Spirituality for Today – September 2011 – Volume 16, Issue 2

Saint of the Month
St. Jerome, September 30

An image of Saint JeromeSaint Jerome

Jerome was born around A.D. 345 in Dalmatia. He was an avid student, studying Latin and Greek in Rome, where he was baptized at age 18. From Rome, he traveled to Gaul, then to Aquileia in Italy, and finally to Antioch in Syria. There, Jerome studied theology and enjoyed classical literature.

Then something happened that changed Jerome's life. Jerome came down with a high fever and became delirious. He had a vision in which he saw himself standing before Christ, Who challenged Jerome, saying he was not a true Christian but a follower of Cicero, the Roman orator. Jerome promised to be true to Jesus and to give up his preoccupation with classical literature. From then on, Jerome devoted himself solely to the study of the Bible.

Disturbed by his vision, Jerome went into the wilderness outside Antioch. He spent four years there, fasting and wrestling with his earthly desires. During this time, Jerome studied Hebrew and eventually mastered it. He later translated the Bible into Latin, which is known today as the Vulgate.

In 386, Jerome traveled to Bethlehem, where he joined a monastery and became its leader. A fervent Bible scholar, he continued to write and study. In 410, when Christians were forced to flee Rome, the monastery offered them refuge. Jerome wrote, "I cannot help them all but I grieve and weep with them…Today, we must translate the words of the Scriptures into deeds, and instead of speaking saintly words so we must act."

About six years later, Jerome's health and sight began to deteriorate. He died peacefully on September 30.

Show me, O Lord,
your mercy and delight my heart with it.
Let me find you whom I so lovingly seek.
See! Here is the man whom the robbers seized,
mishandled, and left half dead on the road to Jericho.
O kind hearted Samaritan, come to my aid!
Lam the sheep who wandered into the wilderness –––
Seek after me and bring me home again to your fold.
Do with me what you will that I may stay by you all the days of my life,
And praise you with all those who are with you in heaven for all eternity.

From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives