Dec 7 – Memorial for St. Ambrose, bishop and doctor of the Church
St. Ambrose (c.340–397) was born to the Roman nobility. He was the brother of St. Marcellina and St. Satyrus. He was educated in the classics, Greek, and philosophy at Rome, Italy. He was a poet and a noted orator. He was a convert to Christianity, and governor of Milan, Italy.
When the Bishop of Milan died, a dispute over his replacement led to violence. Ambrose intervened to calm both sides; he impressed everyone involved so much that though he was still an unbaptized catechumen, he was chosen as the new bishop. He resisted, claiming that he was not worthy, but he assented to prevent further violence. On Dec 7, 374, he was baptized, ordained as a priest, and consecrated as bishop. He immediately gave away his wealth to the Church and the poor, both for the good it did, and as an example to his flock.
He was a noted preacher and teacher, a Bible student of renown, and writer of liturgical hymns. He stood firm against paganism and Arianism. His preaching helped convert St. Augustine of Hippo, whom Ambrose baptized and brought into the Church. Ambrose’s preaching brought Emperor Theodosius to do public penance for his sins.
During his time as bishop, he also called and chaired several theological councils, many devoted to fighting heresy. He welcomed St. Ursus and St. Alban of Mainz when they fled Naxos to escape Arian persecution, and then sent them on to evangelize in Gaul and Germany. He was proclaimed a great Doctor of the Latin Church by Pope Boniface VIII in 1298.
The title ‘Honey Tongued Doctor’ was initially bestowed on Ambrose because of his speaking and preaching ability; this led to the use of a beehive and bees in his iconography, symbols which also indicate wisdom. This led to his association with bees, beekeepers, chandlers, wax refiners, etc.
- Patron Saint Index
“It is never the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.”
What is it we are searching for? What is it that we truly desire? We study, work, argue, fight, politic all because we desire to — survive? So that we may lead a comfortable life? Are we, then, ever comfortable?
Especially as we prepare for the coming of Christ this Christmas, what is it we are preparing for? Are we even searching? What are we searching for? Where are we searching?
As in the Gospel today, God desires for us to be with Him. He searches for us but He also respects us, waiting for us to open the door of our hearts, of our lives to Him. As with the parables of The Lost Coin, The Prodigal Son, The Lost Sheep, it’s not about if we are lost, but whether we desire to return, to allow ourselves to be found. Or do we continuously run further away because we can’t face ourselves for all that we’ve done? As with the parables, God rejoices when we return but, more than that, deep down within ourselves, we know that is what we have always been searching for.
To me, I believe, it is love. To know that we matter, to know that there is someone out there who cares for us, not because of what we have, not because of what we can do, but because he/she simply just wants to. It is also those people who are easiest to take for granted — our parents, teachers, our loved ones, our God. They are always there for us, but always hurting the most while waiting for us to return.
In chasing after so many of our desires, we lose ourselves, our values, our dignity, our integrity, our true and initial desire. Let us slow down, to recollect what is it we actually want, what is it we actually need, who we actually are. Let us search for our true selves; let us be open, to allow Christ into our lives this Christmas. Let us be found.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Benjamin Mao)
Prayer: Dear Lord, we pray that we may not be distracted in our search for our true desire, the purpose of our lives. We also pray that we may encounter you in a very special way this Christmas. Help us to return to you.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for always being present. For your love and mercy. For desiring our return. Thank you for accepting us for who we are.