Friday, September 30, 2022

Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus

 Today is the feast of St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church. 'Jerome' is an Anglicized version of 'Hierom', a shortened form of 'Hieronymus', his actual name. From his treatise against the Pelagians (Bk 3.11):

Made up of soul and body, we have the nature of both substances. As the body is said to be healthy if it is troubled with no weakness, so the soul is free from fault if it is unshaken and undisturbed. And yet, although the body may be healthy, sound, and active, with all the faculties in their full vigour, yet it suffers much from infirmities at more or less frequent intervals, and, however strong it may be, is sometimes distressed by various humours; so the soul, bearing the onset of thoughts and agitations, even though it escape shipwreck, does not sail without danger, and remembering its weakness, is always anxious about death, according as it is written, What man is he that shall live and not see death?— death, which threatens all mortal men, not through the decay of nature, but through the death of sin, according to the prophet's words, The soul that sins, it shall die. Besides, we know that Enoch and Elias have not yet seen this death which is common to man and the brutes. Show me a body which is never sick, or which after sickness is ever safe and sound, and I will show you a soul which never sinned, and after acquiring virtues will never again sin. The thing is impossible, and all the more when we remember that vice borders on virtue, and that, if you deviate ever so little, you will either go astray or fall over a precipice. How small is the interval between obstinacy and perseverance, miserliness and frugality, liberality and extravagance, wisdom and craft, intrepidity and rashness, caution and timidity! some of which are classed as good, others as bad.

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