Penitent St. Jerome

7:00 AM

Fra Angelico, Penitent St. Jerome, 1424

Throughout the year, our class has looked at a plethora of pieces of art. I might say that we have become accustomed to whenever we see a lion in a painting, that it must be St. Jerome in the work. I was wondering why that was. 

In the 4th century, Jerome lived in a monastery with other monks. One day, a lion limped into the monastery. The monks ran away except for Jerome, who approached it and upon examination, discovered a thorn in the lion's paw. Traditionally a thorn represents sin, as in the crown of thorns Jesus was forced to wear during his crucifixion. Jerome manages to remove the thorn, which makes the lion tame, and symbolically baptizes the lion. 

The story of St. Jerome and the lion speaks to me as it exhibits the rewards of facing your fears. The other monks ran away from the lion but Jerome faced the fear of a grown lion possibly attacking him. He healed the lion in turn endearing it to him. While standing up to my fears appears to be a good maxim to live my life, it also requires a certain amount of common sense as well. Walking straight up to a lion would probably not be the best decision I could make. And so I learn from St. Jerome that fear, although it is frightening, can be overcome.

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