Wednesday, September 30, 2009
ST. JEROME (340-420)
Truly "in love" with the Word of God, he asked himself: "How could one live without the knowledge of Scripture, through which one learns to know Christ himself, who is the life of believers?" The Bible, an instrument "by which God speaks every day to the faithful", thus becomes a stimulus and source of Christian life for all situations and for each person. To read Scripture is to converse with God: "If you pray", he writes to a young Roman noblewoman, "you speak with the Spouse; if you read, it is he who speaks to you". …
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". 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". Consequently, without approximations, he declared: "I am with whoever is united to the teaching of St Peter".