I’m writing this on the Feast day of Saint Jerome, the man who almost single-handedly translated the entire Bible into a single volume. That work, known as the Vulgate Bible, was the official translation of the Catholic Church for many centuries, and almost all Bible translations (until recent centuries) came from Saint Jerome’s labors.
I would be remiss in my duty as an evangelist, which is actually the duty of every baptized person, if I neglected the opportunity of this great Saint’s feast day to encourage everyone to partake of his life’s work. Saint Jerome spent 20 years in a cave in Bethlehem, devoted to the study and translation of scripture, so that the Church would have a reliable translation of the Bible.
The Bible is the inspired Word of God, breathed onto the pages through the cooperation of its human authors, and it is the primary means for God to communicate with us. It contains the fullness of the Story of Salvation (see this link for that continuing series https://nowthatimcatholic.com/category/bible/story-of-salvation/), and allows us see into the very mind of God. We speak to God through prayer, and He speaks to us through His Word.
I’ve been asked for advice on how to grow closer to God, and if I was a doctor I’d write you this prescription (and I’m sure Saint Jerome who is a doctor of the Church would agree), follow this prescription and you’ll see results almost immediately.
It doesn’t matter how long, or what style, you choose. Look at your current prayer life and increase it. If you pray for 5 minutes a day, then step that up to 10. If you only say grace at meals, then add in some Lectio Divino.
Just make an effort to increase your time spent with the Lord. And remember that prayer isn’t just making requests, it’s a conversation, so let it flow.
2. Stay close to the sacraments.
We receive Christ in the Blessed sacrament, but we also receive Him and His graces in the sacrament of reconciliation, and off needed the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. Make use of these fountains of Grace that are flowing for our benefit. One of the best effects of frequent reception of the Eucharist is that we begin to be conformed more fully to the heart of Christ; we become more Christ-like and will love God even more.
3. Study the Bible.
Reading scripture can be a form of prayer, and is actually a terrific way to incorporate more prayer time in your life. But I’d encourage you to undertake a Bible study in addition to prayerful reading of the scriptures.
To study the Bible, especially the Old Testament (The importance of the Old Testament ) gives us better insight and context for our reading of the New Testament and the teachings of the Church.
The Church isn’t founded on the Bible, the Bible has flown from the Church, but it is the foundation of our faith in that it tells the entire Good News, from the Proto-Evangelium in Genesis to the first proclamation of the Good news at the Baptism in the Jordan.
Saint Jerome had an interesting take on the importance of scripture study,
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.
Let’s not be “ignorant of Christ,” and heed the Words of Saint Jerome. Let’s make a commitment on his feast day to have a greater depth and knowledge of scripture on his next feast than we did today.
Coupled with the other two “prescription” we will all grow closer to God through His Grace.