Church Fathers, Day 173: St. Jerome tells us reading Scripture is a foretaste of heaven

st_jeromeReading Scripture is a foretaste of heaven

Writing to the bishop Paulinus, St. Jerome tells him that he should love nothing better than reading and meditating on Scripture.

I beg you, dear brother, to live among these books—to meditate on them—to know nothing else, to look for nothing else. Don’t you think a life like that seems like a foretaste of heaven here on earth?

Don’t let the simplicity of Scripture or its simple vocabulary put you off. These things are either the fault of the translators or else for a deliberate pur­pose, for that way it’s better adapted to teaching an illiterate congregation—the educated person can take one meaning and the uneducated another from the same sentence.

I’m not so stupid or vain as to tell you that I myself know it, or that here on earth I can pick the fruit that has its root in heaven. But I confess that I’d like to do so. I put myself before the man who sits idle and—making no claim to be a teach­er—I readily promise to be a fellow student. “For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:8). Here on earth, let us learn the knowledge that will stay with us in heaven.

St. Jerome, Letter 53

IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .

How well do I know Scripture?

Do I spend even a little of every day reading the Bible?

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord, enlighten me so that I can understand your life-giving and divine commands, and grant me through your grace and mercy to gather from them the assurance of your love, and hope, and salvation.

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