Today is the feast of Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus.
Or, St. Jerome for short.
Jerome is a Saint and Doctor of the Church born in the 4thcentury and perhaps most famous for his work in translating the Scriptures into Latin. He was basically the early Church’s beta version of Google Translate. He is the author of the super quotable, “Ignorance of Scriptures is ignorance of Christ,” thus solidifying his place of honor among meme-lovers, Jesus-lovers, and Bible-lovers alike!
Most of us know about St. Jerome because of his devotion to the written Word of God.
Now, I’m about as Bibliophilic as a non-scholar can get, so I appreciate his reverence for the Sacred Scripture and relish every opportunity to shout from the mountains tops: “Catholics love the Bible and Jesus. . .see! St. Jerome says so!”
But, I also adore a lesser known St. Jerome exhortation to begin our sainthood here and now!
St. Jerome also said, “Begin now to be what you will be hereafter.”
In the coming weeks, as we move toward the great Solemnity of All Saints on November 1, we will be spending some time with the saints. Lots of them. Women saints, men saints, children saints, martyrs—so many of the holy ones who began their eternity in the kingdom pursuant of holiness here on earth.
We honor and venerate saints in heaven because they are the example and promise of what God has in store for each and every one of us. Sainthood is not only possible, it is our destiny.
It is why God created us. It is why Jesus came to save us.
Sainthood necessarily begins with our life here on earth. But our Lord is both the most ardent suitor and the most respectful gentleman. He gives us every indication of his intentions toward us and still allows us to decide to cooperate with his grace in our lives. Because he wants us to love him, he gives us freedom in becoming his saints.
With that freedom comes a choice. A response from us.
Sainthood beings today. This moment. It does not depend on how far we have fallen in our past, but rather how far we fall in love with God from this day onward. Anyone who has ever loved anyone else knows that real love–true love–doesn’t mean we won’t struggle. It doesn’t mean we won’t suffer. It doesn’t mean soft cuddles and happy fluffies from here on out.
Love means making the choice to do the work.
This is the inspiring story of each and every saint we encounter. Some stories started early in life, some began later, but each story is the one we want for our own. The Lover wins the Beloved because the Beloved finally opened her eyes to the love that was always there and forever after begins.
We should not be postponing our project of sainthood for a more convenient time or when we feel particularly holy.
The absolute best time to start our cause for sainthood is now. St. Jerome says so!