St Jerome, Confessor and Doctor of the Church: Missa “In medio Ecclesiae”
Saint Jerome, born in Dalmatia in 329, was sent to school in Rome. His boyhood was not free from faults; his thirst for knowledge was excessive, and his love of books, a passion. He had studied under the best masters, visited foreign cities, and devoted himself to the pursuit of learning. But Christ had need of his strong will and active intellect for the service of His Church. He told him in a supernatural experience he never forgot that he was not a Christian, but a Ciceronian: Your heart is where your treasure is, said the Lord to him — that is, in the eloquent writings of antique times. Saint Jerome obeyed the divine call, making a vow never again to read profane works, and another of celibacy. In Rome he had already assisted a number of holy women to organize houses of retirement where they consecrated themselves to God by vow. Calumnies, arising from jealousy, made a certain headway against the scholar whose competence was beginning to attract honours.
He fled from Rome to the wild Syrian desert, and there for four years learned in solitude, intense sufferings and persecution from the demons, new lessons in humility, penance and prayer, and divine wisdom. I was very foolish to want to sing the hymns of the Lord on foreign soil, and to abandon the mountain of Sinai to beg help from Egypt, he declared.
Pope Damasus summoned him back to Rome, and there assigned to the famous scholar, already expert in Hebrew and other ancient languages, the task of revising the Latin Bible. Saint Jerome obeyed his earthly Head as he had obeyed his Lord. Retiring once more in 386 to Bethlehem, the eloquent hermit sent forth from his solitary cell not only a solidly accurate version of the Scriptures, but during thirty years’ time, a veritable stream of luminous writings for the Christian world. He combated with unfailing efficacy several heresies being subtly introduced by various personages in his own region and elsewhere.
For fourteen years the hand of the great scholar could no longer write; but Saint Jerome could still dictate to six secretaries at a time, to each on a different subject, in those final years. He died in his beloved Bethlehem in 420, when over 80 years old. His tomb is still in a subterranean chapel of its ancient basilica, but his relics were transported to Saint Mary Major Basilica of Rome, where the crib of Bethlehem is conserved.
Of your charity… today is also the onomastico (name day) and anniversary of priestly ordination of The Old Roman editor, ✠Jerome OSJV of Selsey. Please remember and keep His Grace in your prayers as he strives to “keep the Faith” for us all!
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
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 second 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 fulfil. 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.
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.
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 favour 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.