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.