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“Jerome in the desert - his experiences as an ascetic in the desert of Chalcis - original Latin Text with English translation”

From Letter 22 (section 7) to Eustochium.

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Click here to read at earlychurchtexts.com in the original Latin (with dictionary lookup links). The English translation below is from the NPNF series.

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Many Jerome translations and studies with links to Amazon

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STUDIES
(Click on images below.)

The Monk and the Book:
Jerome and the Making of Christian Scholarship
Megan Hale Williams

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Jerome:
His Life, Writings, and Controversies
J. N. D. Kelly

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Saint Jerome in the Renaissance
Eugene F. Rice

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Jerome (The Early Church Fathers)
Stefan Rebenich

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Letter XXII. To Eustochium.
7. How often, when I was living in the desert, in the vast solitude which gives to hermits a savage dwelling-place, parched by a burning sun, how often did I fancy myself among the pleasures of Rome! I used to sit alone because I was filled with bitterness. Sackcloth disfigured my unshapely limbs and my skin from long neglect had become as black as an Ethiopian’s. Tears and groans were every day my portion; and if drowsiness chanced to overcome my struggles against it, my bare bones, which hardly held together, clashed against the ground. Of my food and drink I say nothing: for, even in sickness, the solitaries have nothing but cold water, and to eat one’s food cooked is looked upon as self-indulgence. Now, although in my fear of hell I had consigned myself to this prison, where I had no companions but scorpions and wild beasts, I often found myself amid bevies of girls. My face was pale and my frame chilled with fasting; yet my mind was burning with desire, and the fires of lust kept bubbling up before me when my flesh was as good as dead. Helpless, I cast myself at the feet of Jesus, I watered them with my tears, I wiped them with my hair: and then I subdued my rebellious body with weeks of abstinence. I do not blush to avow my abject misery; rather I lament that I am not now what once I was. I remember how I often cried aloud all night till the break of day and ceased not from beating my breast till tranquillity returned at the chiding of the Lord. I used to dread my very cell as though it knew my thoughts; and, stern and angry with myself, I used to make my way alone into the desert. Wherever I saw hollow valleys, craggy mountains, steep cliffs, there I made my oratory, there the house of correction for my unhappy flesh. There, also—the Lord Himself is my witness—when I had shed copious tears and had strained my eyes towards heaven, I sometimes felt myself among angelic hosts, and for joy and gladness sang: “because of the savour of thy good ointments we will run after thee.”

 



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Jerome in the desert
Epistola XXII
Letter 22
Epistula
Jerome letters
Temptations in the desert
ascetic, asceticism, monastic, monasticism
Migne Latin Text
Patrologiae Latinae Cursus Completus
Patrologia Latina
 

 

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