Thursday, 30 September 2010

St Jerome's Day

St Jerome isn't one of my favourite saints.  He was a brilliant scholar and translator of the Scriptures, but he was a dangerous spiritual director and, frankly, a bad tempered git.  One of the reasons I cannot really stand Eucharistic Prayer 5 in the 1982 Liturgy is my total inability to hear the phrase about "LAUGHING with the saints" and see myself having a chuckle with old Hieronymus! Now, if the Glasgow Synod had listened to the then Curate of St Ninian's (i.e. me) suggestion, we'd have had "rejoices with the saints". But they didn't, preferring instead to go with the emotional, throbbing voiced tosh uttered by an ubiquitous and inveterate committee and synod attending lay person (Female) from the Cathedral.  Selah, as the Psalmist wrote.

However, the office for today's feast was a powerful stimulant to thinking.  First, the Psalm was 119:9-16.  2 verses leap out at me: "Your words have I hidden in my heart: that I should not sin against you" (v10) and "I will meditate on your commandments: and contemplate your ways" (v15).  Then came the Canticle from the Book of Wisdom: "you have made all things by your word" (Wis 9:1).  And of course the lesson from 2 Timothy: "All scripture is inspired by God and can profitably be used for teaching, for refuting error, for guiding people's lives and teaching them to be holy" (3:16).  

Wisdom reminded me that it was the Word himself, the Divine Logos, the Second person of the Holy Trinity who created the world.  That is the Word we revere, not the writings which the misguided thing of as infallible. See St Paul here: inspired yes, useful for certain things - such as teaching us about ourselves and God and the ways in which we do and don't work together.  It's a wise guide, not living by numbers.  Used well, hidden in our hearts to take root and transform us as we grow with God in the silence of intimacy, they do indeed teach us to be holy.  Any guide to contemplation will point that out.  Used badly, as a club to beat others with or as a defence for our own hardness of heart, then they become the source of our condemnation.  My instinct is that it is fundamentalists who will be damned by the Bible come the Day of Judgement.


  1. How about, "....dancing with the saints...."

  2. Can you really see yourself doing the Gay Gordon's with St Jerome?

  3. Interestingly, the Phelps / Westboro Supreme Court case (are they allowed to picket military funerals - or, in US terms, does freedom of speech trumpet freedom of religious practice) goes ahead next week.

  4. I see Phelps and think Luther was right in his approach to such Anabaptists - tie 'em up, weight 'em down and introduce them to a nice deep river!