Today, September 30, is the Memorial of Saint Jerome, priest and Doctor of the Church.
A brief biography from The Liturgy of the Hours:
Saint Jerome was born in Stridon in Dalmatia around the year 340. He studied the classical authors at Rome, and was baptized there. He embraced the life of asceticism and went to the East where he was ordained a priest. Returning to Rome, he become a secretary to Pope Damasus. At Rome he began to translate the holy Scriptures into Latin and to promote the monastic life. Eventually he settled in Bethlehem where he served the needs of the Church. He wrote many works, especially commentaries on holy Scripture. He died at Bethlehem in 420.
St. Jerome’s translation of the Scriptures from the original languages is called The Vulgate, from “vulgar,” which means common. So, he translated the Scriptures into the common language of the West at the time, which was Latin. The Vulgate remained the official translation of the Catholic Church into the 20th century and remains the foundational text when the Church interprets the Scriptures.
A reading from the prologue of the commentary on Isaiah by Saint Jerome:
I interpret as I should, following the command of Christ: Search the Scriptures, and Seek and you shall find. Christ will not say to me what he said to the Jews: You erred, not knowing the Scriptures and not knowing the power of God. For if, as Paul says, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, and if the man who does not know Scripture does not know the power and wisdom of God, then ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.
Therefore, I will imitate the head of a household who brings out of his storehouse things both new and old, and says to his spouse in the Song of Songs: I have kept for you things new and old, my beloved. In this way permit me to explain Isaiah, showing that he was not only a prophet, but an evangelist and an apostle as well. For he says about himself and the other evangelists: How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news, of those who announce peace. And God speaks to him as if he were an apostle: Whom shall I send, who will go to my people? And he answers: Here I am; send me.
No one should think that I mean to explain the entire subject matter of this great book of Scripture in one brief sermon, since it contains all the mysteries of the Lord. It prophesies that Emmanuel is to be born of a virgin and accomplish marvelous works and signs. It predicts his death, burial and resurrection from the dead as the Savior of all men. I need say nothing about the natural sciences, ethics and logic. Whatever is proper to holy Scripture, whatever can be expressed in human language and understood by the human mind, is contained in the book of Isaiah. Of these mysteries the author himself testifies when he writes: You shall be given a vision of all things, like words in a sealed scroll. When they give the writings to a wise man, they will say: Read this. And he will reply: I cannot for it is sealed. And when the scroll is given to an uneducated man and he is told: Read this, he will reply: I do not know how to read.
Should this argument appear weak to anyone, let him listen to the Apostle: Let two or three prophets speak, and let others interpret; if, however, a revelation should come to one of those who are seated there, let the first one be quiet. How can they be silent, since it depends on the Spirit who speaks through his prophets whether they remain silent or speak? If they understood what they were saying, all things would be full of wisdom and knowledge. But it was not the air vibrating with the human voice that reached their ears, but rather it was God speaking within the soul of the prophets, just as another prophet says: It is an angel who spoke in me; and again, Crying out in our hearts, Abba, Father, and I shall listen to what the Lord God says within me.
Father, you gave Saint Jerome delight in his study of holy scripture. May your people find in your word the food of salvation and the fountain of life. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.
Source: The Liturgy of the Hours, Memorial of Saint Jerome, Priest and Doctor.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.