Fish Eaters: The Whys and Hows of Traditional Catholicism


"Where the Bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be;
even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church'' Ignatius of Antioch, 1st c. A.D


St. Jerome and the Lion

St Jerome and the Lion, by Vittorio Carpaccio, 1502


From "The Golden Legend ," by Jacobus de Voragine, A.D. 1275

 
On a day towards even Jerome sat with his brethren for to hear the holy lesson, and a lion came halting suddenly in to the monastery, and when the brethren saw him, anon they fled, and Jerome came against him as he should come against his guest, and then the lion showed to him his foot being hurt. Then he called his brethren, and commanded them to wash his feet and diligently to seek and search for the wound. And that done, the plant of the foot of the lion was sore hurt and pricked with a thorn. Then this holy man put thereto diligent cure, and healed him, and he abode ever after as a tame beast with them. Then S. Jerome saw that God had sent him to them, not only for the health of his foot, but also for their profit, and joined to the lion an office, by the accord of his brethren, and that was that he should conduct and lead an ass to his pasture which brought home wood, and should keep him going and coming, and so he did. For he did that which he was commanded, and led the ass thus as a herdsman, and kept him wisely going and coming, and was to him a right sure keeper and defender, and always at the hour accustomed he and the ass came for to have their refection and for to make the ass to do the work accustomed.

On a time it happed that the ass was in his pasture, and the lion slept fast, and certain merchants passed by with camels and saw the ass alone, and stole him and led him away. And anon after, the lion awoke and when he found not his fellow, he ran groaning hither and thither, and when he saw that he could not find him he was much sorrowful and durst not come in, but abode at the gate of the church of the monastery, and was ashamed that he came without the ass.

And when the brethren saw that he was come more late than he was wont, and without the ass, they supposed that by constraint of hunger he had eaten the ass, and would not give to him his portion accustomed, and said to him: Go and eat that other part of the ass that thou hast devoured, and fill thy gluttony.

And because they doubted, and they would wit if he had so eaten, they went to the pastures of the town to see if they could have any demonstrance of the death of the ass, and they found nothing, and returned and told it to Jerome, and then he commanded them to enjoin him to do the office of the ass. Then they hewed down bushes and boughs and laid upon him, and he suffered it peaceably.

And on a day when he had done his office, he went out to the fields and began to run hither and thither desiring to know what was done to his fellow, and saw from far merchants that came with camels charged and laden, and the ass going tofore them. It was the manner of that region that when the people went far with camels, they had an ass or a horse going tofore with a cord about his neck for to conduct the better the camels. And when the lion knew the ass, with a great roaring he ran on them so terribly that all the merchants fled, and he so feared the camels with beating the earth with his tail that, he constrained them to go straight unto the cell with all their charge and lading. And when the brethren saw this they told it to Jerome, and he said: Brethren, wash the feet of our guests and give them meat, abide ye the will of our Lord hereupon. And then the lion began to run joyously throughout all the monastery, as he was wont to do, and kneeled down to every brother and fawned them with his tail, like as he had demanded pardon of the trespass that he had done.

And S. Jerome, which knew well what was to come, said to his brethren: Go and make ye ready all things necessary for guests that be coming to us. And as he thus said, there came to him a messenger, saying to him that there were guests at the gate that would speak with the abbot. And as soon as they were come they kneeled to the abbot, and required of him pardon. And he raised and made them to stand up goodly, and commanded them to take their own good, and not to take away other men's. And then they prayed the holy saint that he would take the half of their oil, and he refused it. And at the last he commanded to take a measure of oil, and then they promised that they should bring every year a measure of oil to that church, and their heirs after them

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