FEAST OF ST. JEROME, PRIEST, DOCTOR, AND ASCETIC.
Born on the borders of Dalmatia and Pannonia at an uncertain date, perhaps in the year 331; died about 420.
THE Church owes and pays a debt of lasting gratitude to St. Jerome: whose studies in the Hebrew Bible, revision of the Vulgate translation, scriptural comments and polemical writings, establish him as on the whole a vigorous and effective champion of truth.
Yet not altogether without flaw. Of strong natural passions, and still stronger will, he strained that strong will to the uttermost to overcome the natural man; and the desert cell he sometime inhabited witnessed his life and death struggle with evil, his occasional ecstasy, his hard-won triumph.
No marvel that a strength which sufficed to trample down self occasionally ran, as it did, into ruggedness, asperity, unseemliness, in the field of controversy.
Yet had this formidable athlete a tender, accessible heart, affectionate towards the saints he trained among Rome's noblest matrons and maids; warm and wide to receive and entertain in his monasteries, in his very cell, fugitives from the once Imperial City when overthrown by an inundation of barbarians.
So this great man wrestled and labored: on the whole, emitting a trumpet voice of no uncertain sound, and a light to lighten all who would come into that holy house which is the Church of God.
As his life, so his death had both a stormy side and a side of enduring peace. Factious Christians burnt the two monasteries he had partly founded, and chased him thence: yet were his emaciated remains buried in his monastic grotto, and that monastery was at Bethlehem.
Long ago the verdict, whether of friends or of foes, has ceased to affect him. As he himself foresaw when he wrote to the beloved lady Asella: "I know we may arrive at heaven equally with a bad, as a good name."