Jerome refuted with energy and liveliness the heretics who contested the tradition and faith of the Church. He also demonstrated the importance and validity of Christian literature, which had by then become a real culture that deserved to be compared with classical literature: he did so by composing his De Viris Illustribus, a work in which Jerome presents the biographies of more than a hundred Christian authors. Further, he wrote biographies of monks, comparing among other things their spiritual itineraries as well as monastic ideal. In addition, he translated various works by Greek authors. Lastly, in the important Epistulae, a masterpiece of Latin literature, Jerome emerges with the profile of a man of culture, an ascetic and a guide of souls.And from his November 14, 2007, General Audience, also dedicated to St. Jerome:
What can we learn from St Jerome? It seems to me, this above all; to love the Word of God in Sacred Scripture. St Jerome said: "Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ". It is therefore important that every Christian live in contact and in personal dialogue with the Word of God given to us in Sacred Scripture. This dialogue with Scripture must always have two dimensions: on the one hand, it must be a truly personal dialogue because God speaks with each one of us through Sacred Scripture and it has a message for each one. We must not read Sacred Scripture as a word of the past but as the Word of God that is also addressed to us, and we must try to understand what it is that the Lord wants to tell us. However, to avoid falling into individualism, we must bear in mind that the Word of God has been given to us precisely in order to build communion and to join forces in the truth on our journey towards God. Thus, although it is always a personal Word, it is also a Word that builds community, that builds the Church. We must therefore read it in communion with the living Church. The privileged place for reading and listening to the Word of God is the liturgy, in which, celebrating the Word and making Christ's Body present in the Sacrament, we actualize the Word in our lives and make it present among us. We must never forget that the Word of God transcends time. Human opinions come and go. What is very modern today will be very antiquated tomorrow. On the other hand, the Word of God is the Word of eternal life, it bears within it eternity and is valid for ever. By carrying the Word of God within us, we therefore carry within us eternity, eternal life.
For Jerome, a fundamental criterion of the method for interpreting the Scriptures was harmony with the Church's Magisterium. We should never read Scripture alone because we meet too many closed doors and could easily slip into error. The Bible has been written by the People of God and for the People of God under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Only in this communion with the People of God do we truly enter into the "we", into the nucleus of the truth that God himself wants to tell us. For him, an authentic interpretation of the Bible must always be in harmonious accord with the faith of the Catholic Church. It does not treat of an exegesis imposed on this Book from without; the Book is really the voice of the pilgrim People of God and only in the faith of this People are we "correctly attuned" to understand Sacred Scripture. Therefore, Jerome admonishes: "Remain firmly attached to the traditional doctrine that you have been taught, so that you can preach according to right doctrine and refute those who contradict it" (Ep. 52, 7). In particular, given that Jesus Christ founded his Church on Peter, every Christian, he concludes, must be in communion "with St Peter's See. I know that on this rock the Church is built" (Ep. 15, 2). Consequently, without approximations, he declared: "I am with whoever is united to the teaching of St Peter" (Ep. 16).Those audiences and numerous others are in the collection, Church Fathers: From Clement of Rome to Augustine, by Pope Benedict XVI
Following his best selling book, Jesus of Nazareth, and his talks published in Jesus, the Apostles, and the Early Church, Pope Benedict's Church Fathers presents these important figures of early Christianity in all their evangelical vitality, spiritual profundity, and uncompromising love of God. Benedict tells the true story of Christianity's against-all-odds triumph in the face of fierce Roman hostility and persecution. He does this by exploring the lives and the ideas of the early Christian writers, pastors, and martyrs, men so important to the spread of Christianity that history remembers them as "the Fathers of the Church".
This rich and engrossing survey of the early Church includes those churchmen who immediately succeeded the Apostles, the "Apostolic Fathers": Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, and Irenaeus of Lyon. Benedict also discusses such great Christian figures as Tertullian, Origen, Cyprian of Carthage, the Cappadocian Fathers, as well as the giants John Chrysostom, Jerome, and Augustine. This book is a wonderful way to get to know the Church Fathers and the tremendous spiritually rich patrimony they have bequeathed to us. Continue reading...