Today is the liturgical memorial of the great St. Ambrose of Milan (c. A.D. 340–397).

You know the narrative: born in what is now France, a successful lawyer and politician in Milan, Italy; following the death of the bishop of Milan, the people demanded that the catechumen Ambrose and not yet a Christian, become the successor. (Ambrose hid in an attempt to escape the nomination; even the emperor forbade giving him shelter, forcing him to give himself up and submit.)

Ambrose was a holy leader: author of hymns, theology, correct teaching, serving the poor and donating his patrimonial land to the Church, and being available to all. Bishop Ambrose defended orthodox doctrine against the pervasive Arian heresy which denied the divinity of Jesus Christ. As a beekeeper and as one who appreciates and loves liturgical theology, I have an appreciation for Ambrose’s nickname: “honey-tongued doctor.” In fact, one of hives is named for St Ambrose.

Bishop Ambrose introduced lectio divina to his local church: the practice of prayerfully meditating on the Sacred Scriptures. This method of prayer spread all over the Church. You will recall that it was Ambrose as the bishop who converted and baptized St. Augustine of Hippo. He is one of the four original Doctors of the Church, and his statue is one of four that upholds the Chair of St. Peter inside St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Today, prayers for the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation meeting in NYC’s Mother Cabrini Shrine for the Advent Day of Recollection. 40+ are gathering. A fitting day for us since Communion and Liberation was founded in the Diocese of Milan.