Readings & Reflections: Thursday of the First Week in Advent & St. Ambrose, December 7,2017
Ambrose was born in Trier around 340 A.D. Having won acclaim as a lawyer, Ambrose was appointed as Roman governor, residing in Milan. When a new bishop was to be elected at the cathedral, contention broke out between Arians and Christians. Ambrose rose to quell the raucous crowd. Suddenly, a little child cried out, “Ambrose, bishop!” The multitude joined in acclamation. Only a catechumen at the time, Ambrose was installed on December 7, a mere eight days after his baptism as bishop of Milan at age thirty-five. He immediately divested himself of all worldly possessions and threw himself into the study of the Church Fathers, learning their writings in order to teach. An eloquent preacher, he was especially noted for his homilies on virginity. So convincing were his discourse that some mothers refrained from sending their daughters to his Sunday Mass, for fear of losing them to the Church. A young Augustine was moved toward the Christian faith by the power of Ambrose’s words. In homilies and moral works, he extolled the virginity of Mary and defended the divinity of Christ against the Arian heresy. He died in 397 A.D. with his arms outreached in the sign of the cross. He is one of the four Latin Doctors of the Church.