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ST JEROME, CONFESSOR AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH

ST JEROME, CONFESSOR AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH

ST JEROME, CONFESSOR AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH – MEMORIAL: SEPTEMBER 30

Jerome was born in Strido in Dalmatia. As a youth, he was baptised at Rome and was educated in the liberal arts by Donatus and other very learned men. From a religious motive he travelled through all of Palestine. Then he retired into the vast desert of Syria. There he spent four years reading the divinely inspired books and meditating upon the blessedness of heavenly things.

HE MEDITATED UPON THE BLESSEDNESS OF HEAVENLY THINGS

After being ordained a priest by Paulinus, Bishop of Antioch, he returned to Palestine, to Bethlehem, to be close by the Crib of Christ the Lord. Here he drew up for himself a holy rule and overcame the snares of the devil by pious works and constant reading and writing. From all over the world he was called upon as an inspired authority to settle questions about the interpretation of Sacred Scripture.

AN EXPERT IN THE INTERPRETATION OF SACRED SCRIPTURE 

Pope Damasus and St Augustine consulted him often about very difficult passages of Scripture because of his singular knowledge and understanding not only of the Latin and Greek languages, but also of Hebrew and Chaldaic. He translated the Old Testament from the Hebrew. At the command of Pope Damasus, he made a faithful translation of the New Testament from the Greek and also wrote commentaries on many parts of Scripture. In his extremely old age, he passed [A. D. 420]. He was buried in Bethlehem, and was later transferred to Rome and entombed in the basilica of St Mary Major.

PRAYER:

O God, who graciously gave your Church blessed Jerome, your Confessor and peerless teacher, to explain the Holy Scriptures, grant, we beseech you, that, with the help of his merits and by your assistance, we may be able to put into practice what he has taught us by his life and works. Through our Lord.

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964 [bold headings added]

 

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ALL SCRIPTURE, INSPIRED OF GOD, IS PROFITABLE TO TEACH… (2 TIM 3:16-17)

ALL SCRIPTURE, INSPIRED OF GOD, IS PROFITABLE TO TEACH… (2 TIM 3:16-17)

For preceding chapter, please click here..

Among the reasons for which Holy Scripture is so worthy of commendation – in addition to its own excellence and to the homage which we owe to God’s Word – the chief of all is, the innumerable benefits of which it is the source; according to the infallible testimony of the Holy Ghost Himself, who says: “All Scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice, that the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work.” That such was the purpose of God in giving the Scripture to men is shown by the example of Christ our Lord and of His Apostles. For He Himself Who “obtained authority by miracles, merited belief by authority, and by belief drew to Himself the multitude” was accustomed to the exercise of His Divine Mission, to appeal to the Scriptures. He used them at times to prove that He is sent by God, and is God Himself. From then He cites instructions for His disciples and confirmation of His doctrine.

He vindicates them from the calumnies of objectors; He quotes them against Sadducees and Pharisees, and retorts from them upon Satan himself when he dares to tempt Him. At the close of His life, His utterances are from Holy Scripture, and it is the Scripture that He expounds to His disciples after His resurrection, until He ascends to the glory of His Father.

Faithful to His precepts, the Apostles, although He Himself granted “signs and wonders to be done by their hands” nevertheless used with the greatest effect the sacred writings, in order to persuade the nations everywhere of the wisdom of Christianity, to conquer the obstinacy of the Jews, and to suppress the outbreak of heresy. This is plainly seen in their discourses, especially in those of St Peter: these were often little less than a series of citations from the Old Testament supporting in the strongest manner the new dispensation.

We find the same thing in the Gospels of St Matthew and St John and in the Catholic Epistles; and most remarkably of all in the words of him who “boasts that he learned the law at the feet of Gamaliel, in order that, being armed with spiritual weapons, he might afterwards say with confidence, ‘The arms of our warfare are not carnal but mighty onto God.'”

Let all, therefore, especially the novices of the ecclesiastical army, understand how deeply the sacred Books should be esteemed, and with what eagerness and reverence they should approach this great arsenal of heavenly arms. For those whose duty it is to handle Catholic doctrine before the learned or the unlearned will nowhere find more ample matter or more abundant exhortation, whether on the subject of God, the supreme Good and the all-perfect Being, or of the works which display His Glory and His love.

Nowhere is there anything more full or more express on the subject of the Saviour of the world than is to be found in the whole range of the Bible. As St Jerome says, “To be ignorant of the Scripture is not to know Christ.” In its pages His Image stands out, living and breathing; diffusing everywhere around consolation in trouble, encouragement to virtue and attraction to the love of God.

And as to the Church, her institutions, her nature, her office, and her gifts, we find in Holy Scripture so many references and so many ready and convincing arguments, that as St Jerome again most truly says: “A man who is well grounded in the testimonies of the Scripture is the bulwark of the Church.” And if we come to morality and discipline, an apostolic man finds in the sacred writings abundant and excellent assistance; most holy precepts, gentle and strong exhortation, splendid examples of every virtue, and finally the promise of eternal reward and the threat of eternal punishment, uttered in terms of solemn import, in God’s name and in God’s own words.

References: 2 Tim 3:16-17; St Augustine, De Utilitate Credendi xiv, 32; Acts 14:3 […]

For the next chapter, please click here.

– From: Providentissimus Deus, Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII on the Study of Holy Scripture, Rome, 1893

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2016 in Words of Wisdom

 

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SCRIPTURE STUDY SUITABLE TO THE NEEDS OF THE PRESENT DAY

SCRIPTURE STUDY SUITABLE TO THE NEEDS OF THE PRESENT DAY

For the preceding chapter (Part 1), please click here.

Now We, who by the help of God, and not without fruit, have by frequent Letters and exhortation endeavoured to promote other branches of study which seemed capable of advancing the glory of God and contributing to the salvation of souls, have for a long time cherished the desire to give an impulse to the noble science of Holy Scripture, and to impart to Scripture study a direction suitable to the needs of the present day.

The solicitude of the Apostolic office naturally urges, and even compels Us, not only to desire that this grand source of Catholic revelation should be made safely and abundantly accessible to the flock of Jesus Christ, but also not to suffer any attempt to defile or corrupt it, either on the part of those who impiously and openly assail the Scriptures, or of those who are led astray into fallacious and imprudent novelties.

We are not ignorant, indeed, Venerable Brethren, that there are not a few Catholics, men of talent and learning, who devote themselves with ardour to the defence of the sacred writings and to make them better known and understood. But whilst giving to these the commendation they deserve, We cannot but earnestly exhort others also, from whose skill and piety and learning We have a right to expect good results, to give themselves to the same most praiseworthy work. It is Our wish and fervent desire to see an increase in the number of approved and persevering labourers in the cause of Holy Scripture; and more especially that those whom Divine Grace has called to Holy Orders, should, day by day, as their state demands, display greater diligence and industry in reading, meditating, and explaining it.

For the next chapter (Part 3) please click here..

– From: Providentissimus Deus, Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII on the Study of Holy Scripture, Rome, 1893

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2016 in Words of Wisdom

 

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THE DEFENCE AND ELUCIDATION OF THE SUPERNATURAL REVELATION

THE DEFENCE AND ELUCIDATION OF THE SUPERNATURAL REVELATION

The God of all Providence, Who in the adorable designs of His love at first elevated the human race to the participation of the Divine nature, and afterwards delivered it from universal guilt and ruin, restoring it to its primitive dignity, has in consequence bestowed upon man a splendid gift and safeguard – making known to him, by supernatural means, the hidden mysteries of His Divinity, His wisdom and His mercy.

For although in Divine revelation there are contained some things which are not beyond the reach of unassisted reason, and which are made the objects of such revelation in order “that all may come to know them with facility, certainty, and safety from error, yet not on this account can supernatural Revelation be said to be absolutely necessary; it is only necessary because God has ordained man to a supernatural end.” This supernatural revelation, according to the belief of the universal Church, is contained both in unwritten Tradition, and in written Books, which are therefore called sacred and canonical because, “being written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, they have God for their author and as such have been delivered to the Church.”

This belief has been perpetually held and professed by the Church in regard to the Books of both Testaments; and there are well-known documents of the gravest kind, coming down to us from the earliest times, which proclaim that God, Who spoke first by the Prophets, then by His own mouth, and lastly by the Apostles, composed also the Canonical Scriptures, and that these are His own oracles and words – a Letter, written by our heavenly Father, and transmitted by the sacred writers to the human race in its pilgrimage so far from its heavenly country.

If, then, such and so great is the excellence and the dignity of the Scriptures, that God Himself has composed them, and that they treat of God’s marvellous mysteries, counsels and works, it follows that the branch of sacred Theology which is concerned with the defence and elucidation of these divine Books must be excellent and useful in the highest degree.

– From: Providentissimus Deus, Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII on the Study of Holy Scripture, Rome, 1893

For the next chapter (Part 2), please click here.

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2016 in Words of Wisdom

 

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THEY DENY THAT THERE IS ANY SUCH THING AS HOLY SCRIPTURE, THEY SEE ONLY THE FORGERIES OF MEN

“We must now, Venerable Brethren, as Our purpose demands, impart to you such counsels as seem best suited for carrying on successfully the study of biblical science.

What are the opponents’ tactics and weapons?

But first it must be clearly understood whom we have to oppose and contend against, and what are their tactics and their arms. In earlier times the contest was chiefly with those who, relying on private judgment and repudiating the divine traditions and teaching office of the Church, held the Scriptures to be the one source of revelation and the final appeal in matters of Faith.

Rejecting even scraps and remnants of Christian belief

Now, we have to meet the Rationalists, true children and inheritors of the older heretics, who, trusting in their turn to their own way of thinking, have rejected even the scraps and remnants of Christian belief which had been handed down to them.

To them, the miracles and wonders of God’s power are not what they are

They deny that there is any such thing as revelation or inspiration, or Holy Scripture at all; they see, instead, only the forgeries and the falsehoods of men. They set down the Scripture narratives as stupid fables and lying stories: the prophecies and the oracles of God are to them either predictions made up after the event or forecasts formed by the light of nature; the miracles and the wonders of God’s power are not what they are said to be, but the startling effects of natural law, or else mere tricks and myths; and the apostolic Gospels and writings not the work of the Apostles at all.

Human attempts to take God out of the equation

These detestable errors, whereby they think they destroy the truth of the divine Books, are obtruded on the world as the peremptory pronouncements of a certain newly-invented ‘free science;’ a science, however, which is so far from final that they are perpetually modifying and supplementing it.

Man-made “free science”, so far from final that it gets changed constantly

And there are some of them who, notwithstanding their impious opinions and utterances about God, and Christ, the Gospels and the rest of Holy Scripture, would fain be considered theologians and Christians and men of the Gospel, and who attempt to disguise by such honourable names their rashness and their pride. To them we must add not a few professors of other sciences who approve their views and give them assistance, and are urged to attack the Bible by a similar intolerance of revelation.

Disguising rashness and pride; striving for human acclaim

And it is deplorable to see these attacks growing every day more numerous and more severe. It is sometimes men of learning and judgment who are assailed; but these have little difficulty in defending themselves from evil consequences. The efforts and the arts of the enemy are chiefly directed against the more ignorant masses of the people.

The spread of the deadly poison

They diffuse their deadly poison by means of books, pamphlets, and newspapers; they spread it by addresses and by conversation; they are found everywhere; and they are in possession of numerous schools, taken by violence from the Church, in which, by ridicule and scurrilous jesting, they pervert the credulous and unformed minds of the young to the contempt of Holy Scripture.

Champions that are needed in this momentous battle 

Should not these things, Venerable Brethren, stir up and set on fire the heart of every Pastor, so that to this ‘knowledge, falsely so called’ may be opposed the ancient and true science which the Church, through the Apostles, has received from Christ, and that Holy Scripture may find the champions that are needed in so momentous a battle?”

– From the Encyclical Letter Providentissimus Deus, 18th November 1893 (Pope Leo XIII) [headings in bold added afterwards]

 

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PRAYER TO ST JEROME

O God, you gave your confessor blessed Jerome to your Church as an eminent interpreter of the Holy Scriptures; grant that by virtue of his merits and with your assistance, we may practise what he taught by word and example. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2014 in Prayers for Ordinary Time

 

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