DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     September 30, 1998     vol. 9, no. 191

DAILY LITURGY

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO

Wednesday, September 30, 1998

      First Reading: Job 1: 6-22
      Psalms: Psalm 17: 1-3, 6-7
      Gospel Reading: Luke 9: 46-50

Feast of Saint Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church

          Born of wealthy parents in Dalmatia, which is today the former Yugoslavia, Jerome was given the opportunity to study at the great universities. He chose Rome, studying the languages. Through his intellectual curiosity towards literature, Christian writings and Scripture, he came to realize the Truth and was baptized in 360 by Pope Liberius himself. Jerome, yearning for more, gave up the pagan culture and the social trappings and sought the life of a hermit for four years where he studied Hebrew which he later called "the language of hissing and broken-winded words." At the conclusion of this seclusion, he became a priest around 379 and journeyed to Constantinople where he studied Scripture with St. Gregory Nazianzus as his tutor. When Gregory retired as Bishop of Constantinople and left for Asia Minor, Jerome was drawn to Rome where, accompanied by Bishop Paulinus, he was introduced to Pope Saint Damasus I. So taken was the pontiff that he appointed Jerome as his secretary and commissioned him to undertake his greatest contribution: translating the Greek and Hebrew texts of Sacred Scripture into Latin. At that time the language of the common people of the empire in the west was Latin, yet most of the writings had been in Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic and thus understandable only to the learned. Urged on by Pope Damasus, Jerome accepted the tremendous task of translating the entire bible into Latin to which we are all grateful for the Latin Vulgate Edition of St. Jerome. It took great skill and discernment to express the meaning of the Word of God in Latin and to know which words to choose. Jerome was given another gift, that of being able to express the Word in the simplest and most meaningful way and honing in even more on the true essence of all that was written by the prophets and evangelists. Within a short time the people were able to read and understand the "Good News" of the New Testament. This played a major role in the people rejecting the heresy of Arianism in the West for they could now read first hand the truth. While he was working on this massive project, Jerome had also become spiritual director to three holy women who had come from nobility but wanted more than the world offered. Many believe these ladies - Marcella, Paula and Eustochia were the first religious nuns. Because of her wealth and strong faith, Paula built a monastery in Bethlehem for the women to live and when Damasus died in 384 Jerome graciously declined Pope Saint Siricusí offer to stay on as secretary, opting instead to become full time spiritual director at the Bethlehem monastery where he could also devote more time to translating the greater part of the Old Testament from Hebrew to Latin. For nine years from 393 to 404 many Arian clergymen sought to discredit him and cast scandal on Jerome, the sisters, and the Church but Jerome, through his faithfulness and the grace of God, withstood these attacks and staunchly defended the orthodox doctrine of his faith. He had intended to return to Rome at the urging of Pope Saint Innocent I who was elected the 40th successor to Peter on December 22, 401 but in 404 two events occurred. First, Sister Paula died, saddening Jerome and, after much prayer, decided to stay on at the monastery; and secondly, he received the terrible news that Rome was being sacked by the Goth Alaric and he prayed intensely for the Holy Fatherís safety and all of the Roman people, some of whom, in 410, had sought shelter at the monastery when the Saracens invaded Palestine. Jerome interrupted his work on Ezekiel to take the Roman refugees in, taking the opportunity to teach them all he knew during the decade they were together for in 420 he died near the age of 90 and was buried in the monastery which had now also become a hospice for many and would soon be the site for the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Itís interesting to note that during this period in history when Jerome translated the bible into Latin, Ufila, the Bishop of the Western Goths, was doing the same. Translating the Latin into Gothic.

Thursday, October 1, 1998

    Thursday October 1:
    Feast of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, Virgin, Religious and Doctor of the Church

    White vestments

      First Reading: Job 19: 21-27
      Psalms: Psalm 27: 7-9, 13-14
      Gospel Reading: Luke 10: 1-12

Feast of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, Virgin, Religious and Doctor of the Church

          The youngest of nine children, Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus was born Maria Frances Theresa Guerin in 1873 at Alencon near Normandy in France and was one of four of the daughters who survived infancy. Five of the other children born to Theresa's parents Louis Martin Guerin and his wife Zelie-Marie had died in their infancy. Theresa was sent to the Benedictine monastery in Lisieux where she became known for her total suppression of her own will in favor of what Jesus wanted, offering every little sacrifice she could. Frail from birth, Theresa had been healed of a serious illness in 1883 through the intercession of Our Lady, and decided then and there she would become a Carmelite Nun. However her age prevented her from pursuing this immediate goal. Undaunted and persistent that Jesus wanted this, she even approached the Holy Father Pope Leo XIII during a group audience with him in Rome on pilgrimage, asking him to allow her to enter the convent. He was somewhat taken aback by her forwardness but replied gently, "Whatever your bishop advises, you follow, my child." This news from such a powerful prelate forced Theresa to bite her lip for she thought surely the Pope would allow this. Saddened she returned to France where she waited until old enough to be admitted which she was in 1888 and given the name Sister Theresa of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face. Five years later at the age of 20 she was chosen mistress of novices. Three years later in 1986 Tuberculosis set in. Once this was known, Theresa's older blood sister, Mother Agnes of Jesus insisted that Theresa write down her memoirs for posterity. This she did and after her death this work entitled The Story of a Soul was widely circulated. In it, Theresa emphasized her doctrine on the "little way" of spiritual childhood stressing that she wanted to save souls to help priests save souls by prayer, sacrifice, and suffering. Her "little way" means loving and trusting in God as a child, held in His loving arms as she writes, "From the age of three, I never refused our good God anything. I have never given him anything but love. I just want to love God. I want to do hard things for Him. I want to pray for priests and for sinners. I want to shine like a little candle before His altar." She exemplified two of the greatest virtues, humility and total dependence on the Will of God. She even prayed that God would hear her prayer and save so many souls by offering herself in total reparation, including letting God give away any graces she would earn to any soul who needed it. As she lay dying in the convent in 1897, she pressed her precious crucifix to her heart and peering Heavenward replied, "I love Him! My God, I love You!" Shortly afterwards the tuberculosis took its toll and Theresa died on September 30, 1897 at only 24. True to her promise that she would let fall from Heaven a "shower of roses," she became known far and wide as the "Little Flower" with many miracles of intercession attributed to her throughout the world so that in 1925 Pope Pius XI canonized her proclaiming, "St. Theresa of the Child Jesus is the greatest saint of modern times." In 1944, at the height of World War II when France was being pummelled by German howitzers, Pope Pius XII proclaimed her patroness of France along with Saint Joan of Arc. French aviators and soldiers took up the battle cry encouraged by her intercession and many attribute the fall of Germany to storming Heaven. Theresa also shares a title with Saint Francis Xavier as patroness of Foreign Missions. Though Theresa never had the opportunity to set step outside of Europe, she had a longing to go to a Carmelite mission in Hanoi, Vietnam in the late 19th Century. On September 19th of 1996, Pope John Paul II officially proclaimed St. Therese a Doctor of the Church, making her the third female saint to be so honored.

September 30, 1998       volume 9, no. 191
LITURGY

DAILY CATHOLIC

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