30 September 2009

Words from Jerome

Saint Jerome, who's memorial we celebrate today, is perhaps best known for his translation of the Bible into Latin (the Vulgate) and for his celebrated line, "Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ."

Jerome was a prolific letter writer, full of many great insights and quips. Here are just a few I have selected for you:

"Man's nature is such that truth tastes bitter and pleasant vices are esteemed" (Letter XL).

"Indeed it is dangerous to pass sentence on another's servant, and to speak evil of the upright is a thing not lightly to be excused" (Letter XLV).

"I often discoursed on the Scriptures to the best of my ability: study brought about familiarity, familiarity friendship, friendship confidence" (Letter XLV).

"...people are more ready to belive a tale which, though false, they hear with pleasure, and urge others to invent it if they have not done so already" (Letter XLV).

"Our opinion of you is like your opinion of us, and each in turn things the other insane" (Letter XLV).

"Let them know us [clergy] as comforters in their sorrows rather than as guests in their days of prosperity" (Letter LII).

"Change your love of necklaces and jewels and silk dresses to a desire for scriptural knowledge" (Letter LIV).

"The face is the mirror of the mind, and eyes without speaking confess the secrets of the heart" (Letter LIV).

"I groaned to hear his tale, and by silence expressed far more than I could with words" (Letter CXVII).

"...even if your own conscience is unhurt, scandal brings disgrace" (Letter CXVII).

"Marriage is a raft for the shipwrecked, a remedy that may at least cure a bad beginning" (Letter CXVII).

"Nothing is happier than the Christian, for to him is promised the kingdom of heaven: nothing is more toil-worn, for every day he goes in danger of his life. Nothing is stronger than he is, for he triumphs over the devil: nothing is weaker, for he is conquered by the flesh" (Letter CXXV).

"If the merchants of this world undergo such pains to arrive at doubtful and passing riches, and after seeking them in the midst of dangers keep them at the risk of their lives, what should not Christ's merchant do who sells all he has to buy the pearl of great price, and with his whole substance buys a field that he may find therein a treasure which neither thief can dig up nor robber carry away" (Letter CXXV)?

There is a particular passage for which I am looking. If I find it, I will post if for you later tonight.

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