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Saint Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church

September 30

You say in your book that while we live we are able to pray for each other, but afterwards when we have died, the prayer of no person for another can be heard…. But if the apostles and martyrs while still in the body can pray for others, at a time when they ought still be solicitous about themselves, how much more will they do so after their crowns, victories, and triumphs?

— Saint Jerome from “Against Vigilantius”

To: All

Saint Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church

Saint Jerome,
Priest and Doctor of the Church
Feast Day
September 30th

St. Jerome and the Lion (detail)
c. 1445
Museo di Capodimonte, Naples

born at Stridon, [Dalmatia] in about 340-2
died in Bethlehem September 30, 420

Saint Jerome, a “Father of the Church”, is best known for his translation of the Bible into Latin, called the Vulgate (or “common language of the people”), historically the most important vernacular edition of the Holy Scriptures.

Well tutored by his father in religion and essential studies, Jerome (Eusebius Hieronymus Sophronius) was sent as a young man to Rome for further study, where he mastered Latin and Greek (his native language was Illyrian), read widely, and absorbed the cosmopolitan atmosphere. Although he was baptized in Rome, his religious faith declined. He went to Trier to continue studies. Here his religious spirit was reawakened, and he became interested in ecclesial matters.

In 374, Jerome went to Antioch, which was then afflicted with serious disputes and doctrinal divisions, and he spent several years leading an aescetical life in the desert where he suffered temptations, about which he wrote. Though reluctant, he was ordained a priest at Antioch. He believed his vocation to be that of a monk or hermit. He went to Constantinople to study Scripture under Saint Gregory Nazianzen, then in 382 he went to Rome to attend the council Pope Damasus held concerning the schism at Antioch. Jerome became the pope’s secretary.

While in this position of influence, he revised the old Latin translations of the Gospels and Psalms, followed by the rest of the New Testament. He became known for his learning and honesty, but was also strongly disliked — by the pagans as well as by Christians who objected to his teachings and his harsh, outspoken manner. After the pope’s death in 385, he decided to return to Antioch; later he went to Jerusalem, Alexandria, and eventually settled in a monastery in Bethlehem, where he led a life of asceticism and study, established a school and a hospice, continued his writings against heresies, and did translations.

It was in Bethlehem that Jerome translated most the books of the Old Testament from Hebrew into Latin, and revised his translation of the Psalms using the Hebrew text. From 395-400, Jerome engaged in a conflict against Origenism. He also had a protracted dispute with Augustine over the interpretation (exegesis) of Saint Paul’s epistle to the Galatians.

The Pelagian heresies, the sacking of Rome, attacks by barbarians, and assaults on his Bethlehem monastery by a group of Pelagian thugs exhausted Jerome. He died on September 30, 420, and was buried under the nearby Church of the Nativity, though his body was later reburied in Santa Maria Maggiore, in Rome.

The very prolific literary activity of Saint Jerome, may be summed up under a few principal topics: translations and exegesis of the Bible; theological controversies; historical works; and letters. Saint Jerome owes his place in the history of biblical studies chiefly to his commentaries, revisions and new translations of the Bible from the Hebrew.

Sources: The Catholic Encyclopedia, NY: Robert Appleton Company, 1909; Butler’s Lives of the Saints.

O God, who gave the Priest Saint Jerome
a living and tender love for Sacred Scripture,
grant that your people
may be ever more fruitfully nourished by your Word
and find in it the fount of life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.

First Reading: 2 Timothy 3:14-17
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 13:47-52
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net which was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind; when it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into vessels but threw away the bad. So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.

“Have you understood all this?” They said to him, “Yes.” And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”

Related Links on the Vatican Website:

SPIRITUS PARACLITUS, Encyclical of Pope Benedict XV on St. Jerome, September 15, 1920

Benedict XVI, General Audience, Saint Peter’s Square, Wednesday, 7 November 2007, Saint Jerome (Part 1)

Benedict XVI, General Audience, Saint Peter’s Square, Wednesday, 14 November 2007, Saint Jerome (Part 2)

Related Links on the New Advent Website:

St. Jerome Writings, etc.:

The Perpetual Virginity of Blessed Mary
To Pammachius Against John of Jerusalem
The Dialogue Against the Luciferians
The Life of Malchus, the Captive Monk
The Life of S. Hilarion
The Life of Paulus the First Hermit
Against Jovinianus
Against Vigilantius
Against the Pelagians
De Viris Illustribus (Illustrious Men)
Apology for himself against the Books of Rufinus


The great Church scholar who lived in a cave for 32 years

Jerome: The Principal Works of St. Jerome [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Saint Jerome, pioneer and patron of scripture studies, to be remembered September 30
“Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ”
Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ — St. Jerome
St. Jerome on the Bible
On St. Jerome
St. Jerome — Feminist?
St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church
Saint Jerome – Doctor Of Biblical Studies
Saint Jerome: Doctor Of Biblical Studies


Information: St. Jerome

Feast Day: September 30

Born: 340-342, Stridon, on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia

Died: 420, Bethlehem, Judea

Major Shrine: Basilica of Saint Mary Major, Rome, Italy

Patron of: archeologists; archivists; Bible scholars; librarians; libraries; schoolchildren; students; translators


Interactive Saints for Kids

St. Jerome

Feast Day: September 30
Born: 347 :: Died: 420

Jerome was a Roman Catholic who was born at Stido, Dalmatia. His father taught him his religion well, but sent him to a famous pagan school where Jerome grew to love pagan writings and lost some of his love for God.

Then he became great friends with a group of holy Christians, and his heart was turned completely to God.

Later, this brilliant young man decided to live alone in a wild desert. He was afraid that his love for pagan writings would lead him away from the love of God. He welcomed the hard penance and the burning hot desert.

But even there, he suffered terrible temptations. Jerome did not give in, however. Instead he increased his acts of penance and wept for his sins. He also went to study Hebrew with a monk as his teacher.

He did this to get rid of the bad thoughts that kept attacking his mind. He became such a great scholar of Hebrew that he could later translate the Bible into Latin. Many more people were then able to read, learn and enjoy it.

St. Jerome spent long years of his life in a little cave at Bethlehem, where Jesus had been born. There he prayed, studied the Bible, and taught many people how to serve God. He wrote many letters and even books to protect the faith from non-believers.

St. Jerome had a bad temper, and because of his sharp tongue he made many enemies. Yet he was a very holy man who spent his life trying to serve Jesus in the best way he could. And so, despite his temper, he became a great saint. He died in 419 or 420.



Tuesday, September 30

Liturgical Color: Green

Today is the Memorial of St. Jerome,
priest and Doctor of the Church. He
translated many early writings of the
Church including histories and
biographies. He died in 419 A.D.


Day 292 – How can my everyday routine be a school of prayer? // Can we be sure that our prayers are heard?

How can my everyday routine be a school of prayer?

Everything that happens, every encounter can become the occasion for a prayer. For the more deeply we live in union with God, the deeper we understand the world around us. Someone who already seeks union with Jesus in the morning can be a blessing to the people he meets, even his opponents and enemies. Over the course of the day he casts all his cares on the Lord. He has more peace within himself and radiates it. He makes his judgments and decisions by asking himself how Jesus would act at that moment. He overcomes fear by staying close to God. In desperate situations he is not without support. He carries the peace of heaven within him and thereby brings it into the world. He is full of gratitude and joy for the beautiful things, but also endures the difficult things that he encounters. This attentiveness to God is possible even at work.

Can we be sure that our prayers are heard?

Our prayers, which we offer in Jesus’ name, go to the place where Jesus’ prayers also went: to the heart of our heavenly Father. We can be sure of this if we trust Jesus. For Jesus has opened again for us the way to heaven, which had been barred by sin. Since Jesus is the way to God, Christians conclude their prayers with the phrase, “we ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord.” (YOUCAT questions 494-495)

Dig Deeper: CCC section (2664-2669) and other references here.


Part 4: Christian Prayer (2558 – 2865)

Section 1: Prayer in the Christian Life (2558 – 2758)

Chapter 1: The Revelation of Prayer (2566 – 2649)

Article 2: In the Fullness of Time (2598 – 2622)

Jesus prays



The Gospel according to St. Luke emphasizes the action of the Holy Spirit and the meaning of prayer in Christ’s ministry. Jesus prays before the decisive moments of his mission: before his Father’s witness to him during his baptism and Transfiguration, and before his own fulfillment of the Father’s plan of love by his Passion.43 He also prays before the decisive moments involving the mission of his apostles: at his election and call of the Twelve, before Peter’s confession of him as “the Christ of God,” and again that the faith of the chief of the Apostles may not fail when tempted.44 Jesus’ prayer before the events of salvation that the Father has asked him to fulfill is a humble and trusting commitment of his human will to the loving will of the Father.


Cf. Lk 3:21; 9:28; 22:41-44.


Cf. Lk 6:12; 9:18-20; 22:32.



“He was praying in a certain place and when he had ceased, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray.”‘45 In seeing the Master at prayer the disciple of Christ also wants to pray. By contemplating and hearing the Son, the master of prayer, the children learn to pray to the Father.


Lk 11:1.



Jesus often draws apart to pray in solitude, on a mountain, preferably at night.46 He includes all men in his prayer, for he has taken on humanity in his incarnation, and he offers them to the Father when he offers himself. Jesus, the Word who has become flesh, shares by his human prayer in all that “his brethren” experience; he sympathizes with their weaknesses in order to free them.47 It was for this that the Father sent him. His words and works are the visible manifestation of his prayer in secret.


Cf. Mk 1:35; 6:46; Lk 5:16.


Cf. Heb 2:12, 15; 4:15.



The evangelists have preserved two more explicit prayers offered by Christ during his public ministry. Each begins with thanksgiving. In the first, Jesus confesses the Father, acknowledges, and blesses him because he has hidden the mysteries of the Kingdom from those who think themselves learned and has revealed them to infants, the poor of the Beatitudes.48 His exclamation, “Yes, Father!” expresses the depth of his heart, his adherence to the Father’s “good pleasure,” echoing his mother’s Fiat at the time of his conception and prefiguring what he will say to the Father in his agony. The whole prayer of Jesus is contained in this loving adherence of his human heart to the mystery of the will of the Father.49


Cf. Mt 11:25-27 and Lk 10:21-23.


Cf. Eph 1:9.



The second prayer, before the raising of Lazarus, is recorded by St. John.50 Thanksgiving precedes the event: “Father, I thank you for having heard me,” which implies that the Father always hears his petitions. Jesus immediately adds: “I know that you always hear me,” which implies that Jesus, on his part, constantly made such petitions. Jesus’ prayer, characterized by thanksgiving, reveals to us how to ask: before the gift is given, Jesus commits himself to the One who in giving gives himself. The Giver is more precious than the gift; he is the “treasure”; in him abides his Son’s heart; the gift is given “as well.”51 The priestly prayer of Jesus holds a unique place in the economy of salvation.52 A meditation on it will conclude Section One. It reveals the ever present prayer of our High Priest and, at the same time, contains what he teaches us about our prayer to our Father, which will be developed in Section Two.


Cf. Jn 11:41-42.


Mt 6:21, 33.


Cf. Jn 17.



When the hour had come for him to fulfill the Father’s plan of love, Jesus allows a glimpse of the boundless depth of his filial prayer, not only before he freely delivered himself up (“Abba … not my will, but yours.”),53 but even in his last words on the Cross, where prayer and the gift of self are but one: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”;54 “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise”,55 “Woman, behold your son” — “Behold your mother”;56 “I thirst.”;57 “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”;58 “It is finished”;59 “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”60 until the “loud cry” as he expires, giving up his spirit.61


Lk 22:42.


Lk 23:34.


Jn 19:26-27.


Jn 19:28.


Mk 15:34; cf. Ps 22:2.


Jn 19:30.


Lk 23:46.


Cf. Mk 15:37; Jn 19:30b.


Lk 23:43.



All the troubles, for all time, of humanity enslaved by sin and death, all the petitions and intercessions of salvation history are summed up in this cry of the incarnate Word. Here the Father accepts them and, beyond all hope, answers them by raising his Son. Thus is fulfilled and brought to completion the drama of prayer in the economy of creation and salvation. The Psalter gives us the key to prayer in Christ. In the “today” of the Resurrection the Father says: “You are my Son, today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.”62 The Letter to the Hebrews expresses in dramatic terms how the prayer of Jesus accomplished the victory of salvation: “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered, and being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.”63


Ps 2:7-8; cf. Acts 13:33.


Heb 5:7-9.


Catholic Culture


Daily Readings for:September 30, 2014
(Readings on USCCB website)

Collect: O God, who gave the Priest Saint Jerome a living and tender love for Sacred Scripture, grant that your people may be ever more fruitfully nourished by your Word and find in it the fount of life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


o    Lion Cake


o    Namedays


o    September Devotion: Our Lady of Sorrows

o    A Prayer of Saint Jerome for Christ’s Mercy


o    On St. Jerome (Spiritus Paraclitus) | Pope Benedict XV

o    Saint Jerome (1) | Pope Benedict XVI

o    Saint Jerome (2) | Pope Benedict XVI

o    The Literary Influence of St. Jerome | Rev. William P. H. Kitchin Ph.D.

  • Ordinary Time: September 30th
  • Memorial of St. Jerome, priest and doctor

Old Calendar: St. Jerome, Priest, Confessor, Doctor

Born in Dalmatia of a Christian, Jerome (345-420) was baptized in Rome, while taking his classical courses. He then studied under the best masters in foreign cities. But the Church had need of this extraordinarily gifted man. Jerome heard and obeyed the divine call, made a vow of celibacy, and withdrew for four years to a hermitage in the Syrian desert. The Holy Father soon summoned Jerome to Rome and entrusted him with the enormous task of revising the Latin Bible. This work, which took 30 years to complete, is the Vulgate version of the Scriptures. He also wrote many other works, mostly commentaries on the books of the Bible.

St. Jerome
One of the greatest Biblical scholars of Christendom, Saint Jerome was born of Christian parents at Stridon in Dalmatia around the year 345. Educated at the local school, he then studied rhetoric in Rome for eight years, before returning to Aquilea to set up a community of ascetics. When that community broke up after three years Jerome went to the east. He met an old hermit named Malchus, who inspired the saint to live in a bare cell, dressed in sackcloth, studying the Scriptures.

He learned Hebrew from a rabbi. Then he returned to Antioch and was reluctantly ordained priest. With his bishop he visited Constantinople and became friendly with Saints Gregory Nazianzen and Gregory of Nyssa. And then in 382 he went again to Rome, to become the personal secretary of Pope Damasus. Here he met his dearest friends, a wealthy woman called Paula, her daughter Eustochium and another wealthy woman named Marcella.

Here too he began his finest work. Commissioned by the pope, he began to revise the Latin version of the psalms and the New Testament, with immense care and scholarship. Jerome eventually translated the whole of the Bible into the Latin version which is known as the Vulgate. But when Damasus died, his enemies forced the saint to leave Rome.

Accompanied by Paula and Eustochium, Jerome went to Bethlehem. There he lived for thirty-four years till his death in 420, building a monastery over which he presided and a convent headed first by Paula and after her death by Eustochium. The saint set up a hospice for the countless pilgrims to that place. His scholarship, his polemics, his treatises and letters often provoked anger and always stimulated those who read them. ‘Plato located the soul of man in the head,’ he wrote, ‘Christ located it in the heart.’

Excerpted from A Calendar of Saints by James Bentley

Patron: Archeologists; archivists; Bible scholars; librarians; libraries; schoolchildren; students; translators.

Symbols: Cardinal’s hat; lion; aged monk in desert; aged monk with Bible.

Things to Do:

  • Jerome had a violent temper and was very strong-willed. He made a lot of enemies because of his temperament. To overcome these faults, he prayed and did penance. His canonization shows us that canonized saints aren’t perfect, but have faults just like us. They just worked on them and cooperated with grace more fully to overcome them. What faults do we have that we need to work more diligently on overcoming?
  • St. Jerome was a wonderful spiritual director, especially for women. It is important to have a spiritual director to grow in the spiritual life. Find out what a director can do for you, and make some arrangements for one.
  • The Bible was of utmost importance in Jerome’s life and should be in ours. Make a point to read the Bible daily. Jerome was known to say that ignorance of Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.


Doctors of the Catholic Church

Saint Jerome

Also known as

  • Eusebius Hieronymus Sophronius
  • Girolamo
  • Hieronymus
  • Jerom
  • Man of the Bible



Born to a rich pagan family, he led a misspent youth. Studied in Rome. Lawyer. Converted in theory, and baptised in 365, he began his study of theology, and had a true conversion. Monk. Lived for years as a hermit in the Syrian deserts. Reported to have drawn a thorn from a lion‘s paw; the animal stayed loyally at his side for years. Priest. Student of Saint Gregory of Nazianzen. Secretary to Pope Damasus I who commissioned him to revise the Latin text of the Bible. The result of his 30 years of work was the Vulgate translation, which is still in use. Friend and teacher of Saint Paula, Saint Marcella, and Saint Eustochium, an association that led to so much gossip that Jerome left Rome to return to the desert solitude. He lived his last 34 years in the Holy Land as a semi-recluse. Wrote translations of histories, biographies, the works of Origen, and much more. Doctor of the Church, Father of the Church. Since his own time, he has been associated in the popular mind with scrolls, writing, cataloging, translating, which led to those who work in such fields taking him as their patron – a man who knew their lives and problems.







  • cardinal‘s hat, often on the ground or behind him, indicating that he turned his back on the pomp of ecclesiastical life
  • lion, referring to the who befriended him after he pulled a thorn from the creature’s paw
  • man beating himself in the chest with a stone
  • aged monk in desert
  • aged monk with Bible
  • aged monk writing
  • old man with a lion
  • skull
  • hourglass

Additional Information


The Word Among Us

Meditation: Luke 9:51-56

Saint Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church

He resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem. (Luke 9:51)

The young teacher dragged herself into the faculty lounge one day. To no one in particular, she sighed, “I can’t get through to my class. I try everything, from fun games to dire warnings, but I can’t get these kids to listen to me. Some days they drive me crazy.” An older teacher, well regarded and perceived as the staff’s strictest disciplinarian, nodded and said, “Don’t forget to love them.”

Jesus never forgot to love us. His love is so radically different from what we conceive love to be that it’s impossible to fathom it without the grace of the Holy Spirit. For our sakes, Jesus “resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51), even though he knew that horrible suffering and an agonizing death awaited him there. He knew that he would face rejection from those he had taught and loved and that even his closest friends would abandon him. Still, he went. And he went ready to forgive all of them—and all of us.

Too often our approach is like the inexperienced teacher’s. We take on some service project, or we do something special for our family with the notion that we will receive thanks, respect, and honor for our dedication. But when things fail to materialize as we had hoped, we feel hurt. Have you ever known the bitter sting of ingratitude or rejection from someone in your family or community? How did you react? Contrast this with the way Jesus reacted to the “unclean” Samaritans in today’s Gospel. His disciples, who should have known better by that point, were the only ones to receive a rebuke!

God’s Son became flesh and died on the cross so that we could learn how to love each other as his Father loves us. We are all called to love the people in our lives with Jesus’ love. And we can do that only as we yield to the Holy Spirit’s grace. If we open our hearts to the Spirit, who fills the Church with every good gift, we can learn to serve humbly and selflessly. It is not always easy, but we should never forget that Christ is in us. We can do all things through him who strengthens us!

“Lord, a harvest of souls is ready. Send me out as a laborer filled with your love and compassion.”

Job 3:1-3, 11-17, 20-23; Psalm 88:2-8


A Christian Pilgrim



Marriage=One Man and One Woman ‘Til Death Do Us Part

Daily Marriage Tip for September 30, 2014:

Reader’s Tip) My husband and I take turns planning our anniversary each year. Sometimes the plans are a total surprise to the other spouse, sometimes it’s a coordinated effort, but it’s always fun.


Patri munus et hostiam

Tuesday, 30 September 2014 08:05

The Office hymn given for Lauds and Vespers in the Liber Hymnarius and in the Liturgia Horarum for today’s feast of Saint Jerome, Doctor of the Church, was composed by the Benedictine hymnographer Dom Anselmo Lentini (+1989). It offers an enchanting portrait of the saint of Rome and Bethlehem. My translation makes no pretense of attempting to be literal; I sought only to give the sense of the hymn, and then reflect on each strophe.

  1. Festiva canimus laude Hieronymum,
    qui nobis radiat sidus ut eminens
    doctrinae meritis ac simul actibus
    vitae fortis et asperae.

With festive praise we sing of Jerome;
radiant as a star he shines forth
by the merits of his teaching as well as by
the fortitude and austerity of his life.

The first strophe encapsulates all that one really needs to know about Saint Jerome: he is deserving of a festal day of gladsome praise; he is a light in the Church, not only by his incomparable teaching, but also by his resolute and rigorous monastic life. Sacred learning and asceticism go hand in hand, or as Dom Jean Leclercq put it, “the love of letters and the desire for God.”

  1. Hic verbum fdei sanctaque dogmata
    scrutando studuit pandere lucide,
    aut hostes, vehemens ut leo, concitus
    acri voce refellere.

Scrutinizing the Word and the holy dogmas of the faith,
he strove to cast them into light;
terrible as a lion to his enemies,
with the roar of his voice he refuted them without delay.

I love the word scrutando here. One can picture Saint Jerome bent over his precious manuscripts, attentive to every jot and tittle of the sacred text. More often than not, when he lifts his head from his work, it is to roar like a lion, ready to rip apart the errors of the enemies of the Word. Saint Jerome knew where to invest his passions!

  1. Insudans alacer prata virentia
    Scripturae coluit caelitus editae;
    ex his et locuples dulcia protulit
    cunctus pabula gratiae.

By the sweat of his brow, he cultivated
the green meadows of the heaven-inspired Scriptures;
enriched by them, he brought forth for all
the sweet nourishment of grace.

Dom Lentini is a genius. The “sweat of the brow” is an allusion to Genesis 3,19: “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread” or, as Msgr. Knox puts it, “thou shalt earn thy bread with the sweat of thy brow.” The “green meadows” allude, of course, to Psalm 22, 2: “He makes me lie down in green pastures.” Nourished by the Word of God, Saint Jerome offers all Christians the food of grace, that is, Christ Himself in the Scriptures.

  1. Deserti cupiens grata silentia
    ad cunas Domini pervigil astitit,
    ut carnem crucians se daret intime
    Patri munus et hostiam.

Yearning for the desert’s refreshing silence,
he kept watch close to the manger-cradle of the Lord,
that by crucifying his flesh, he might become deep within
an offering and a sacrificial victim to the Father.

This is my favourite strophe. Jerome yearns for the tranquil stillness of the desert, far from “the strife of tongues” (Psalm 30, 20). Close to the manger of the Infant Christ, he discovers the humility and poverty of spiritual childhood and, as crèche and cross are fashioned from the same wood, he enters into the mystery of the suffering and crucified Jesus, and so identifies with Him, that Jerome’s whole life becomes a Eucharistic oblation. With Jesus, he becomes an offering (munus) and a sacrificial (victim) to the Father.

The youngest Doctor of the Church, Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, of the crèche and of the cross, died on the evening of the feast of Saint Jerome, September 30, 1897; she also shared the older Doctor’s love for the Word of God. On October 19, 1997, declaring Saint Thérèse a Doctor of the Church, Pope John Paul II wrote:

Despite her inadequate training and lack of resources for studying and interpreting the sacred books, Thérèse immersed herself in meditation on the Word of God with exceptional faith and spontaneity. Under the influence of the Holy Spirit she attained a profound knowledged of Revelation for herself and for others. By her loving concentration on Scripture – she even wanted to learn Hebrew and Greek to understand better the spirit and letter of the sacred books – she showed the importance of the biblical sources in the spiritual life, she emphasized the originality and freshness of the Gospel, she cultivated with moderation the spiritual exegesis of the Word of God in both the Old and New Testaments. Thus she discovered hidden treasures, appropriating words and episodes, sometimes with supernatural boldness, as when, in reading the texts of St Paul (cf. 1 Cor 12-13), she realized her vocation to love (cf. Ms B, 3r-3v). Enlightened by the revealed Word, Thérèse wrote brilliant pages on the unity between love of God and love of neighbour (cf. Ms C, 11v-19r); and she identified with Jesus’ prayer at the Last Supper as the expression of her intercession for the salvation of all (cf. Ms C, 34r-35r).

  1. Tanti nos, petimus te, Deus optime,
    doctoris precibus dirige, confove,
    ut laetas liceat nos tibi in omnia
    laudes pangere saecula.

We pray you, O God of all goodness,
by the prayers of so great a doctor, direct us and surround us with your tender care,
so that we might be given leave to pour forth your joyful praises
unto the ages of ages.

The hymn ends, as do nearly all the hymns of the Church, with a doxological élan. We pray to walk in the path of righteousness and of doctrinal rectitude and ask, at the same time, that the warmth of the Father’s tenderness envelop us so that one day in heaven, our lips might be opened to sing His praises eternally.


Vultus Christi

Saint Jerome and Lectio Divina

Tuesday, 30 September 2014 08:10

Jerome and the Monastic Path

Jerome, translator of the original Hebrew and Greek texts of the Bible into Latin, the tongue of the common folk, was a lover of the poor Christ. He sang the praises of monastic solitude, saying that “monks do on earth what the angels do in heaven.” We owe to Jerome the theology that sees in monastic profession a kind of second baptism, washing away sin just like martyrdom. It is Jerome who teaches us that the martyrdom of the monastic life is won not by the struggles of continence alone, but by the choice of poverty, and by perseverance in the praise of God.

Jerome was baptized during his student days in Rome. After a first attempt at monastic living in the deserts of Syria, he went to Antioch and there was ordained a priest. With an almost obsessive passion, he devoted himself to the study of Hebrew and Greek. Tutored by none other than Saint Gregory Nazianzen in Constantinople, Jerome went on to Rome where Pope Saint Damasus charged him with the revision of the Latin Bible.

Crankiness and Sanctity

In Rome, Jerome never really got on with other clergy. He was not ambitious for ecclesiastical promotion. He was somewhat irascible, dipping his pen rather more often into vinegar than honey. Jerome loved nothing so much as good squabble, and argued bitterly and at great length with his critics and adversaries. He had little time for trivial niceties.

His Lady Disciples

Jerome’s best friends were women, ladies of the Roman aristocracy whom he had inflamed with his love for Sacred Scripture. These ladies were so devoted to their Jerome that they followed him from Rome to the Holy Land where, in a life of poverty and ceaseless prayer, they studied and learned at his side.

Jerome and Thérèse

The Church’s youngest Doctor, Thérèse, must have been thrilled to meet Jerome in heaven. This, not only because they share the same date of death — Jerome, September 30th, 420, and Thérèse, September 30th, 1897 — but because Thérèse would have been enthusiastic about his Bible study groups for women. In August 1897, a month before her death, Saint Thérèse said, “Regarding Holy Scripture, isn’t it sad to see so many different translations! Had I been a priest, I would have learned Hebrew and Greek, and wouldn’t have been satisfied with Latin. In this way, I would have known the real text dictated by the Holy Spirit” (Last Conversations).

The Word in Your Mouth

Today’s liturgy applies to Jerome a verse from the book of Joshua. “The book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it” (Jos 1:8). “The book shall not depart out of your mouth.” This is the whole significance of meditation in the Bible — not a mental exercise, but a physical one. The Word of God descends into the heart only after being held, and chewed, and savoured at length in the mouth. The biblical understanding of meditation has to do with the material repetition of the text, with learning by heart by saying aloud. Those who read the Scriptures silently deprive themselves of the fundamental experience of the Word of God: hearing it!

Hearing and Doing

Doing of the Word comes after repetition of it. It is not enough to look into the mirror of the Word once, and then go off merrily, expecting to be converted by it. “He who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, says Saint James, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing” (Jas 1:25). Meditation of the Word is the daily, no, the hourly task of monastics, making the monk, the nun, fruitful in all that he or she does.

The Rejuvenating Word

When you begin to notice leaves withering on a plant, you water the plant. When we begin to notice withering leaves on ourselves, it is urgent that we return, with renewed generosity, to lectio divina. A good drenching in the Word is sometimes all it takes to rejuvenate the soul and send the vital sap of Christ coursing through it. If, after twenty-five, forty, or fifty years of monastic life, you want to end up as the psalm says, “still full of sap, still green” (Ps 92:34), then you must be unswerving, totally committed to your practice of lectio. The Church has no need of withering and withered monastics; she needs fruitful vines, vines that will send out branches and shoots, vines laden with fruit.


Holy Doctor Jerome, repeating the Scriptures in his cave in Bethlehem, and Holy Doctor Thérèse in her cell in Carmel simply put into practice the verse of Psalm 1 that, in every age, has been a kind of résumé of claustral perfection, and the secret of monastic fruitfulness. “Blessed is the man whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither” (Ps 1:1-3). Thérèse knew it from Carmel’s ancient Rule of Saint Albert: “Each one of you is to stay in his own cell or nearby, pondering the Lord’s law day and night”(Rule of Saint Albert, 10).

Staying With It

I very much like the emphasis on staying in the cell. Lectio divina requires that we stick with it, that we wrestle with the tough bits, with the passages that seem, at first, impossibly dry and impenetrable. If we leave the cell for a drink of water from any other source — think of Jeremiah’s diatribe against the “broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jer 2:13) — we risk missing the draught of living water by which God intends to quench our thirst.

One Heart

The Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary was one with the Heart of her Son, and this because Mary had to be in all things the perfect image of the Church. “Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul” (Ac 4:32). If this is true of the early Church described in the book of Acts, it is pre-eminently true of that nucleus of the Church, the community of Jesus and his Mother. The “one-heartedness” of Jesus and Mary proceeds, not from their relationship of flesh and blood, but from Mary’s hearing and keeping of the Word of God. “A woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!’ But he said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it’” (Lk 11:27-28).

The Cross

This “blessed” in the mouth of Jesus is inextricably linked to the “blessed” of the first psalm. Our own “one-heartedness” with Christ is the fruit of the Word of God repeated “day and night” (Ps 1:2). Don’t expect immediate results. The grace of “one-heartedness” effected by contact with the Word of God is a slow, almost imperceptible process. You will discern it by its fruits, and above all by your response to the mystery of the Cross in your life. The Cross is the consummation of the “one-heartedness” that begins with the hearing of the Word.

A Eucharistic Finality

Mary’s hearing and keeping of the Word led her to the Cross. “Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near” (Jn 19:26). Our hearing and keeping of the Word leads us to the actualization of the Cross in the doing of the Eucharist. All lectio divina, be it the corporate lectio of the liturgy, or the solitary lectio of the cell, has a Eucharistic finality. Like our father, Saint Antony of the Desert, we go to church for Holy Mass, repeating the Scriptures on the way. Like Jerome, and like Thérèse–the old Doctor and the new — we long for the “one-heartedness” of the Bridegroom and the Bride, and we find it in the Eucharist, the mystery of communion realized not by flesh and blood, but by the power of the Holy Spirit.

One Word, One Eucharist, One Heart

“Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Cor 10:17). The one Bread of the Word, broken to feed us, prepares us to partake of the one Divine Bread of the Most Holy Eucharist, broken that we, many though we are, may be of one mind and heart.


Vultus Christi

Lectio Divina: The Eucharist of the Intelligence

Tuesday, 30 September 2014 08:15

2 Timothy 3:14-17
Psalm 118: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14
Matthew 13: 47-52

Meditating Day and Night

The liturgy presents Saint Jerome today as the “man who meditated on the law of the Lord day and night” (Ps 1:2). Thus did he bring forth “fruit in due season” (Ps 1:3). The “law of the Lord” in today’s Entrance Antiphon is the Word of God, “alive and active” (Heb 4:12). It is the Word that springs to life, rising from the pages of Sacred Scripture, so often as we listen to it proclaimed (lectio), repeat it (meditatio), pray it (oratio), and remain with it in an adoring silence (contemplatio).


Psalm 1 links the ceaseless meditation of the Word of God to fruitfulness. “He shall be like a tree planted near running waters, which shall bring forth its fruit, in due season” (Ps 1:2). The fruit promised in the psalm is fulfilled in the mystery revealed by Jesus while at table with his disciples on the night before he suffered: “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit” (Jn 15:8). Lectio divina is the secret of supernatural fecundity. “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you” (Jn 15:7).


The fruits of the Holy Spirit — the evidence of a thriving, healthy inner life — flourish wheresoever the Word of God is proclaimed (lectio), repeated (meditatio), prayed (oratio), and held in the heart (contemplatio). It is an irrefutable fact of monastic history, demonstrated by our dear old friend, Dom Jean Leclercq, that whenever lectio divina was neglected, monastic life fell into a sterile decadence, losing its vitality; it is also an irrefutable fact of history that whenever lectio divina is practiced with generosity, devotion, and zeal, monastic life brings forth the fruits of holiness in abundance.

Rule of Saint Benedict

It struck me that today’s Entrance Antiphon (Novus Ordo Missae) is the very same text given us as the Communion Antiphon on Ash Wednesday. Did you notice that? It is more than a mere coincidence. Such liturgical resonances are important and, very often, contain teachings that we cannot afford to overlook. In the Benedictine tradition, Lent is the season par excellence of lectio divina. In Chapter 48 of the Rule Saint Benedict changes the daily timetable and breaks into the customary routine in order to make more time during Lent for the reading, repetition, and praying of the Scriptures. In Chapter 49 he tells us that the life of a monk ought to have at all times a Lenten character. It is above all the primacy given to lectio divina that is characteristic of Saint Benedict’s Lent; that, and the joy of spiritual desire (cf. RB 49:7) that is its fruit. By relating today’s Entrance Antiphon to the Communion Antiphon of Ash Wednesday, Saint Jerome emerges as a model of monastic holiness. If you would be fruitful, immerse yourself in the Scriptures. Make room, always more room, in your life for the Word of God.

The Eucharist of the Intelligence

Lectio divina is the eucharist of the intelligence. It is a holy communion with Christ, in every way as real as our communion in the sacred mysteries of his Body and Blood. Listen to Saint Jerome: “I say the word of Scripture is truly the body of Christ and His blood; it is divine doctrine. If at any time we approach the Sacrament — the faithful know what I mean — and a tiny crumb should fall, we are appalled. Even so, if at any time we hear the word of God, through which the body and blood of Christ is being poured into our ears, and we yield carelessly to distraction, how responsible are we not for our failing? . . . The divine word is exceedingly rich, containing within itself every delight. Whatever you desire is found in it, just as the Jews recount that when they were eating the manna each one tasted the kind of food he liked. . . . We, in the flesh of Christ, which is the word of divine doctrine, received manna in accordance with and in proportion to our desire” (Jerome, On Psalm 147:12-20).

Lectio and Holy Communion

Approach the Word of God in lectio divina as you approach the mysteries of Christ’s Body and Blood in Holy Communion; you will not be disappointed in your hope, nor will you be sent away empty. Come to lectio divina with hunger for the Bread of Life, come thirsting for the living water promised by Christ. If you are weak, you will find in lectio divina comfort and strength. If you are weary, you will find refreshment. If you are melancholy, cranky, or depressed, you will find joy, serenity, and good cheer. If you are tempted against purity or disturbed by your passions, you will find in the chaste Word of God a remedy that cleanses and pacifies the heart. If your life has become sterile, you will find in lectio divina the secret of spiritual fecundity. If you are eaten up by jealousy, or poisoned by rancour, or incapable of forgiving someone, eat the Word of God; it is the antidote for all such bitterness and sin. If you have lost your taste for the things of God, you will recover it in the Word of God. If you seem never to have enough time to do things, it is because you give too little time to the Word of God. Consecrate yourself more generously to lectio divina, hold to it unswervingly, and you will find, to your amazement and delight, that you will have time to do all other things besides. Are you are “anxious and troubled about many things” (Lk 10:41)? “One thing is needful” (Lk 10:42): the Word of God.

The Two Tables

The Communion Antiphon of today’s Mass is taken from the prophet Jeremiah, but the Church, with the freedom in the Holy Spirit that characterizes her liturgy, places the prophet’s words in the mouth of Saint Jerome: “You words were found and I ate them, and your word was to me a joy and the gladness of my heart” (Jer 15:16). “And I ate them” — the connotation is Eucharistic. The eating and drinking of the Word of God increases in us hunger and thirst for the mysteries of Christ’s Body and Blood. The table of the Word of God compels us to approach the table of the Most Holy Eucharist. All lectio divina, be it done all together liturgically or done individually in solitude, has a Eucharistic finality.

Sent to the Altar

There is no hearing, no repetition, no praying of the Word of God that does not send us full of desire to the altar of Christ’s sacrifice to complete, by the reception of the Eucharist, the communion begun in the reception of his words. Today’s Prayer Over the Offerings has us ask “that by following the example of Saint Jerome in meditating your word, we may more eagerly draw near to offer the saving Victim to your majesty.”

The Best Preparation for Holy Communion

Lectio divina is the best preparation for Holy Communion.  Holy Communion, in turn, illumines lectio divina with a divine brightness. May Saint Jerome obtain for us today the grace of lives made fruitful by the Word and wholly eucharistified by the mysteries of Christ’s Body and Blood.


Regnum Christi

The Real Fight until the End
The Real Fight until the End

When the days for Jesus to be taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.

Introductory Prayer: In you, Lord, I find all my joy and happiness. How could I offend you by chasing after fleeting success and lifeless trophies? I believe in you because you are truth itself. I hope in you because you are faithful to your promises. I love you because you have loved me first. I am a sinner; nevertheless, you have given me so many blessings. I humbly thank you.

Petition: Lord Jesus, make me meek and humble of heart.

1. An Unpopular Strategy: military term: “resolutely”. Nevertheless, even though he was engaged in fierce combat, Jesus didn’t show it in a way the world understood. Our Lord approached his battle in Jerusalem like a sheep being led to the slaughter. His strategy was humility. Humility was the atomic bomb that he would drop on Satan’s designs and plans. He thus undid the pride and arrogance of Lucifer.

2. A Lesson in Humility: St. John the Evangelist is an active participant in this passage. He himself knew that Jesus’ purpose was to wage war (see 1 John 3:8), and he and his brother dreamed of being well-decorated in Jesus’ battalion. They sought places at his right and left hand in the Kingdom (see Mark 10:35-37), and now they seek to use their rank as apostles to bring down revenge on their opponents. Jesus rebuked them, redefining for them the idea of kingship in his reign. They learned quickly that the weapons of attack were kindness, gentleness, charity and humility.

3. Mission Oriented: In military standards, a commander-in-chief might have considered the incident in Samaria a defeat. Christ was uprooted from their presence, so humanly speaking, he lost. This however, is not the case. Had Jesus complained or retaliated against the fanaticism of the Samaritans, that would have been a defeat. Instead, the Gospel tells us: “They journeyed to another village.” Simple as that! Christ won victory because he didn’t waste time on fickle, whimsical and capricious expectations; rather as a true soldier, he forgave, forgot and continued to the next town.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, allow me to understand the bumps and bruises of your “boot camp.” It is hard to understand why life is so taxing for my weak nature, but I know that we are at war with the forces of evil. Seeing you die for this war and winning it gives me greater courage to commit my bit to the war effort. Help me to prefer the virtue of humility over my pride.

Resolution: Today, I will be to the one who does an everyday chore in my house. I will make the coffee for all or wash the dishes to demonstrate to the Lord (and myself) that I can be humble.


Homily of the Day

September 30, 2014

For those who are known for our hospitality, the gospel narrative about Jesus being refused lodging in a Samaritan village may seem disturbing. But in those times, the hostility between Samaritans and Jews was part of the cultural landscape. For one, Samaritans did not believe that the temple of Jerusalem was the proper site for worship. So, learning that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, the Samaritans would not welcome him. The reaction of James and John – to seek heaven to destroy the village – may seem rash and violent; but they were clearly trying to protect and defend Jesus. Their intent – to pray for the opponent to be punished – may even strike us as normal, human and commonplace. When we are rejected, offended or unjustly treated, we want to strike back at these people. We ask and expect God to take our side, defend our cause and destroy our opponents.

But Jesus reacts to the Samaritan rejection differently from his disciples. In fact, Jesus rebukes them for their vindictive attitude. Faced with opposition and resistance, Jesus’ way is not to hit back and destroy those who reject him, those who differ from him. He accepts and respects the freedom of his opponents. Furthermore, Jesus is practical and single-minded. He does not allow this rejection to distract him from his destination – Jerusalem.

The gospel invites us to examine our attitudes towards those who differ from us. Are we tolerant of those who do not share our beliefs? Do we respect their freedom? How do we react in front of obstacles to our good intentions and projects on behalf of the Lord? Can we find the practical wisdom like Jesus, to be tolerant, patient and calm in front of opposition and conflict and still keep our sights and mind set on our mission?


One Bread, One Body

One Bread, One Body

Language: English | Español

All Issues > Volume 30, Issue 5

<< Tuesday, September 30, 2014 >> St. Jerome
Job 3:1-3, 11-17, 20-23
View Readings
Psalm 88:2-8 Luke 9:51-56
Similar Reflections


“For then I should have lain down and been tranquil; had I slept, I should then have been at rest.” —Job 3:13
Jesus wants to be Lord of our sleep. He plans to use our sleep both to advance His kingdom and to bless us with sufficient rest. Satan also has plans for our sleep, since it occupies nearly one-third of our lives. In addition to the sleep we lose through the activity of children or neighbors, Satan attempts to rob us of more sleep by tempting us to worry (see Eccl 5:11), fear (Sir 40:5-7), or anger (Eph 4:26ff). When we need to fall asleep, we instead lay awake and fret. This gives the devil a chance to operate on us (see Eph 4:26-27) and further his sabotage of God’s kingdom.

We really need discernment in the area of sleep. At times we are called to do without some sleep. The writer of 2 Maccabees spent many “sleepless nights” writing the Word of God (2 Mc 2:26). Like Jesus, we can be called to intercede and pray long into the night (Mt 14:23, 25). At other times, we sleep when we should be attentive to the Lord (see Mt 26:40ff; Prv 6:9ff; 1 Sm 3:1ff). Conversely, we often are called to sleep, but we won’t. We stay up late entertaining ourselves or working for perishable food (Jn 6:27) when God our Father wants to provide it for us. “It is vain for you to rise early, or put off your rest, you that eat hard-earned bread, for He gives to His beloved in sleep” (Ps 127:2).

If we give our lives to the Lord and live by His teaching, He will tell us: “When you lie down, you need not be afraid, when you rest, your sleep will be sweet” (Prv 3:24; see also Prv 19:23; 1 Sm 2:8). In His peace, we gratefully respond: “As soon as I lie down, I fall peacefully asleep, for You alone, O Lord, bring security to my dwelling” (Ps 4:9). “Sleep in heavenly peace.”

Prayer: Jesus, may I sleep soundly in life’s storms (Mt 8:24-25).
Promise: Jesus “firmly resolved to proceed toward Jerusalem.” —Lk 9:51
Praise: St. Jerome spent four years in the desert, learning God’s Word in solitude and prayer.


Kids pray for an end to abortion too!


English: Douay-Rheims Latin: Vulgata Clementina Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)
Luke 9
51. And it came to pass, when the days of his assumption were accomplishing, that he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem. Factum est autem dum complerentur dies assumptionis ejus, et ipse faciem suam firmavit ut iret in Jerusalem. εγενετο δε εν τω συμπληρουσθαι τας ημερας της αναληψεως αυτου και αυτος το προσωπον αυτου εστηριξεν του πορευεσθαι εις ιερουσαλημ
52. And he sent messengers before his face; and going, they entered into a city of the Samaritans, to prepare for him. Et misit nuntios ante conspectum suum : et euntes intraverunt in civitatem Samaritanorum ut parerent illi. και απεστειλεν αγγελους προ προσωπου αυτου και πορευθεντες εισηλθον εις κωμην σαμαρειτων ωστε ετοιμασαι αυτω
53. And they received him not, because his face was of one going to Jerusalem. Et non receperunt eum, quia facies ejus erat euntis in Jerusalem. και ουκ εδεξαντο αυτον οτι το προσωπον αυτου ην πορευομενον εις ιερουσαλημ
54. And when his disciples James and John had seen this, they said: Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them? Cum vidissent autem discipuli ejus Jacobus et Joannes, dixerunt : Domine, vis dicimus ut ignis descendat de cælo, et consumat illos ? ιδοντες δε οι μαθηται αυτου ιακωβος και ιωαννης ειπον κυριε θελεις ειπωμεν πυρ καταβηναι απο του ουρανου και αναλωσαι αυτους ως και ηλιας εποιησεν
55. And turning, he rebuked them, saying: You know not of what spirit you are. Et conversus increpavit illos, dicens : Nescitis cujus spiritus estis. στραφεις δε επετιμησεν αυτοις [και ειπεν ουκ οιδατε οιου πνευματος εστε υμεις]
56. The Son of man came not to destroy souls, but to save. And they went into another town. Filius hominis non venit animas perdere, sed salvare. Et abierunt in aliud castellum. [ο γαρ υιος του ανθρωπου ουκ ηλθεν ψυχας ανθρωπων απολεσαι αλλα σωσαι] και επορευθησαν εις ετεραν κωμην

40 posted on 10/1/2014, 12:45:35 AM by annalex (fear them not)

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To: annalex

  1. And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,
    52. And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.
    53. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.
    54. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, will you that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?
    55. But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, you know not what manner of spirit you are of.
    56. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.CYRIL; When the time was near at hand in which it behoved our Lord to accomplish His-life-giving Passion, and ascend up to heaven, He determines to go up to Jerusalem, as it is said, And it came to pass, &c.

    TIT. BOST. Because it was necessary that the true Lamb should there be offered, where the typical lamb was sacrificed; but it is said, he steadfastly set his face, that is, He went not here and there traversing the villages and towns, but kept on His way straight towards Jerusalem.

    THEOPHYL; Let then the Heathen cease to mock the Crucified, as if He were a man, who it is plain, as God, both foresaw the time of His crucifixion, and going voluntarily to be crucified, sought with steadfast face, that is, with resolute and undaunted mind, the spot where He was to be crucified.

    CYRIL; And He sends messengers to make a place for Him and His companions, who when they came to the country of the Samaritans were not admitted, as it follows, And sent messengers before his face; and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him.

    AMBROSE; Mark that He was unwilling to be received by those who He knew had not turned to Him with a simple heart. For if He had wished, He might have made them devout, who were undevout. But God calls those whom He thinks worthy, and whom He wills He makes religious. But why they did not receive Him the Evangelist mentions, saying, Because his face was as if he would go to Jerusalem.

    THEOPHYL. But if one understands that they did not receive Him for this reason, because He had determined to go to Jerusalem, an excuse is found for them, who did not receive Him. But we must say, that in the words of the Evangelist, And they did not receive him, is implied that He did not go into Samaria, but afterwards as if some one had asked Him, He explained in these words, why they did not receive Him. And He went not to them, i.e. not that He was unable, but that He did not wish to go there but rather to Jerusalem.

    THEOPHYL; Or the Samaritans see that our Lord is going to Jerusalem, and do not receive Him. For the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans, as John shows.

    CYRIL; But our Lord, Who knew all things before they came to pass, knowing that His messengers would not be received by the Samaritans, nevertheless commanded them to go before Him, because it was His practice to make all things conduce to the good of His disciples. Now He went up to Jerusalem as the time of His suffering drew near. In order then that they might not be offended, when they saw Him suffer, bearing in mind that they must also endure patiently when men persecute them, He ordained beforehand as a land of prelude this refusal of the Samaritans.

    It was good for them also in another way. For they were to be the teachers of the world, going through towns and villages, to preach the doctrine of the Gospel, meeting sometimes with men who would not receive the sacred doctrine, allowing not that Jesus sojourned on earth with them. He therefore taught them, that in announcing the divine doctrine, they ought to be filled with patience and meekness, without bitterness, and wrath, and fierce enmity against those who had done any wrong to them.

    But as yet they were not so, nay, being stirred up with fervid zeal, they wished to bring down fire from heaven upon them. It follows, And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, will you that we command fire to come down from heaven, &c.

    AMBROSE; For they knew both that when Phineas had slain the idolaters it was counted to him for righteousness; and that at the prayer of Elijah fire came down from heaven, that the injuries of the prophet might be avenged.

    THEOPHYL; For holy men who well knew that that death which detaches the soul from the body was not to be feared, still because of their feelings who feared it, punished some sins with death, that both the living might be struck with a wholesome dread, and those who were punished with death might receive helm not from death itself but from sin, which would be increased were they to live.

    AMBROSE; But let him be avenged who fears. He who fears not, seeks not vengeance. At the same time the merits of the Prophets are likewise shown to have been in the Apostles, seeing that they claim to themselves the right of obtaining the same power of which the Prophet was thought worthy; and fitly do they claim that at their command fire should come down from heaven, for they were the sons of thunder.

    TIT. BOST. They thought it much juster that the Samaritans should perish for not admitting our Lord, than the fifty soldiers who tried to thrust down Elijah.

    AMBROSE; But the Lord is not moved against them, that He might show that perfect virtue has no feeling of revenge, nor is there any anger where there is fullness of love. For weakness must not be thrust out; but assisted. Let indignation be far from the religious, let the high-souled have no desire of vengeance. Hence it follows, But he turned and rebuked them, and said, you know not what manner of spirit you are of.

    THEOPHYL; The Lord blames them, not for following the example of the holy Prophet, but for their ignorance in taking vengeance while they were yet inexperienced, perceiving that they did not desire correction from love, but vengeance from hatred. After that He had taught them what it was to love their neighbor as themselves, and the Holy Ghost also had been infused into them, there were not lacking these punishments, though far less frequent than in the Old Testament, because the Son of man came not to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. As if He said, And do you therefore who are sealed with His Spirit, imitate also His actions, now determining charitably, hereafter judging justly.

    AMBROSE; For we must not always punish the offender, since mercy sometimes does more good, leading you to patience, the sinner to repentance. Lastly, those Samaritans believed the sooner, who were in this place saved from fire.

    Catena Aurea Luke 9


Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem

Rembrandt van Rijn

Oil on panel, 58,3 x 46,6 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam


September 30