2nd Sunday of Advent
My next reflection on the 50 Saints with an Obligatory
Memorial and full set of orations is on Saint Ambrose, Bishop & Doctor of the Church.
His feast day is December 7, the date he was ordained Bishop and presumably a Deacon and Priest, for he was ‘acclaimed’ Bishop while just an unbaptized
Born around 340, he was 34 when the Bishop of Milan, who professed the Arian heresy that Christ was only
divine, died. During a riot in Milan’s Cathedral over whether his successor should be an Arian or a Catholic, Saint Ambrose, who was the Governor and learned lawyer, spoke up – and was acclaimed Bishop. He fled and asked the Emperor to ‘un-acclaim’ his ‘election’ as Bishop; eventually he conceded, which restored peace and Catholicism to Milan. His orations help explain his artistic symbols: a beehive, books, a miter and a crozier or a three cord whip or a triple strand scourge.
Collect – Saint Ambrose, Bishop & Doctor
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.
Who lives and reigns … for ever and ever. Amen.
Some say the tradition of women wearing a head covering at holy Mass was ‘done in’ by a hairstyle called the ‘beehive.’ Once women had to put a Kleenex atop a beehive, they ceased wearing mantillas or veils; since it was never a rubric or law, just a custom, no one said anything! But Saint Ambrose
used a real beehive as an image for the Church: just as bees work together ‘as one’ to build and maintain the beehive, and willing die to protect the queen bee, Christians must band together and offer everything – even their own life – for Christ.
As this Collect suggests, while total devotion to the Lord and courageous witness to the truth of the Gospel is required of all Christians, it is absolutely demanded of the men God calls to lead and govern His Church. May God answer our prayers for such faithful, strong Vocations from our own Parish and Diocese!
Prayer over the Offerings – Saint Ambrose
As we celebrate the divine mysteries, O Lord, we pray, may the Holy Spirit fill us with that light
of faith by which he constantly enlightened Saint Ambrose for the spreading of your glory.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
NEVER ENDING CATECHESIS.
One bad habit among Christians is that we stop learning about our Faith; Saint
is depicted with a book because he NEVER ceased studying the Bible and Catholic dogma. The oration reminds us to also share our knowledge of God and our Faith with others, which Saint Ambrose
did so courageously. Since he was a Bishop, he wears a miter – and the pallium or special stole given by the Pope to the Metropolitan or Archbishop who oversees the Bishops of a Province. The Archbishop of Newark, John Joseph Myers, wears a pallium since he is the Metropolitan of the Province of New Jersey. [Pope Francis has named Cardinal-designate Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R, of Indianapolis, IN as sixth archbishop of Newark. He will be installed January 6, 2017.]
Prayer after Communion – Saint Ambrose
Lead us, who have been strengthened
by the power of this Sacrament, O Lord,
so to profit from the teaching of Saint Ambrose that, hastening fearlessly along your paths,
we may be prepared for the delights
of the eternal banquet.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Another Saint Ambrose
symbol is a Bishop’s
crozier, which shepherds use to prod lazy sheep, beat back predators, break up fights, etc. He sometimes holds a three cord whip or triple strand scourge since he defended the dogma of the Trinity: One God; Three Persons, thus defeating Arianism. This heresy had to be crushed – for if Jesus is not God, just a Prophet or rabbi, He had no right to alter Commandments, institute a new Covenant, etc. But if He is not man, our human dignity was not restored, nor was His Death for real. He also excommunicated an Emperor who had ordered a massacre in a town in punishment for a crime committed there; through his preaching, the Emperor did public penance and reformed his ways! May Saint Ambrose
intercede to help reform our leaders! Saint Ambrose, pray for us.
In His holy Name,
Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS