God breathed

Monday was the Memorial of St. Jerome, best known for his translation the Vulgate Bible. St. Jerome translated from OT Hebrew and NT Greek into Latin. He famously said: “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”  Advice we should all take to heart.

The first reading on the Memorial is from 2 Timothy and, in part, reads: “All Scripture is inspired by God” (2 Tim 3:16). The phrase is theopneustos (Theos, God, pneō, to breathe). It would sound odd to our ears, but I would rather like the translation to be “All Scripture is God-breathed.”

It echoes Genesis 1:2 when “the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters.”  Mighty wind, or in Hebrew, rûaḥ, also translated as breath. At the every creative moment of all beginnings and life, the breath of God.

It echoes John 20:21-23, “(Jesus) said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.‘”  At every moment when the forgiveness for all given on the cross was extended into time via the Sacrament of Confession – God breathed upon the apostles.

When God breathes, we should pay attention


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