St. Jerome

Today is the Feast of St. Jerome.
St. Jerome was born in present day Croatia about the year 345. He was very smart, and one day he met an old hermit named Malchus, who inspired him to live a life of penance; he therefore began to live in a bare cell and spent much time studying the Holy Scriptures.
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Since the common language in those days was Latin, the Pope asked Jerome to translate the scriptures into Latin. He therefore set about becoming an expert in Greek and Hebrew. He learned Hebrew from a Jewish rabbi, and then translated the scriptures into the Latin Vulgate, which remains today the official translation of the Church.
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Jerome also was very fiery and spoke his mind. When some of the clergy were not living right, he scolded them, and for this reason, he created many enemies who tried to humiliate him. They played tricks on him. For example, one time he was sleeping at a monastery, and while he slept, the others replaced his robe which was laid out, with that of a woman’s gown. When he got up early in the morning, still sleepy, he put on the woman’s gown thinking it was his own, and proceeded into the Church for prayers. His enemies had done this to make it appear that he had a woman in his room. But despite the trouble that others gave him, Jerome was not deterred.
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When we see pictures of St. Jerome, there is often a lion there, and here is the reason for this. One day a lion limped into their monastery, and in fear, the other monks ran away, but Jerome greeted the lion as a guest. The lion showed him his wounded paw, which had a thorn. He removed the thorn and applying medicine, nursed the lion back to full health. In doing so, the lion became as tame as a house pet.
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St. Jerome was an expert on the Holy Scriptures; he used to say, ‘Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ.’ I ask young people if they can commit to reading the Sacred Scriptures for 3 minutes each day; it is a short time, but it does a lot over the years. A priest once said, ‘if at the end of the day you go to bed and turn out the light, but you realize that you have not read anything from scripture, turn on the light and read from the Sacred Book, and only then go to sleep.’
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The bones of St. Jerome are inside the main altar at St. Mary Major in Rome; the altar is supported by carved paws of a lion.

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