St. Jerome

Today is the feast of St. Jerome, the patron saint of biblical studies and therefore my man in the heavenly court.  Since devotion to St. Jerome seems to have flagged since the middle ages, I found an old Latin hymn for his feast day and translated it, and my friend Dr. Peter Kwasniewski gave it a fresh hymn setting.  If you need to ramp up your celebration today, you can grab that hymn here; a midi file to help you get the melody is here.

One of my children is named for St. Jerome, so we’ll be singing the Nameday Song at our house!

UPDATE:

I forgot to mention that the hymn I translated is from Vespers from today’s liturgy of the hours.  Fr. Samuel Weber’s wonderful new Hymnal for the Hours offers a translation of the Latin hymns in the liturgy of the hours done such that they all fit with the original chant tones.  So you can get this St. Jerome hymn with the original chant melody!

For more about Fr. Weber’s hymnal, see this interview he gave recently.

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Is faith circular?

[This is the first in a series of posts about faith.  Here all the posts in order: 1. Is faith circular? 2. Everyday faith. 3 How faith begins. 4. What revelation really is. 5. What is supernatural about faith? 6. Faith and love.]

One of the perks of college teaching is that even as you earn a paycheck you get to revisit questions of longstanding personal interest.  This year I am directing a thesis on the virtue of faith for an excellent senior at Wyoming Catholic College.  His questions have pushed me to take up something that first caught my interest when I was his age.

The question is essentially this:  How we can reconcile the fact whatever is believed by faith is believed on the authority of God revealing with the fact that one of the things that we believe by faith is that God exists and reveals.  Does this land us in a vicious circle?  Do we end up believing in God’s existence on his authority, and grounding his authority in his existence?

On the other hand, if we avoid the vicious circle then we seem to land in a different problem:  if the fact that God exists and reveals is not one of the things we believe on God’s authority, then it becomes difficult to find a role for faith at all.  I recall a conversation I had with one of my teachers, a man who later went on to hold an eminent position at my alma mater.  He maintained that we could reason our way with certitude from miracles and other evidence to the fact that the Church is what she claims to be and that God has really spoken through her; we could then conclude with iron-clad logic that, since God cannot lie, all the contents of the Catholic creed are true.  But of course, this leaves everything in the hands of reason and nothing in the hands of faith.  It takes away the very notion of faith.

It was only slowly that I came to my own way of solving the problem, based in large part on the Gospel of John, with additional help from Thomas Aquinas, Ratzinger, and my own experience of faith.  Although I have still to read some classics on the topic—Newman’s Grammar of Assent comes to mind—my student’s persistent questions have finally supplied the impetus to write out my thoughts here in a public forum where others can comment and, yes, criticize.  Stay tuned for the next several posts.

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Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael

September 29

The feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels.  On the day of the dedication of a basilica under the title of Saint Michael, built on the via Salaria six miles outside the City long ago, the three archangels are celebrated together, whose individual missions Sacred Scripture reveals, who serve God day and night and who, contemplating his face, glorify him without ceasing.

***

May Holy Mary and all the saints intercede to the Lord for us, that we may merit to be helped and saved by him who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

V. Precious in the sight of the Lord

R. Is the death of his holy ones.

V. May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life.  And may the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in pace.

R. Amen

[To learn about praying this and other Martyrology entries, see this page.]

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St. Gideon

I missed this one, so I’m post-dating it:

September 26

The commemoration of St. Gideon, of the tribe of Manassa, who was a judge in Israel and who, when he had received from the Lord the sign of dew that descended on a fleece, and having destroyed the altar of Baal, liberated the people of Israel from the hand of their enemies by the strength of God.

***

May Holy Mary and all the saints intercede to the Lord for us, that we may merit to be helped and saved by him who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

V. Precious in the sight of the Lord

R. Is the death of his holy ones.

V. May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life.  And may the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in pace.

R. Amen

[To learn about praying this and other Martyrology entries, see this page.]

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St. Cleophas

September 25

The commemoration of St. Cleophas, the disciple of the Lord, whose heart burned while he was making a trip with another disciple, when the Lord appeared to them on the road Easter evening and opened the Scriptures to them, and who in the house at Emmaus knew the Savior in the breaking of the bread.

***

May Holy Mary and all the saints intercede to the Lord for us, that we may merit to be helped and saved by him who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

V. Precious in the sight of the Lord

R. Is the death of his holy ones.

V. May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life.  And may the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in pace.

R. Amen

[To learn about praying this and other Martyrology entries, see this page.]

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Sts. Zechariah and Elizabeth

September 23

The commemoration of Saints Zechariah and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist, the Precursor of the Lord.  Elizabeth, when she had received her cousin Mary into her home, was filled with the Holy Spirit and greeted the mother of the Lord as blessed among women.  And Zechariah, a priest filled with the Spirit, on the occasion of his son’s birth, praised the Lord, the redeemer, and proclaimed that the coming of Christ, the one arising in the east, was near.

***

May Holy Mary and all the saints intercede to the Lord for us, that we may merit to be helped and saved by him who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

V. Precious in the sight of the Lord

R. Is the death of his holy ones.

V. May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life.  And may the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in pace.

R. Amen

[To learn about praying this and other Martyrology entries, see this page.]

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Sts. Matthew and Jonah

September 21

The feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, who, having the cognomen Levi, when left a post as a publican or tax collector when called by Jesus and, chosen to be one of the Apostles, wrote a Gospel which especially proclaims that Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham, has fulfilled the Old Testament.

The commemoration of St. Jonah the prophet, son of Amittai, after whom a book of the Old Testament is named and whose famous escape from the stomach of a whale is narrated in the Gospel itself as a sign of the Lord’s resurrection.

***

May Holy Mary and all the saints intercede to the Lord for us, that we may merit to be helped and saved by him who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

V. Precious in the sight of the Lord

R. Is the death of his holy ones.

V. May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life.  And may the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in pace.

R. Amen

[To learn about praying this and other Martyrology entries, see this page.]

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Sts. Zechariah and Onesiphorus

Today we recall two biblical saints, one from the Old Testament and one from the New.  Know anyone named Zach?  Tomorrow is his day!  Know anyone named…um, Onesiphorus?  Well, it’s his day, too.  Here is the Martyrology entry:

September 6

The commemoration of Saint Zechariah the prophet, who prophesied that the people would return from exile into the promised land and bore to it a message about a king of peace, which Christ the Lord wonderfully fulfilled by his triumphant entry into the Holy City Jerusalem.

Likewise the commemoration of Saint Onesiphorus, who often refreshed blessed Paul the Apostle at Ephesus and who was not ashamed of his chains, but having been conveyed to Rome solicitously sought and found him.

***

May Holy Mary and all the saints intercede to the Lord for us, that we may merit to be helped and saved by him who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

V. Precious in the sight of the Lord

R. Is the death of his holy ones.

V. May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life.  And may the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in pace.

R. Amen

[To learn about praying this and other Martyrology entries, see this page.]

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St. Moses

The biblical saint project continues with the man who may be the biggest Old Testament name of all.  Here is the Martyrology entry:

September 4

The commemoration of St. Moses, the prophet, whom God chose to free his people who were oppressed in Egypt and to lead them into the promised land; to whom also he revealed himself at Mount Sinai, saying, “I am who am,” and to whom he gave the law which would govern the live of the chosen people.  This servant of God, full of days, passed away on Mount Nebo in the land of Morab across from the promised land.

***

May Holy Mary and all the saints intercede to the Lord for us, that we may merit to be helped and saved by him who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

V. Precious in the sight of the Lord

R. Is the death of his holy ones.

V. May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life.  And may the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in pace.

R. Amen

[To learn about praying this and other Martyrology entries, see this page.]

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St. Phoebe

The biblical saints project I began with a nod to my older brother continues with a wave to his wife, Phoebe.  Her name comes up in Romans 16:1, where St. Paul praises her as an exceedingly helpful person.  Here is the Martyrology entry:

September 3

The commemoration of St. Phoebe, a handmaiden of the Lord among the faithful at Cenchreae, who assisted Paul and many others, as Paul himself bears witness in his letter to the Romans.

***

May Holy Mary and all the saints intercede to the Lord for us, that we may merit to be helped and saved by him who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

V. Precious in the sight of the Lord

R. Is the death of his holy ones.

V. May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life.  And may the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in pace.

R. Amen

[To learn about praying this and other Martyrology entries, see this page.]

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