Category Archives: Sacred Scripture

Saint Jerome

Today we liturgically remember Saint Jerome (340-420). Because the sacred Liturgy is our first theology, let me quote the opening collect prayed at Mass:

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.

And from the Communion collect:

…stir up the hearts of your faithful so that, attentive to sacred teachings, they may understand the the path they are to follow and, by following it, obtain life everlasting.

The controlling ideas the Church wants us to focus on are namely, that we have a living and tender love for Scripture with the hope that we would be nourished by it and find in Scripture a source of life. Likewise, our understanding this path we may enter into heaven. Christians: we are to walk toward the light of everlasting life. Indeed. Jerome is one of our guides in our study of Scripture.

Jerome was born in Dalmatia (present day Croatia). Having studied in Rome and he was baptized there before being ordained a priest in the Eastern part of the Roman Empire. Recognizing his giftedness, Pope Damasus called Jerome to Rome to serve as his secretary; following the death Damasus, Jerome went East again, that is, Bethlehem, where he was active in building projects: a monastery, a hospice, and a school. His intellectual gifts were set on translating the Bible into the vernacular Latin. We still us Jerome’s biblical translation (with some revisions) today. His letters and commentaries on Holy Scripture still give insight. He is honored with being a Doctor of the Church.

And, likely his most famous line is noted in today’s Office of Readings from Jerome’s prologue of the commentary on Isaiah:

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 [others]: “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 Gods, then ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.

10 Biblical Verses leading to Catholicity

Lord God, your words were found and I consumed them;

your word became the joy and happiness of my heart. (Jer. 15:16)

10 Biblical Verses that lead to a deeper, more vibrant Catholic faith:

1. Matthew 16:18-19 / Isaiah 22:22 (Authority)

2. 1 Timothy 3:15 (Authority)

3. 2 Thessalonians 2:15 (Tradition)

4. 1 Peter 3:21 (Baptism)

5. John 20:23 (Confession)

6. John 6:53-58, 66-67 (Eucharist)

7. 1 Corinthians 11:27 (Eucharist)

8. James 5:14-15 (Anointing)

9. Colossians 1:24 (Suffering)

10. James 2:17- 26 (Works)

This is what you’ll call evangelical Catholicism: relying on the scripture base your faith. The first question we have to ask ourselves: What does Scripture reveal? These bible verse are ones it is said, that Protestants Cannot Accept (without becoming Catholic). Blessed feast of Saint Jerome, patron saint of biblical scholars.

The Garima Gospels witness to a living Christian faith

Gramina GospelsIn 2010, there was an interesting “find” for the biblical world of our era. This article is three years old but it ought to raise our interests in the biblical narrative not merely for literary and artistic considerations, but for matters pertaining to divine revelation. We have a lot more work to do if we are to say we “know it all” when it comes to the bible.

I say this because while news reports reveal what can be viewed as a testimony to the attractiveness to the biblical tradition of the Christian Church. The attractiveness of a dynamic faith in Jesus as Savior and Messiah. The realization that our Christian faith is based on meeting God and that we just don’t make things up as we go along.

What is now considered to be among the oldest surviving works of Christianity, the Garima Gospels date perhaps to the early fourth century first came to light in the 1950s; scholars and philanthropists in England are helping to preserve the treasure today.

The Monastery of Abba Garima in northern Ethiopia is one of many places where Christians have conserved their ancient texts relating to the Good News preached by Jesus Christ. That we have a fourth century manuscript with some very early extant Christian illustrations is stunning. The images have Coptic similarities. One more reason we need to have concern for Christians who live in Egypt, Ethiopian and Eritrea. According to reports, the Garima Gospels contain portraits of the Evangelists. A literary and cultural find for some, another piece for biblical archeology for scholars, these Gospel pages are relics of a living faith.

Blessed Guerric of Igny

I am reminded by my own heart that the the early morning is a particularly good time of the day to be clothed in a special silence, but there are time at dusk that the discipline of silence is helpful. This is an essential part of spiritual maturity, an adult faith in Divine Providence. Listening and speaking to the Trinity is done when the heart and mind are slowed, even word-less. Knowing and following God’s will is only possible if we give a certain amount of day to quiet, that is, silence. Not a punishing silence, not a hopeless silence, but a manner of being that helps us to see ourselves in action: the manifestation of the virtues of faith, hope, charity, justice, peace, perseverance, etc.

Blessed Guerric in his 28th sermon says,

“As the Christ-child in the womb advanced toward birth in a long, deep silence, so does the discipline of silence nourish, form and strengthen a person’s spirit, and produce growth which is the safer and more wholesome for being the more hidden.”

Silence, therefore, is a gift that allows us to enter more deeply into the revealed Word of God, the biblical narrative through the practice of lectio divina, the practice of prayerfully reading the sacred Scripture. It is, I am convinced, the new springtime of the Church as Benedict XVI said, proposing once again the ancient Christian practice. Most often we when we hear the words lectio divina we think of monastic reading where the person is immersed in God’s holy word with the distinct desire to seek the face of God, thus making a home for that Word in his heart.

The famous Cistercian father Blessed Guerric of Igny (c. 1070/80-1157) was influenced by Origen and whose formation was under Saint Bernard was quite insightful on many things when it came to liturgical theology and the monasteric life.

If you are inclined to read more about what this Cistercian father taught, you may want to pick up a copy of John Morson’s Christ the Way: the Christology of Guerric of Igny (Liturgical Press). But his liturgical sermons are worth every effort; they are published by Liturgical Press, too.

Blessed Guerric taught the following to his brothers lectio divina:

Search the Scripture.  For you are not mistaken in thinking that you find life in them, you who seek nothing else in them but Christ, to whom the Scriptures bear witness.  Blessed indeed are they who search his testimonies, seek them out with all their heart.  Therefore you who walk about in the gardens of the Scriptures do not pass by heedlessly and idly, but searching each and every word like busy bees gathering homey from flowers, reap the Spirit from the words. (Sermon 54)

Where are the 12 Apostles buried?

Have you ever wondered about the details of the Apostles’ death and burial? It is a curious question for biblical studies and archeology, liturgical studies and piety in general. I caught this clever illustration the other day and it answers my question. I hope it is accurate. When in Rome I’ve been to some of the tombs; I guess I’ll have to wait to get to India, Spain and Germany.

apostles.jpg

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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