Saint Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church

Saint Jerome is something of an enigma.  He wasn’t the epitome of the quiet, scholarly saint that one might think him to be.  Perhaps unfortunately, he was known for his quick temper and sometimes mean-spirited pen.  If they had email in those days, he’d probably be the one to fire off a quick nastygram without even taking time to think about it.

But we need to be extremely thankful for Saint Jerome as we open up the Scriptures today.  Without his tireless efforts, our understanding of Sacred Scripture would be quite limited, I think.  It was Saint Jerome who spent so much time translating the Scriptures from Hebrew and Greek into Latin, creating what was know as the Vulgate translation.  This was the standard text of the Scriptures for a long time in the Church, and is still an important basis for today’s English-language and other translations.  His commentaries on the Scriptures are important to us to this very day.

Jerome was a pre-eminent scholar.  He studied the Scriptures all the time and was an expert in Biblical languages including Hebrew, Greek, Chaldaic and of course Latin.  He also spent a good deal of time in the Holy Land, walking the path of Christ, staying in the places where he stayed, even living for a time in the cave believed to have been Jesus’ birthplace.  He wasn’t just a scholar studying the Scriptures from a theoretical viewpoint; he was instead devoted to the Scriptures, pouring through them with love.  He once said that “ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”  To know the Lord, we have to immerse ourselves in Scripture.

For those of you who are part of our Biblical Institute or our Bible Studies, today is a Patronal feast day for you.  Saint Jerome’s love of Scripture has made it possible for all of us to come to know Christ in a more intimate way through our own study and devotion to the Word of God.  Saint Jerome, pray for us, and lead us back to the Scriptures with the same love and devotion you had.

St. Jerome

Today’s readings

“But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.”

These are the words that Jesus speaks to one of the crowd following him today.  Get your priorities straight and set out doing the ministry you have been called to do.  These are words that St. Jerome took to heart.  He immersed his entire life into the Sacred Scriptures, living for a time in the cave thought to be the birthplace of Jesus, going to the Holy Land to get to know the context of the Scriptures.  He certainly proclaimed the Kingdom of God, translating the Scriptures from Hebrew and Greek into Latin, creating what came to be known as the Vulgate edition.  His work is still an important basis for today’s modern translations, and his commentaries are extremely well-respected to this day.  We too are told to go and proclaim the Kingdom of God in our own way, perhaps not knowing the Scriptures as well as St. Jerome, but loving them none the less.

St. Jerome

Today’s readings

It seems like St. Jerome had much in common with the disciples of today’s Gospel reading.  Jerome, rather unfortunately, was known for his quick temper and sometimes mean-spirited pen.  If they had email in those days, he’d be the one to fire off a quick nastygram without even taking time to think about it.  We all have our issues to deal with, unfortunately.

But we need to be extremely thankful for St. Jerome as we open up the Scriptures today.  Without his tireless efforts, our understanding of Sacred Scripture would be quite limited, I think.  It was St. Jerome who spent so much time translating the Scriptures from Hebrew and Greek into Latin, creating what was know as the Vulgate translation.  This was the standard text of the Scriptures for a long time in the Church, and is still an important basis for today’s vernacular translations.  His commentaries on the Scriptures are important to us to this very day.

Jerome was a pre-eminent scholar.  He studied the Scriptures all the time and was an expert in Biblical languages including Hebrew, Greek, Chaldaic and of course Latin.  He also spent a good deal of time in the Holy Land, walking the path of Christ, staying in the places where he stayed, even living for a time in the cave believed to have been Jesus’ birthplace.  He wasn’t just a scholar studying the Scriptures from a theoretical viewpoint; he was instead devoted to the Scriptures, pouring through them with love.

For those of you who are part of our CREEDS Bible Study, today is a Patronal feast day for you.  St. Jerome’s love of Scripture has made it possible for all of us to come to know Christ in a more intimate way through our own study and devotion to the Word of God.  In honor of his feast, I will leave us all with the advice of one of my seminary professors.  Be certain to read some Scripture every day, even if it’s just a few verses before you turn off the lamp at night.  If you do that, on your last day on earth, you’ll close your eyes and be able to open them up in heaven and know exactly where you are.  Scripture gives us that intimate relationship with our God.  St. Jerome, pray for us, and lead us back to the Scriptures with the same love and devotion you had.