|Saint Jerome in his Study, fresco by Domenico Ghirlandaio, 1480 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
|English: The Francesco St Jerome by Palma il Giovane (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
St. Jerome was "the foremost Scripture scholar among the Church fathers, a pioneer in biblical criticism" (NJBC, v). In his commentary on Isaiah, he wrote “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ” (Commentary on Isaiah, Prol.: PL 24,17). This line also appeared in the Vatican II document Dei Verbum 25:
25. Therefore, all the clergy must hold fast to the Sacred Scriptures through diligent sacred reading and careful study, especially the priests of Christ and others, such as deacons and catechists who are legitimately active in the ministry of the word. This is to be done so that none of them will become "an empty preacher of the word of God outwardly, who is not a listener to it inwardly" (4) since they must share the abundant wealth of the divine word with the faithful committed to them, especially in the sacred liturgy. The sacred synod also earnestly and especially urges all the Christian faithful, especially Religious, to learn by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures the "excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 3:8). "For ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ."(5) Therefore, they should gladly put themselves in touch with the sacred text itself, whether it be through the liturgy, rich in the divine word, or through devotional reading, or through instructions suitable for the purpose and other aids which, in our time, with approval and active support of the shepherds of the Church, are commendably spread everywhere. And let them remember that prayer should accompany the reading of Sacred Scripture, so that God and man may talk together; for "we speak to Him when we pray; we hear Him when we read the divine saying." (6)
I will celebrate by teaching my MA class on the Letters of Paul tonight. You might choose something equally biblical and convivial! Enjoy!
John W. Martens
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