Memorial of Saint Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church

A former teacher of mine described the process how printers were paid in Tibet before the printing press had arrived.  The printers would make the block engravings of a text as was standard.  The person who commissioned the engravings would then pay the engraver in gold flakes.  The amount of gold flakes paid to the engraver would depend on the depth of the cuts in the engraved blocks.  For the patron of the engraving would pour gold flakes into the engraved block, and how ever many gold flakes it took to fill in the engravings was the payment for the blocks.  The assumption is that deeper engravings would last longer.  I bring up this story because today is the memorial of St. Jerome.

St Jerome lived in the 4th century, and held important roles in the Church, like being the secretary to the Pope.  His most well-known contribution to the Church is his translation of the books of the Bible into Latin, a work known as the Vulgate.  The Vulgate would become the standard Latin version of the Bible in western Christendom.  In order to translate the Bible, Jerome had to master Greek and Hebrew, a labor that took time to accomplish.  When we hear or read the Gospel, we probably do not call to mind to all the people it took for the words of Jesus and our sacred stories to reach us.  Scholars, like St. Jerome, dedicated their lives to the transference of the message of Jesus to be carried with accurate translations and meaningful commentaries.

Like the Tibetan engravers mentioned above, St. Jerome produced the Vulgate that was the Biblical translations for centuries of Christians.  Each word he wrote contained something more precious to us than gold: the Word of God.  There is nothing we could do to repay Jerome and other scholars like him who guide the Church in understanding divine revelation.  Let us pray that God gives us the grace for gratitude for all who communicate the word of God.

Take a moment to experience a moment of gratitude for all those people who have relayed the word of God to us.

September 30th, 2017