Friday, September 30, 2011

Crabby saints...



Geronimo.
.
St. Jerome had a reputation: "In Rome, Jerome never really got on with other clergy. He was not ambitious for ecclesiastical promotion. He was somewhat irascible, dipping his pen rather more often into vinegar than honey. Jerome loved nothing so much as a good squabble, and argued bitterly and at great length with his critics and adversaries. He had little time for trivial niceties." - So claims Don Marco.
.
He also did a lot of penance - perhaps for his difficult personality - which may be why he is shown in art holding a rock with which he beat his chest...  However, taking the blame upon himself, he was frequently heard to mutter: "the effeminate always interpret honesty to be cruelty."  (Actually, Cary Grant said that about women and I adapted it for my own use.) 
.
Truth be told, Jerome probably suffered more from his temperament than his opponents suffered from his pen.
.
From Today's Magnificat Meditation:
"Let me briefly confess to you a secret of mine: I do not want the person who wishes to understand the Apostle through me to have such a difficult time making sense of my writings that he has to find someone to interpret the interpreter." - St. Jerome
What kind of fights could he get into with today's know-it-alls, huh?
.
"Paula - hand me the rock! "  Shouted St. Jerome.
.
Mother don't - the old crank is already bleedin' obnoxious!"  Countered Eustochium.
.
" G*$ (@%&! - I said, hand me the rock!"  He demanded once again.
.
Paula hands him the rock and runs off crying, covering her head with her new Vulgate edition of the Bible.
.
"Oh, sorry hon!  I didn't mean it the way it sounded.  Thank you!"  Said Jerome, meekly, like a lamb.
.
Art:  Face of St. Jerome, Erik Armusik

8 comments:

  1. and please remember in your prayers a nutty and cantankerous old priest who so stongly resembles the model in this painting. Happy Jerrymas (?)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ha, St. Jerome's harshness re: marriage has caused me much suffering at times. So sometimes it is good to have someone interpret the interpreter.

    ReplyDelete
  3. yay i'm in good company. i'm often accused of being a curmedgeon & downright surly.

    look: it's not my fault i can't get all sappy & sweet at the sound of marty haugen.

    hugs,
    jer bear

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous4:12 PM

    Actually, many people suffered greatly due to Jerome's pen... many people did have their livelihood destroyed. Study up on the Tall Men, Theophilius of Alexandria and St John Chrysostom.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous - In the end, I'm sure it was good for their soul. :)

    Hi Father.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Terry, if it means learning to trust the teachings of the Church and one's own spiritual guides above St. Jerome's harsh invective against some very good things (e.g. marriage), or if it means learning that even the saints in all their holiness can say some pretty stupid things, then, yes, I guess it is good for the soul.

    ReplyDelete
  7. LOL,Terry, I had to laugh at your Jerome reality show script!
    I can be grateful for his Biblical scholarship, and really, really grateful I didn't have to live with him.

    ReplyDelete
  8. .... it seems the holy ladies that study under him seemed to 'understand' him and stayed with him .... So he couldn't have been all that bad. He wrote a beautiful eulogy for St. Fabiola ....

    I like St. Jerome and I picture he was like an older Catholic man with whom I worked along side. He too had a very cranky temper on top of being a perfectionists to the max. However, I found him so refreshingly unique and amusing, especially when I saw the reactions of co-workers to some of his classic lines that his mind would create to correct them. They didn't get it...

    This unique soul had one short dialogue that I will never, ever forget. One fact he expressed to a young salesman meeting him for the first time. This young salesperson made the mistake thinking Ed was short for Edward:

    He stated: "Edward is a very nice name, but it is not mine. My name is Edmund, but I am Mr. Kasser to you because I do not know you."

    Oy ... brilliant, calmly delivered and to the point ...

    The old cranks can deliver some fine teachings ... After he retired, on occasions when he was in the city, I would meet him for lunch and have wonderful chats listening to him about his life. I discovered on one such afternoon that he knelt every evening by his bed and said his evening prayers. This (me) twenty-something year old was pretty impressed.

    ReplyDelete

Anonymous comments will no longer be accepted.
Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. Be sure and double check if your comment posted after you do the verification deal - sometimes it doesn't print if you made an error.