Feast of St Jerome
The Dalmate dazzled by the Word!
The Church celebrates the feast day of Jerome, the great saint and Doctor of Aquile who became Jerome of Bethlehem and the Bible.
His life provides us with lessons of love emanating from a soul on fire with the light of the Savior, the Light, who came into this world. Jerome ‘s personality and temperament tested the patience of many of his contemporaries. But in his humility and with a heart of gold, he became worthy of their forgiveness and understanding.
1) Jerome was “seized by the love of Christ, a divine love that releases, contains, compresses and traps, from the Greek verb συνεχει” synechei “in 2 Cor 5: 14. Jerome deeply embraced this love of Christ after living a very worldly life plunged into a world of darkness.
Like the Apostle of Nations, Jerome declared (Phil 3:8): “More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”
2)Despite the challenges of biblical languages, mainly Semitic, Jerome tenaciously delved into the deeper and more profound meaning of Sacred Scripture texts and translations. Today, translations, dictionaries, and commentaries are available for study, research, reflection and meditation references. It would be ideally desirable to return to the original texts despite our reservations (especially to the Hebrew and Arab Christians). The a return to the Aramaic would give us an insight and awareness of our Lord’s mother tongue. For too long, being Catholic meant ignorance of Scripture. Jerome denies this identification. It is a challenge for us to revive and renew the desire for knowledge of the Word of God.
3) Saint Jerome travelled through of cultural, political and ecclesiastical administration capitals: Rome, Antioch, Constantinople, once one church. Pray for the restoration of the church body known to Jerome, “one faith, one baptism” in these areas where there are still many churches who are not in true communion with each other.
4) Love for the Holy Land. + The Word was made flesh (John 1, 1) in Nazareth, and most of the characters of the Old and New Testament were born in Palestine.
5) The love of the Cross. In the Eastern churches, we are in the “time of the Cross.” An excerpt from Jerome tells of conversion and consolation as we unite our sufferings to the Cross.
6) Respect for Women and collaboration with Religious. It was unexpected for St. Jerome, the obstinate ascetic, to collaborate with less reputable women from Rome. It was faith, sincerity and integrity of Jerome, the priest which attracted disciples of the disciple of the Crucified. The women literally followed the Divine Master and the spiritual father to the Grotto of Bethlehem! Let us appreciate the grace to live in Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusalem.
The Church of Jerusalem strongly encourages people from foreign countries to come on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Unlike Saint Jerome, Saint Paul and Eustochium, it is unfortunately challenging to do so today. For six decades now, it has been extremely difficult to reside in Palestine.
Jerome studied the Word of God to the full, almost to blindness. But he had seen “the Light of the World
P. P. Madros