Carissimi: Today’s Mass; St Jerome, Confessor and Doctor of the Church

st-jeromeSt Jerome, Confessor and Doctor of the Church: Missa “In medio Ecclesiae

Jerome (Eusebius Hieronymus) was a Father of the Church and Doctor of the Church, whose great work was the translation of the Bible into Latin, the edition known as the Vulgate. He was born at Stridon on the borders of Dalmatia and Pannonia of a well-to-do Christian family. His parents sent him to Rome to further his intellectual interests, and there he acquired a knowledge of classical literature and was baptized at the age of 19. Shortly thereafter he journeyed to Trier in Gaul and to Aquileia in Italy, where he began to cultivate his theological interests in company with others who, like himself, were ascetically inclined.

About 373, Jerome set out on a pilgrimage to the East. In Antioch, where he was warmly received, he continued to pursue his humanist and monastic studies. He also had a profound spiritual experience, dreaming that he was accused of being “a Ciceronian, not a Christian.” Accordingly, he determined to devote himself exclusively to the Bible and theology, although the translator Rufinus (345-410), Jerome’s close friend, suggested later that the vow was not strictly kept. Jerome moved to the desert of Chalcis, and while practicing more rigorous austerities, pursued his studies, including the learning of Hebrew. On his return to Antioch in 378 he heard Apollinaris the Younger (c.310-c.390) lecture and was admitted to the priesthood (379) by Paulinus, bishop of Antioch. In Constantinople, where he spent three years around 380, he was influenced by Gregory of Nazianzus.

When Jerome returned to Rome Pope Damasus I appointed him confidential secretary and librarian and commissioned him to begin his work of rendering the Bible into Latin. After the death (384) of Damasus, however, Jerome fell out of favor, and for a second time he decided to go to the East. He made brief visits to Antioch, Egypt, and Palestine. In 386, Jerome settled at Bethlehem in a monastery established for him by Paula, one of a group of wealthy Roman women whose spiritual adviser he had been and who remained his lifelong friend. There he began his most productive literary period, and there he remained for 34 years, until his death. From this period come his major biblical commentaries and the bulk of his work on the Latin Bible.

The writings of Jerome express a scholarship unsurpassed in the early church and helped to create the cultural tradition of the Middle Ages. He developed the use of philological and geographical material in his exegesis and recognized the scientific importance of archeology. In his interpretation of the Bible he used both the allegorical method of the Alexandrian and the realism of the Antiochene schools. A difficult and hot-tempered man, Jerome made many enemies, but his correspondence with friends and enemies alike is of great interest, particularly that with Saint Augustine. His greatest gifts were in scholarship, and he is a true founder of scientific biblical exegesis in the West.

INTROIT Ecclus 15:5

In the midst of the assembly he opened his mouth; and the Lord filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding; He clothed him with a robe of glory. Ps 91:2 It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praise to Your name, Most High. V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen

COLLECT

O God, Who graciously gave Your Church blessed Jerome, Your Confessor and peerless teacher, to explain the Holy Scriptures, grant, we beseech You, that, with the help of his merits and by Your assistance, we may be able to put into practice what he has taught us by his life and works. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.

EPISTLE 2 Tim. 4:1-8

Lesson from the secons letter of St Paul the Apostle to Timotheus: Beloved: I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus, Who will judge the living and the dead by His coming and by His kingdom, preach the word, be urgent in season, out of season; reprove, entreat, rebuke with all patience and teaching. For there will come a time when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but having itching ears, will heap up to themselves teachers according to their lusts, and they will turn away their hearing from the truth and turn aside rather to fables. But be watchful in all things, bear with tribulation patiently, work as a preacher of the Gospel, fulfill your ministry. As for me, I am already being poured out in sacrifice, and the time of my deliverance is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith. For the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice, which the Lord, the just Judge, will give to me in that day; yet not to me only, but also to those who love His coming.

GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Psalm 36:30-31

The mouth of the just man tells of wisdom, and his tongue utters what is right. V. The law of his God is in his heart, and his steps do not falter. Alleluia, alleluia. Ecclus 45:9 V. The Lord loved him and adorned him; He clothed him with a robe of glory. Alleluia.

GOSPEL Matt 5:13-19

At that time Jesus said to His disciples: “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its strength, what shall it be salted with? It is no longer of any use but to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Neither do men light a lamp and put it under the measure, but upon the lampstand, so as to give light to all in the house. Even so let your light shine before men, in order that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For amen I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle shall be lost from the Law till all things have been accomplished. Therefore whoever does away with one of these least commandments, and so teaches men, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever carries them out and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Ps 91:13

The just shall flourish like the palm tree; like a cedar of Libanus shall he grow.

SECRET

By Your heavenly gifts, grant us, O Lord, we pray, to serve You with a free mind, so that the offerings we present, may, by the intercession of blessed Jerome, Your Confessor, lead us to heavenly glory. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.

PREFACE of the Common

It is truly meet and just, and profitable unto salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks to thee, O Holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God, through Christ, our Lord. Though whom the angels praise thy majesty, the dominions adore it, the powers are in awe. Which the heavens and the hosts of heaven together with the blessed seraphim joyfully do magnify. And do thou command that it be permitted to us join with them in confessing thee, while we say with lowly praise:

COMMUNION ANTIPHON Luke 12:42

The faithful and prudent servant whom the master will set over his household to give them their ration of grain in due time.

POSTCOMMUNION

Filled with heavenly food, we beseech You, O Lord, that by the intercession of blessed Jerome, Your Confessor, we may be found worthy to obtain the favor of Your mercy. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.

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