DC11 St. Jerome – The Doctors of the Church: The Charism of Wisdom with Dr. Matthew Bunson – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Dr. Matthew Bunson discusses the life, times and teachings of St. Jerome

From Vatican.va, an excerpt from the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI General Audience 2007

Jerome was born into a Christian family in about 347 A.D. in Stridon. He was given a good education and was even sent to Rome to fine-tune his studies. As a young man he was attracted by the worldly life (cf. Ep 22, 7), but his desire for and interest in the Christian religion prevailed.
He received Baptism in about 366 and opted for the ascetic life. He went to Aquileia and joined a group of fervent Christians that had formed around Bishop Valerian and which he described as almost “a choir of blesseds” (Chron. ad ann. 374). He then left for the East and lived as a hermit in the Desert of Chalcis, south of Aleppo (Ep 14, 10), devoting himself assiduously to study. He perfected his knowledge of Greek, began learning Hebrew (cf. Ep 125, 12), and transcribed codices and Patristic writings (cf. Ep 5, 2). Meditation, solitude and contact with the Word of God helped his Christian sensibility to mature. He bitterly regretted the indiscretions of his youth (cf. Ep. 22, 7) and was keenly aware of the contrast between the pagan mentality and the Christian life: a contrast made famous by the dramatic and lively “vision” – of which he has left us an account – in which it seemed to him that he was being scourged before God because he was “Ciceronian rather than Christian” (cf. Ep. 22, 30).

In 382 he moved to Rome: here, acquainted with his fame as an ascetic and his ability as a scholar, Pope Damasus engaged him as secretary and counsellor; the Pope encouraged him, for pastoral and cultural reasons, to embark on a new Latin translation of the Biblical texts. Several members of the Roman aristocracy, especially noblewomen such as Paula, Marcella, Asella, Lea and others, desirous of committing themselves to the way of Christian perfection and of deepening their knowledge of the Word of God, chose him as their spiritual guide and teacher in the methodical approach to the sacred texts. These noblewomen also learned Greek and Hebrew.

After the death of Pope Damasus, Jerome left Rome in 385 and went on pilgrimage, first to the Holy Land, a silent witness of Christ’s earthly life, and then to Egypt, the favourite country of numerous monks (cf. Contra Rufinum, 3, 22; Ep. 108, 6-14). In 386 he stopped in Bethlehem, where male and female monasteries were built through the generosity of the noblewoman, Paula, as well as a hospice for pilgrims bound for the Holy Land, “remembering Mary and Joseph who had found no room there” (Ep. 108, 14). He stayed in Bethlehem until he died, continuing to do a prodigious amount of work: he commented on the Word of God; he defended the faith, vigorously opposing various heresies; he urged the monks on to perfection; he taught classical and Christian culture to young students; he welcomed with a pastor’s heart pilgrims who were visiting the Holy Land. He died in his cell close to the Grotto of the Nativity on 30 September 419-420.

Jerome’s literary studies and vast erudition enabled him to revise and translate many biblical texts: an invaluable undertaking for the Latin Church and for Western culture. On the basis of the original Greek and Hebrew texts, and thanks to the comparison with previous versions, he revised the four Gospels in Latin, then the Psalter and a large part of the Old Testament. Taking into account the original Hebrew and Greek texts of the Septuagint, the classical Greek version of the Old Testament that dates back to pre-Christian times, as well as the earlier Latin versions, Jerome was able, with the assistance later of other collaborators, to produce a better translation: this constitutes the so-called “Vulgate”, the “official” text of the Latin Church which was recognized as such by the Council of Trent and which, after the recent revision, continues to be the “official” Latin text of the Church. It is interesting to point out the criteria which the great biblicist abided by in his work as a translator. He himself reveals them when he says that he respects even the order of the words of the Sacred Scriptures, for in them, he says, “the order of the words is also a mystery” (Ep. 57, 5), that is, a revelation. Furthermore, he reaffirms the need to refer to the original texts: “Should an argument on the New Testament arise between Latins because of interpretations of the manuscripts that fail to agree, let us turn to the original, that is, to the Greek text in which the New Testament was written. “Likewise, with regard to the Old Testament, if there are divergences between the Greek and Latin texts we should have recourse to the original Hebrew text; thus, we shall be able to find in the streams all that flows from the source” (Ep. 106, 2). Jerome also commented on many biblical texts. For him the commentaries had to offer multiple opinions “so that the shrewd reader, after reading the different explanations and hearing many opinions – to be accepted or rejected – may judge which is the most reliable, and, like an expert moneychanger, may reject the false coin” (Contra Rufinum 1, 16).

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.

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.

I thus conclude with a word St Jerome once addressed to St Paulinus of Nola. In it the great exegete expressed this very reality, that is, in the Word of God we receive eternity, eternal life. St Jerome said: “Seek to learn on earth those truths which will remain ever valid in Heaven” (Ep. 53, 10).

For more visit Vatican.va

Dr. Matthew E. Bunson is a Register senior editor and a senior contributor to EWTN News. For the past 20 years, he has been active in the area of Catholic social communications and education, including writing, editing, and teaching on a variety of topics related to Church history, the papacy, the saints and Catholic culture. He is faculty chair at Catholic Distance University, a senior fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, and the author or co-author of over 50 books including The Encyclopedia of Catholic History, The Pope Encyclopedia, We Have a Pope! Benedict XVI, The Saints Encyclopedia and best-selling biographies of St. Damien of Molokai and St. Kateri Tekakwitha.

IP#341 Elizabeth Lev – How Catholic Art Saved the Faith on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor Podcast


What a delight to speak with Elizabeth Lev about her phenomenal book “How Catholic Art Saved the Faith: The Triumph of Beauty and Truth in Counter-Reformation Art!”  This book is a feast for your mind and heart.  It is filled with Church history and illuminated by a cast of extraordinary characters and beautiful images.  Professor Lev is a master storyteller who never disappoints!  It will be difficult for anyone who begins to enter its pages to put this book down.  This work reflects the best in Catholic cultural apologetics.   Along with the podcast, check out the absorbing TED talk Liz gave on the story of Sistine Chapel embedded in this post!  Give yourself treat, don’t wait, get a copy of the book for yourself and plan on gifting it to many of your friends!

You can find the book here

“In a series of finely crafted and absorbing essays, Elizabeth Lev actually demonstrates how, at a crucial moment in the Church’s history, artists used paintbrush and chisel to proclaim the Gospel. This book will be extremely helpful for catechists, teachers, preachers, and I daresay, for artists themselves. ”
Bishop Robert Barron

“Liz Lev so brilliantly connects art and faith that you will experience every painting, statue and church in a deeper, emotionally powerful and spiritually fulfilling way.”
Newt Gingrich

“A treat for the eye and the soul.”
Peggy Noonan
Wall Street Journal

ROF#10 – “Defending Human Life: The Early Church and Abortion” – Roots of the Faith with Mike Aquilina

Episode 10 – Defending Human Life: The Early Church and Abortion

Mike Aquilina - Fathers of the Church and so much more... 5

Roots of the Faith – From the Church Fathers to You with Mike Aquilina, makes clear that just as an acorn grows into a tree and yet remains the same plant, so the Catholic Church is a living organism that has grown from the faith of the earliest Christians into the body of Christ we know today. Hosted by Kris McGregor

 

Pick up a copy of Mke’s book. You’ll find so much more and invaluable references and resources, as well

Also, visit Mike’s “Discerning Hearts” page for more audio downloads and information!

IP#312 Dr. Kevin Starr – Continental Ambitions on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor

For the Audio only:

What a delight to speak with Dr. Kevin Starr about “Continental Ambitions: Roman Catholics in North America: the Colonial Experience”!  This volume is a  beautifully massive work of “historical art”; so thorough and engaging, I couldn’t stop turning the pages!  Dr. Starr is a master storyteller.  It’s as though he has you on a high precipice overlooking a grand vista, and with the broad swipe of his arm, he points out all the personalities and movements shaping an ever changing view. And during our conversation, it was an absolute joy to hear the enthusiasm and love he has for history and for this particular subject.  I simply cannot recommend this book more highly!

You can find the book here

“These accounts of a human drama heroic and villainous, saintly and sanguineous, are a feast for the historian and, more importantly, food for our generation starved of the story of its own past. The romantic whose knowledge is airbrushed and the cynic whose knowledge is cobbled together with clichés will jointly be challenged. For everyone, reading this book could be a transforming experience, and a delight as well.”
Fr. George Rutler, Author, He Spoke to Us: Discerning God in People and Events

“To see in one book the history of Catholics in the New World, its glories and its tragedies, is almost like reading a secret history of a lost tribe. Kevin Starr s magisterial narration of European Catholic presence in North America the Norse, the Spanish, the French, the English, plus a few others is a contribution of the first order to our understanding of the whole foundation of this land of the free.”
James V. Schall, S.J. Professor Emeritus, Georgetown University

ROF#8 – Roots of the Faith with Mike Aquilina – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Mike Aquilina - Fathers of the Church  and so much more... 5

Episode 8 – The Papacy:  The Apostolic Throne

Roots of the Faith – From the Church Fathers to You with Mike Aquilina, makes clear that just as an acorn grows into a tree and yet remains the same plant, so the Catholic Church is a living organism that has grown from the faith of the earliest Christians into the body of  Christ we know today. Hosted by Kris McGregor

 

 

Pick up a copy of Mke’s book.  You’ll find so much more and invaluable references and resources as well

Also visit Mike’s “Discerning Hearts” page for more audio downloads and information!

ROF#6 – Purgatory:  Love Stronger than Death – Roots of the Faith with Mike Aquilina

Mike Aquilina - Fathers of the Church and so much more... 5

Episode 6 – Purgatory:  Love Stronger than Death

Roots of the Faith – From the Church Fathers to You with Mike Aquilina, makes clear that just as an acorn grows into a tree and yet remains the same plant, so the Catholic Church is a living organism that has grown from the faith of the earliest Christians into the body of  Christ we know today.

 

Pick up a copy of Mke’s book. You’ll find so much more and invaluable references and resources, as well

Also, visit Mike’s “Discerning Hearts” page for more audio downloads and information!

ROF#4 – From the Scriptures to the Bible – Roots of the Faith with Mike Aquilina

Mike Aquilina - Fathers of the Church and so much more... 5

Episode 4 –  From the Scriptures to the Bible

Roots of the Faith – From the Church Fathers to You with Mike Aquilina, makes clear that just as an acorn grows into a tree and yet remains the same plant, so the Catholic Church is a living organism that has grown from the faith of the earliest Christians into the body of  Christ we know today.

 

Pick up a copy of Mke’s book. You’ll find so much more and invaluable references and resources, as well

Also, visit Mike’s “Discerning Hearts” page for more audio downloads and information!

CW5 All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween) – The Great Cloud of Witnesses: Guides for Prayer with Fr. Mark Cyza – Discerning Hearts

Fr. Mark Cyza discusses the origins of All Hallow’s Eve and it’s development into the secular celebration known as “Halloween”.  How should celebrate this time and what should our prayer reflect?

IP#305 Dr. Peter Kreeft – I Burned for Your Peace on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor

Peter Kreeft
These are indeed good days for book lovers because we are so blessed to have yet another Christian spiritual classic broken open for us by Dr. Peter Kreeft!  In “I Burned for Your Peace: Augustine’s Confessions Unpacked“, Dr. Kreeft gives us a  guided tour through one of the finest works in all Western literature.  In our conversation we discuss how St. Augustine, in many ways, is the everyman and why is life is so important for us today. Written in a personal dialogue with God, the saint’s “Confessions” is more than an autobiography or a book of theology, it is, in the end, a living prayer.   It is one man’s compelling witness that is, as  Dr. Kreeft will say, astonishingly contemporary.  St. Augustine looks at himself so honestly, we can’t help but see ourselves in the reflection.  “I Burned for Your Peace” is the must have book to accompany you on this spiritual journey, especially if your heart is a restless one.  So plan your pilgrimage now!  Get the Frank Sheed translation of the “Confessions” as mentioned by Dr. Kreeft in our conversation and grab this book today

I_Burned_for_Your_Peace.inddYou can find the book here

“Two teachers we all know and trust enter into a dialogue to bring forth a Confessions for our day.”
— Fr. David Meconi, S.J., Editor, The Confessions of St. Augustine

“Kreeft is always brilliant, and in this book he is even more astonishing than ever. If I were allowed only one book on the Confessions, this would be it.”
Joseph Pearce, Author, Catholic Literary Giants

“Kreeft illustrates the truth of Augustine’s comment that God is more intimate to us than we are even to ourselves. Only when we realize that we are loved into being by the Triune God, will we experience the profound peace that sustains the pilgrimage to eternal life.”
Fr. Matthew Lamb, Professor of Theology, Ave Maria University

IP#177 Dr. Matthew Bunson – St. Kateri on Inside the Pages

DC33 St. Anthony of Padua – The Doctors of the Church: The Charism of Wisdom w/ Dr. Matthew Bunson 1

Once again we are joined by the fantastic Dr. Matthew Bunson!  We discuss his new work which brings us the life of “St. Kateri: Lily of the Mohawks”.  The humble daughter of a Mohawk chief and a Roman Catholic mother, Kateri (named after St. Catherine of Siena) Tekakwitha lived a short life (she died at the age of 24). But she was such a powerful witness, so much so, that even the famed “black robe” Jesuit missionaries were awed  “by her perfection of the virtues, her mystical prayer life, and her total love for Christ.”  Her last words were: “Jesus, I love you.”  No one tells a story like Dr. Bunson, and he doesn’t fail to captivate this time when describing the life of this remarkably holy woman.

 

 

You can find the book here

“Written by experienced and prolific authors Matthew and Margaret Bunson, St. Kateri: Lily of the Mohawks is the most definitive biography of Kateri Tekakwitha.”

Here is St. Kateri and Dr. Matthew Bunson featured on “Rome Reports”