud Gullit was given the push, many moons ago.
Prayer seems so arbitrary to me. The queen appears to be long reigning over us, which might prove something, but death, disease and misfortune seem to be impervious to entreaty. Yet, I persist, because it helps. Which is to say, it helps ME. At least, in the face of the inevitable and sad, I feel as if I've done something.
Perhaps St Jude feels the same way.