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Archive for December 7th, 2012

This is a very early mosaic of Ambrose and FWIW I remember reading that this might actually be his likeness.

Born in Trier in AD 340, Ambrose was one of the four great Latin doctors of the Church (with Augustine, Jerome, and Gregory the Great). He was a prolific author of hymns, the most common of which is Veni, Redemptor Gentium (“Savior of the Nations, Come”). His name is also associated with Ambrosias chant, a style of chanting the ancient liturgy that took hold in the province of Milan. While serving as a civil governor, Ambrose sought to bring peace among Christians in Milan who were divided into quarreling factions. When a new bishop was to be elected in AD 374, Ambrose addressed the crowd, and someone cried out, “Ambrose, bishop!” The entire gathering gave their support. This acclaim of Ambrose, a thirty-four-year-old catechumen, led to his Baptism on December 7, after which he was consecrated bishop of Milan. A strong defender of the faith, Ambrose convinced the Roman emperor Gratian in 379 to forbid the Arian heresy in the West. At Ambrose’s urging, Gratian’s successor, Theodosius, also publicly opposed Arianism. Ambrose died on Good Friday, April 4, 397. As a courageous doctor and musician, he upheld the truth of God’s Word. (From The Treasury of Daily Prayer, CPH)

There are two other posts on Ambrose here at Concordia and Koinoinia:  here and also here.

The quotes below are from the solid A Year with the Church Fathers: Meditations for each Day of the Church Year, written and edited by Pr. Scott Murray, Memorial Lutheran Church, Houston, Texas and publishing by Concordia Publishing House.  The first paragraph is by Pr. Murray and the remainderby St. Ambrose.  These meditations are for 5 December on the OT reading, Isaiah 11: 1-12:6.   One comment on preaching by the Church Fathers:  many purport to be “Biblical preachers” in our time (even that boast is sadly going out of style) but here in the Fathers is preaching saturated with the Holy Scripture. A blessed Feast Day: may you, like Augustine, hear the preaching of the pure Word of God!

When I bring my wife roses, she buries her face in them to enjoy their beautiful fragrance. Christ is the fruit of the womb of Mary and the flower of Jesse who came from the overshadowing of the Most High God. The fragrance of flowers is a powerful and pleasing thing. The flower of Jesse filled the whole world with the fragrance of forgiveness. That fragrance was all the more powerful when that flower of life was bruised and pinioned to the cross. He exhaled nothing but the fragrance of forgiveness when He breathed His last. When we breathe His fragrant breath, we breathe the breath of life.

“The Lord Himself, whom the angels serve, was begotten by the Holy Spirit coming upon the Virgin, as, according to Matthew, the angel said to Joseph. ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit’ (Matthew 1:20). And according to Luke, he said to Mary, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ (Luke 1:35).

“The birth from the Virgin was, then, the work of the Spirit. The fruit of the womb is the work of the Spirit, according to that which is written: ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb’ (Luke 1:42)! The flower from the root is the work of the Spirit; that flower, I say, of which it was well prophesied: ‘There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit’ (Isaiah 11:1). The root of Jesse the patriarch is the family of the Jews. Mary is the rod. The flower of Mary is Christ, who, about to spread the good fragrance of faith throughout the whole world, budded forth from a virgin womb, as He Himself said, `I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys’ (Song of Solomon 2:1)

“The flower, when cut, keeps its fragrance, and when bruised, increases it, and if torn off, it does not lose it. So the Lord Jesus too, on the gallows of the cross, neither failed when bruised, nor fainted when torn; and when He was cut by that piercing spear, He became more beautiful by the color of the outpoured blood. He, as it were, grew attractive again, not able in Himself to die, and breathing forth upon the dead the gift of eternal life. On this flower of the royal rod the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 12:2)

Let us pray…

O God, You gave Your servant Ambrose grace to proclaim the Gospel with eloquence and power. As bishop of the great congregation of Milan, he fearlessly bore reproach for the honor of Your name. Mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellence in preaching and fidelity in ministering Your Word that Your people shall be partakers of the divine nature; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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