By Catholic Digest Staff
Feast Day: September 30
After trekking to Antioch in 374, Jerome found himself alone, dying, and facing the judgment of God. Earlier, an argument had severed the comradery of his traveling companions, causing the once close-knit group of school hood friends to scatter in different directions. After a chance encounter with a priest, he journeyed to the East, to Antioch with two of his best friends. Tragically, upon arriving at the ancient city, his friends became gravely ill and died. Also afflicted with sickness, he fell into a fever-induced state of delirium, where he found himself facing Christ, seated upon a throne of judgment. When Jerome was asked to identify himself, he replied fearfully, “I am a Christian!” A heavenly voice boomed back, “Liar! You are a Ciceronian [philosopher], not a Christian; for where your treasure is there also is your heart.” Deeply shaken by this vision, Jerome struggled to regain his health, exiling himself to the desert of Chalcis for four years, to fast, pray, and do penance. It was the real beginning of his extensive spiritual journey, and struggle, with the faith.