Jerome was a clever boy of pagan parents, born in what today is Bosnia. As a teen ager he followed his intellectual interests to Rome where he found himself attracted to the Scriptures and to the monastic life. His critics claimed that he became a Christian only because it was a requisite for entering a monastery.
The quiet of the monastery could not hide his exceptional brilliance. It brought him to the attention of Pope Damasus who called Jerome in to help him in managing the papacy. In that capacity Jerome made so many enemies for himself that when Pope Damasus died in 384 a thirty seven year old Jerome felt it best to leave Rome for good. In the East he launched himself into rendering the scattered Bible scrolls into beautiful, precise Latin.
Although there were numerous chapters in Jerome’s story, my attention today is caught by his reaction in 410 to the word that the Visigoths under Alaric had destroyed Rome. In disbelief, Jerome wrote:
“When the bright light of the world was put out, or rather when the Roman Empire was decapitated, the whole world perished in one city.
“Everything, however long, has its end; the centuries that have passed never return, and it’s true to say that all that begins must perish.
I don’t know about you, but Jerome’s words make me fearful for the U.S.A. We have been as great as Rome, but our golfers cannot win the Ryder Cup, and no Americans reached the quarterfinals in U.S. Open Tennis Tournament.
We are great at entertaining and feeding ourselves, but we are importing far more than we are exporting. We watch old war movies, wishing we still had the spunk that made our boys winners.