September 30, 2014 (St. Jerome)

On September 30, AD 420, Jerome died. He was quite a character. In his early years, he led what is usually called a “dissolute life,” he pampered his fleshy desires (not unlike is contemporary St. Augustine of Hippo). He studied rhetoric and other pagan oriented subjects; he converted to Catholicism; he studied language (in the Dark Ages he was about the only one who was fluent in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Chaldean and other languages). He worked in Administration in Rome until he made so many enemies he fled to the Holy Land. He had a “vitriolic pen” and a large temper that got him into disagreements with many including St. Augustine of Hippo. Despite their vitriolic correspondence, St. Augustine said that what Jerome didn’t know was not known by anyone. Jerome spent time in contemplation and spent many years in Bethlehem where he died. He translated the Bible into latin, “The Vulgate” translation which was the authorized translation of the Bible according to the Catholic Church for centuries. “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ,” he wrote. He led a full life!

What do I take away from all this? Well, if someone like Jerome could be a canonized saint, well, there is hope for all of us with our own short comings.

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