St. Ambrose, born in the 4th century into a Christian family, was a lawyer and high official in the Roman government in northern Italy until he was called by popular acclaim to be bishop of Milan. He had not yet been baptized! Eight days after his baptism he was ordained bishop and became one of the church’s great bishops and teachers. Ambrose was a leader in a critical time.
He found wisdom and joy studying the scriptures and preaching the word of God, and he recommended that same source to a bishop who faced troubles in his own church. “Whoever reads much and understands much, is filled. And whoever is full, refreshes others…Drink, then, from Christ, so that your voice may also be heard.”
The bishop was overwhelmed by the storms he experienced. Ambrose told him God’s graces increase when storms beat upon us. Good thing to remember today.
“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.”
Tomorrow is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Ambrose saw in Mary a faith that gives life and sends us on a mission. She believes in the angel’s announcement and sets out “in haste” to visit Elizabeth. She goes “in haste” because she has a mission. Faith is not a burden, it empowers her. She’s blessed.
“You too, my people, are blessed,” comments Ambrose, “ you who have heard and who believe. Every soul that believes — that soul both conceives and gives birth to the Word of God and recognizes his works.
Let the soul of Mary be in each one of you, to proclaim the greatness of the Lord. Let the spirit of Mary be in each one of you, to rejoice in God. According to the flesh only one woman can be the mother of Christ, but in the world of faith Christ is the fruit of all of us.”