St. Ambrose

St. Ambrose - Icon

St. Ambrose was born around the year 340 in Southern Gaul of noble parents. As a youth, he studied classics, various philosophers, and Greek. He soon made a name for himself as a public speaker and poet. While Ambrose was still in his late twenties, he was made governor and served the people justly and kindly. In the year 374, the bishop of Milan died and there was a major dispute about who should take his place. Seeking to keep the dispute from becoming an uprising, Ambrose intervened, but he so impressed the people with a speech that he was chosen to be bishop even though he was only a catechumen.

Ambrose did all he could to avoid becoming bishop, but he was unsuccessful. Ambrose was ordained bishop on December 7, 374 at the age of 34. The first thing that St. Ambrose did once he took office was to give away all his possessions so he could totally commit his life to his flock. As bishop, Ambrose immediately began to use his talent of public speaking to instruct his flock. He preached against the Arian heresy and continually instructed the people in the practice of virtue. Ambose penned many works in defense of the Faith and exhorting people to holiness.

During his lifetime, Ambrose called several councils and worked tirelessly against the Arian heresy. He died around the year 397.

From a letter by St. Ambrose:

"The Church of the Lord is built upon the rock of the apostles among so many dangers in the world; it therefore remains unmoved. The Church's foundation is unshakable and firm against assaults of the raging sea. Waves lash at the Church but do not shatter it. Although the elements of this world constantly beat upon the Church with crashing sounds, the Church possesses the safest harbor of salvation for all in distress.

There is a stream which flows down on God's saints like a torrent. There is also a rushing river giving joy to the heart that is at peace and makes for peace.

He who read much and understands much, receives his fill. he who is full, refreshes others. So Scripture says: "If the clouds are full, they will pour rain upon the earth."

Therefore, let your words be rivers, clean and limpid, so that you may charm the ears of people. And by the grace of your words win them over to follow your leadership. Solomon says: "The weapons of the understanding are the lips of the wise"; and in another place he says: "Let your lips be bound with wisdom." That is, let the meaning of your words shine forth, let understanding blaze out. Let no word escape your lips in vain or be uttered without depth of meaning."

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