As you might imagine, during my time as a Catholic priest, many folks have come to talk with me while they are in the midst of suffering. Suffering from a cataclysmic life event, a prolong encounter with illness, betrayal, a life that is heading in the wrong direction, the weight of dealing with a situation or with people – and many more topics. I rarely have solutions and even if I had a suggestion, that’s not why people come to talk. There is a very human need to say things out loud in a place they are sure that someone will listen. As best I can, I try to listen. I pray with them. I suggest they begin to take a look and see where they might find God in milieu of life that swirls around them. And sometimes I will inquire if they have read the Book if Job.
Today we celebrate the Memorial of St. Jerome, best known for his work on the translations of Hebrew and Greek texts of Sacred Scripture into the Latin language version known as the Vulgate. He was also known as a man given to being persnickety, temperamental, easily annoyed and with a quick temper. And he is a saint… there is hope for us all, perhaps.
Certainly, his work on translation is graced and worthy of praise and is a model of persistence, achieved over 30 years of effort. But so too is his persistence in the remorse of his actions with his friends and enemies. I won’t go over his history, his encounters, or his travelogue as he was bounced from place to place. He was not an innocent. Many of his problems were self-inflicted, but he ever turned toward God for grace, mercy and forgiveness. He was human but persistently sought God and the Good in this work for translation and in living out his problematic life. Continue reading