Tag Archives: St Ambrose

Saint Ambrose

Ambrose GiuLungaraSaint Ambrose is venerated in the Churches of the East and the West. He is a pivotal figure in Church history of sincerity but also because of his clear defense and teaching of the faith, his good administration of the Church and his witness so that others could become saints.

What comes to mind is my own desire to pray for the great Church in Milan, and this feast helps me to remember the missionary work of so many from Milan to other parts of the world. All us are on mission.

One of Ambrose’s gifts was “repacking” church teaching into verse, giving it a melody, and encouraging the people to sing their faith. Singing reinforces what you read and learn. A good example follows (though without music):

Redeemer of the nations, come;
reveal yourself in virgin birth,
the birth which ages all adore,
a wondrous birth, befitting God.

From human will you do not spring,
but from the Spirit of our God;
O Word of God, come; take our flesh
and grow as child in Mary’s womb.

You came forth from the eternal God,
and you returned to that same source.
You suffered death and harrowed hell,
and reigned once more from God’s high throne.

With God the Father you are one,
and one with us in human flesh.
Oh, fill our weak and dying frame
with godly strength which never fails.

You cradle shines with glory’s light;
its splendor pierces all our gloom.
Our faith reflects those radiant beams;
no night shall overcome it now.

All praise, O unbegotten God,
all praise to you, eternal Word,
all praise life-giving Spirit, praise,
all glory to our God Triune.

Mary, the Mother of God is united with the Church, St Ambrose teaches


By reason of the gift and role of divine maternity, by which she is united with her Son, the Redeemer, and with His singular graces and functions, the Blessed Virgin is also intimately united with the Church. As St. Ambrose taught, the Mother of God is a type of the Church in the order of faith, charity and perfect union with Christ.  For in the mystery of the Church, which is itself rightly called mother and virgin, the Blessed Virgin stands out in eminent and singular fashion as exemplar both of virgin and mother.  By her belief and obedience, not knowing man but overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, as the new Eve she brought forth on earth the very Son of the Father, showing an undefiled faith, not in the word of the ancient serpent, but in that of God’s messenger. The Son whom she brought forth is He whom God placed as the first-born among many brethren, namely the faithful, in whose birth and education she cooperates with a maternal love.

Second Vatican Council 

Lumen gentium

Saint Ambrose

St Ambroise.jpg

O God, who made the Bishop Saint Ambrose a teacher of the Catholic faith and a model of apostolic courage, raise up in your Church men after your own heart to govern her with courage and wisdom.

The prayers for todays Mass that honors the ecclesial memory of one of the famous saints are key to pinpointing what the Church most revers about the man who was concerned about right-thinking and right-praying Christians.  Who was Ambrose? The Collects tells us that he was a bishop, saint teacher, model of courage seen in the apostles and capable of good governance, that is, he had courage and wisdom. What moved Ambrose? Again, the collects tell us he was constantly inspired by the light of faith.

The Church recalls Saint Ambrose of Milan (340?-397), bishop and Doctor of the Church. Ambrose was born in Trier to a Roman family: his father was praetorian prefect of Gaul and educated in Rome In about 372 he began his public service as prefect of Liguria and Emilia, whose capital was Milan.

Let’s recall that the ecclesial tradition indicates that the gospel was brought to Milan by Saint Barnabas and that the city’s first bishop was Saint Anathalon. In 374 the bishopric of Milan became vacant. An astute Ambrose tried to work with the conflict between orthodox Catholics and Arians over the appointment of a new bishop. His words were convincing and hopeful that the people demanded –not the pope– that he become the bishop of Milan.

Ambrose’s personal holiness was such that he gave his material belongs to the poor and to the Church. We attentive to the prayerful reading of the Scriptures and praying the Liturgy. He was a very attentive bishop as the Good Shepherd. Works of charity and clear teaching was attractive to many. As bishop he defended the rights of the Church and tried to correct the errors of the Arian heresy with learning, firmness and gentleness.

The Divine Office that we pray today is still peppered with Ambrose’s hymns.

Saints beget saints. Ambrose was central to the conversion of St Augustine to Catholicism.

Pope Benedict gave his own catechesis on this great saint today. Ambrose is the “Icon of Christ.”

Saint Ambrose


O God, who made the Bishop Saint Ambrose a teacher of the Catholic faith and a model of apostolic courage, raise up in your Church men after your own heart to govern her with courage and wisdom.

Let’s pray for Cardinal Angelo Scola and the Church in the great Archdiocese of Milan.

Saint Ambrose

The patristic reading in the Office of Readings (in the Divine Office) there is a beautiful letter from Saint Ambrose about governance and the use of words. Wouldn’t be good to heed Ambrose’s exhortation about relying on the guidance of the Church as the surest sign of God’s faithfulness, in keeping our words clean, reflective and full of meaning? Ambrose’s letter bears thinking about today. Let us keep in prayer today the Church in which Ambrose lived and worked, the Archdiocese of Milan.

St Ambrose detail GPiamonte.jpg

You have entered upon the office of bishop. Sitting at the helm of the Church, you pilot the ship against the waves. Take firm hold of the rudder of faith so that the severe storms of this world cannot disturb you. The sea is mighty and vast, but do not be afraid, for as Scripture says: he has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters.

The Church of the Lord is built upon the rock of the apostles among so many dangers in the world; it therefore remains unmoved. The Church’s foundation is unshakeable and firm against the assaults of the raging sea. Waves lash at the Church but do not shatter it. Although the elements of this world constantly beat upon the Church with crashing sounds, the Church possesses the safest harbor of salvation for all in distress. Although the Church is tossed about on the sea, it rides easily on rivers, especially those rivers that Scripture speaks of: The rivers have lifted up their voice. These are the rivers flowing from the heart of the man who is given drink by Christ and who receives from the Spirit of God. When these rivers overflow with the grace of the Spirit, they lift up their voice.

There is also a stream which flows down on God’s saints like a torrent. There is also a rushing river giving joy to the heart that is at peace and makes for peace. Whoever has received from the fullness of this river, like John the Evangelist, like Peter and Paul, lifts up his voice. Just as the apostles lifted up their voices and preached the Gospel throughout the world, so those who drink these waters begin to preach the good news of the Lord Jesus.

Drink, then, from Christ, so that your voice may also be heard. Store up in your mind the water that is Christ, the water that praises the Lord. Store up water from many sources, the water that rains down from the clouds of prophecy.

Whoever gathers water from the mountains and leads it to himself or draws it from springs, is himself a source of dew like the clouds. Fill your soul, then, with this water, so that your land may not be dry, but watered by your own springs.

He who reads much and understands much, receives his fill. He who is full, refreshes others. So Scripture says: If the clouds are full, they will pour rain upon the earth.

Therefore, let your words be rivers, clean and limpid, so that in your exhortations you may charm the ears of your people. And by the grace of your words win them over to follow your leadership. Let your sermons be full of understanding. Solomon says: The weapons of the understanding are the lips of the wise; and in another place he says: Let your lips be bound with wisdom. That is, let the meaning of your words shine forth, let understanding blaze out. See that your addresses and expositions do not need to invoke the authority of others, but let your words be their own defense. Let no word escape your lips in vain or be uttered without depth of meaning.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
coat of arms



Humanities Blog Directory