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Friday, September 30, 2005
St. Jerome
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Memorial (1969 Calendar): September 30
Double (1955 Calendar): September 30

Today is the Church remembers St. Jerome (347 - 419). St. Jerome was born to a wealthy pagan family, and he spent his youth in pursuit of worldly values before going to study law in Rome. In 365 AD, St. Jerome was baptized and converted to the Catholic Faith, the only Christian Faith at the time. After his interior conversion, St. Jerome began to live as a monk. He lived for many years in the Syrian Desert as a hermit.

It is said that one one occasion, St. Jerome removed a thorn from a lion' s paw, and the animal stayed loyally at his side for years. St. Jerome was a Student of Saint Gregory of Nazianzen and became a priest. He was also the Secretary to Pope Damasus I, who commissioned St. Jerome to revise the Latin text of the Bible. After 30 years, the Latin Vulgate was created. St. Jerome was also the friend and teacher of Saint Paula, Saint Marcella, and Saint Eustochium. After all of this, St. Jerome returned to live as a hermit in the Syrian deserts and remained there for the last 34 years of his life.

St. Jerome wrote translations of Origen, histories, biographies, and much more. He is also a Doctor of the Church as well as a Father of the Church. In 419 AD, St. Jerome died, and his relics are at the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome.

We can learn from Saint Jerome, not that sainthood is only for hermits, but that sainthood is made of many paths that all intersect in the one to come on the narrow road. We can be hermits, priests, layman, etc. But we can still find Christ. The most important thing though is that no matter what title that we have in front of our name (Mr., Fr., etc) we remember that we have a more important title - Catholic. And we should live the Catholic life in its entirety by not only going to Mass but by prayer to God and love for Him and others. Love is the road to Heaven.

Spiritus Paraclitus:
Since the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, had bestowed the Scriptures on the human race for their instruction in Divine things, He also raised up in successive ages saintly and learned men whose task it should be to develop that treasure and so provide for the faithful plenteous "consolation from the Scriptures."[1] Foremost among these teachers stands St. Jerome. Him the Catholic Church acclaims and reveres as her "Greatest Doctor," divinely given her for the understanding of the Bible. And now that the fifteenth centenary of his death is approaching we would not willingly let pass so favorable an opportunity of addressing you on the debt we owe him. For the responsibility of our Apostolic office impels us to set before you his wonderful example and so promote the study of Holy Scripture in accordance with the teaching of our predecessors, Leo XIII and Pius X, which we desire to apply more precisely still to the present needs of the Church. For St. Jerome -- "strenuous Catholic, learned in the Scriptures,"[2] "teacher of Catholics,"[3] "model of virtue, world's teacher"[4] -- has by his earnest and illuminative defense of Catholic doctrine on Holy Scripture left us most precious instructions. These we propose to set before you and so promote among the children of the Church, and especially among the clergy, assiduous and reverent study of the Bible.

ENCYCLICAL OF POPE BENEDICT XV ON ST. JEROME SEPTEMBER 15, 1920
Prayer:

O God, Who in blessed Jerome, Thy Confessor, didst vouchsafe to provide for Thy Church a great teacher for expounding the Sacred Scripture: grant, we beseech Thee, that through his merits and prayers we may be able, by the help of Thy grace, to practice what he taught by both word and example. Through our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

Image Source: St. Jerome in his Study by Domenico Ghirlandaio. 1480. Fresco, 184 x 119 cm. Ognissanti, Florence

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