Today marks the feast of St. Jerome.
I have some special affection for this old saint– and an unusual connection to him. In the 1930s, my father kissed his Slovak mother on the cheek and walked out the door of their ramshackle house near the coal mines of Pennsylvania and joined the Christian Brothers, where he ended up taking the name Brother Jerome.
Nearly 70 years later, his son took a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and I whispered a grateful prayer on my father’s behalf at the rocky tomb of St. Jerome.
Two years after that, in a moment that I could never have anticipated, I found myself in a cathedral in Brooklyn, receiving a bible from the hands of a bishop as he welcomed me and dozens of other men beginning aspirancy for the diaconate at Evening Prayer. It was September 30th, 2002 — the feast of St. Jerome.
For some reason, Jerome has figured in my life. So I’ll just mark this day with a quiet prayer of thanksgiving for whatever role he has played, and ask him to keep me from making too much of a fool of myself as I muddle through my own work with the scriptures and strive in my own way to make others know the Christ.
This comes from today’s Office of Readings, and a commentary by St. 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.