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December 07, 2006

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ignorant redneck

I was struck by the phrase "charm the ears off your people". I'll be wondering about it all day.

I often am impressed by the readings in the brievery, of the saints, doctors and fathers. But this is the first one that made want to sit down and have a beer with a Doctor of the Church! I bet he would be an engaging conversationalist, down to earth and pointed as well as eloquent and deep.

BTW--I hate the verification system for comments. I realize that it's necessary, but I lake some visual aquity and can't always make out the letters!

Ambrosius

We've a reflection on this Bishop as a model for bishops up on our blog today.

Happy Feast Day, lovers of St. Ambrose, and to the Diocese of Milan!

Father Elijah

There are just so many aspects to this wonderful saint and Father/Doctor of the Church. Known more for his pastoral solicitude to Saint Monica weeping over her 'lost son', Augustine and finally for drawing that same prodigal into the embrace of Holy Mother Church, there are aspects of his life and ministry that could be easily overlooked or forgotten. If I may put forward just a few....

As a bishop he fulfilled his ministry of being both Liturgist and Mystagogue. We are so endebted to him that it is almost impossible to count the ways.
-he brought about a tremendous 'reform of the Liturgy' which has given us the lasting "Ambrosian Rite" of the Western Church
-he has given a fantastic mystagogy-drawing us with the newly baptized of his day into the Sacred Mysteries celebrated in the Liturgy
-in his writings we have the earliest witness to the Latin-Roman Anaphora [Eucharistic Prayer] which with only some changes remains the same in what is now known as the Roman Canon or Eucharistic Prayer I
-Augustine himself in his Confessions writes not only about the power of the preached words of Ambrose but the power of the sacred music which Ambrose promulgated and had all singing in his Cathedral in Milan-even all night to prevent the take over of the Cathedral by the Arians. Many of these songs are sill with us and used especially in the Liturgy of the Hours.

But perhaps for us today, the greatest treasure that Ambrose leaves to us is how to be Catholic, how to be Church precisely as socio-political and cultural forces seemingly contradict and counter the Gospel.

Arianism, defeated at the Council of Nicaea in 325 still had a hold on certain cultural elites especially in the Imperial Court. In Ambrose's day, one emperor would rise and support the Catholic cause; another Emperor would arise and support the Arian.

The Arian ideology declaring that Jesus was indeed the Word but that the Word was created by God Who is One and Utterly Transcendent-that there was a time in which the Word did not exist.....this ideology, more closely allied with the philosophical-rationalist ideas of the day sought to rationalize and secularize the Catholic faith.

Secularism, as an ideology is merely a form of arianism re-born!

But arianism also had another side to it. Since the Word was not God, the bishop(s) who embodied the authority of Christ were no longer 'in charge' of the Church in any real sense. The Emperor (the State) now represented "God" as source of authority

Thus Ambrose's struggle with the various emperor's attempt to enforce Arianism, neo-paganism and yes even calling the very Catholic emperor to task for a massacre he had orchestrated...

There is just so much to Saint Ambrose.

Saint Ambrose pray for us

Ferde Rombola

I hope everyone here has linked to Ambrosius' site and read his remarks about Saint Ambrose and our bishops. There is the battle cry for our generation! I trust Ambrosius has e-mailed his message to every bishop in the country. Could start a revolution.

Which, btw, may have already started. The bishops' last get-together produced a statement which actually contained the word 'sin.'

Ambrosius

Thank you for the kinds words, Ferde.

Nate Wildermuth

Unfortunately, St. Ambrose (for all the good he did in fighting Arianism), also formulated one of the earliest Catholic just-war theories. St. Augustine picked up where Ambrose left off, and ever since then Catholics have been killing people in holy wars.

More than a thousand years later, we are finally getting to the point where soldiers aren't condemned by the Church for refusing to fight. It is only a matter of time before the just-war theory is disproven as its criteria are intrinsically impossible to meet - a catch-22:

"Only crazy people can get out of this war," the doc says.
"Okay, send me home," replies the soldier
"But you're not crazy."
"Why not?"
"Because you want to leave."
"What?"
"We can only send you home if you're crazy."
"And I'm only crazy if I don't want to be sent home?"
"Right."
"Go away."

And that's exactly what the just war theory is about to do. It's about to go away.

Melody

I like this prayer by St. Ambrose, for anyone who has been separated from loved ones, by life or death:

"Lord God, we can hope for others nothing better than the happiness we desire for ourselves. Therefore, I pray you, do not separate me after death from those I have tenderly loved on earth. Grant that where I am they may be with me, and that I may enjoy their presence in heaven after being so often deprived of it on earth. Lord God, I ask you to receive your beloved children immediately into you life-giving heart. After this brief life on earth, give them eternal happiness."

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