Monday 30th March 2015

Home » saints » Currently Reading:

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Ambrose

November 27, 2013 saints No Comments

By CAROLE BRESLIN

Even Truman Compote could have some interesting insights such as, “Love is a chain of love as nature is a chain of life.” It would seem to follow then that holiness is a chain of holiness as witnessed by St. Albert the Great and St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, and St. Ambrose and St. Thomas Aquinas. We are channels of grace meant to not only serve God, but to bring others to the same eternal end.
The year of Ambrose’s birth is placed somewhere around AD 340. It is likely that he was born in Gaul where his father, also named Ambrose, was prefect for the Romans. While Ambrose was still a child, his father died, leading his mother to return to Rome, taking great care in raising her children in the true Christian faith.
Thanks to the influence of both his mother and his sister, St. Marcellina, Ambrose learned the art of writing and speaking and the language of Greek. Not surprisingly, since he was one of the four doctors of the Western Church of his era, he was uncommonly bright. He quickly drew the attention of the Roman officials and soon became a favorite in the courts of Symmachus.
His success led to him being summoned by Probus who chose him to be his assessor. Eventually he became governor of Aemilia and Liguria under the Emperor Valentinian while residing in Milan. These offices, known to be the most significant in the Roman Empire, came to him before he reached the age of 40.
In 374 a dramatic change of events also changed the course of his life. The Arian Auxentius died, leaving the see of Milan in chaos with two parties competing for power: the Arians and the Christians. Fearing an outbreak of violence, St. Ambrose went to the church were the meetings were being held to select a successor. As the parties argued and vied for authority, Ambrose pleaded before them to proceed in a spirit of peace and agreement. While Ambrose was making his speech, a voice crying out in the chaos shouted, “Ambrose for bishop.” All the more astounding was this choice since Ambrose had not yet been baptized!
Ambrose sought to escape the assignment, but the emperor confirmed the appointment. Eventually the situation was settled when Ambrose was baptized and a week later, on December 7, 374, he was ordained the bishop at the age of 35.
After his appointment, he divested himself of all his worldly possessions and began to urge the magistrates to do the same. Both the Emperor Valentinian and St. Basil congratulated him on his efforts to impose divine law. Ambrose also sought to do away with Arianism and thus studied under Basil and St. Simplician in order to learn the Scriptures and the theology to thwart the inroads the Arians had made.
As bishop, he never sought positions for associates in any public office. Furthermore, he availed himself to all who wanted to see him. In fact, when St. Augustine went to see him, he frequently was never noticed by the bishop — much to Augustine’s frustration. (After 33 years, Augustine finally was baptized and became the most prolific writer in the history of the Church.) Ambrose also undertook the formation and protection of consecrated virgins. Criticized for trying to depopulate the empire, he retorted that no man had trouble finding a wife.
Around 377 both the Goths and the Arians (a heretical sect) were threatening Christianity. Ambrose used not only his personal wealth to ransom captives, but also melted down the sacred vessels to redeem the prisoners, to which the Arians cried sacrilege. In response Ambrose stated that souls were more important than things. He wrote To Gratian, in Defense of Faith to counter the Arian assertions.
Ambrose also set a precedent so that rulers sought the intercession of the Church to settle disputes. In 383, the Empress Justina sought his aid in the protection of her son Valentinian II from Maximus. Ambrose convinced Maximus to restrict his ambitions to Gaul, Spain, and Britain.
He also managed to thwart the attempt of the cult which tried to re-establish the following of the pagan goddess of victory. Again Ambrose overcame this danger to the faith by the pen. Symmachus had written a very compelling propaganda piece in favor of devotion to the goddess, but Ambrose again refuted with great eloquence the points made by the pagans. As a result the emperor would not support the cult.
Politics took over once again to undermine a faithful prelate. In 385, the Empress Justina, whom Ambrose had assisted previously, turned her back on him to support the Arians. She persuaded Valentinian to demand that the Portian basilica be turned over to the Arians. When officials came to take possession, the Catholics resisted and took an Arian priest prisoner.
Ambrose prayed fervently that no harm would come to him. Despite numerous provocations on behalf of the officials of Rome and the associates of the Arians, Ambrose refused to be drawn into a confrontation. He avoided any semblance of such confrontation by avoiding appearances at the churches sought by the Arians.
Soon laws were passed protecting the Arians and forbidding anyone from opposing them. Ambrose still would not yield his churches. When the emperor sent a messenger ordering Ambrose to obey his orders, Ambrose refused, saying, “The emperor is in the Church, not over it.”
When trouble again arose between Maximus and Valentinian II with Justina, Ambrose intervened and gave warning. The Greek, Theodosius, came to defeat Maximus and restore them to their domain. He persuaded Valentinian to give up his Arian following.
In 390, a massacre in Thessalonica by Theodosius resulted in over 7,000 men, women, and children being murdered without discrimination: the innocent as well as the guilty. Rebuked by Ambrose, Theodosius repented. “He stripped himself of every sign of royalty and bewailed his sin openly in church.”
Theodosius defended the Church against Arbogastes, winning the final blow to paganism in the empire. A few months later, as the ruler was dying, he reclined in the arms of St. Ambrose.
Two years later, Ambrose died. For three hours he held his arms out in the form of a cross. As St. Honoratus heard a voice urging him to rush to Ambrose, he prepared the last sacraments and administered them to Ambrose. Ambrose died on Good Friday, April 4, 397. His feast day is celebrated on the anniversary of his Ordination as bishop of Milan, December 7.
Dear St. Ambrose, doctor of the Church who established the supremacy of the Church over state rulers and defended doctrine so eloquently against the heresy of Arianism, pray for us. Surely you see the onslaught Holy Mother Church suffers today, as she has throughout her 2,000-year history. May we possess the gifts of the Holy Spirit to refute with courage and conviction, with charity and patience the errors so prevalent in our society. Amen.

+    +    +

(Carole Breslin home-schooled her four daughters and served as treasurer of the Michigan Catholic Home Educators for eight years. For over ten years, she was national coordinator for the Marian Catechists, founded by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ. She is celebrating her 20th anniversary with the organization.)

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Pope says prayers, not ‘gossip,’ needed for successful synod on family

By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS) — No matter how weary, wounded or sinful a family has become, the church will always do everything to try to help family members heal, convert and reconcile with the Lord,…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke says confusion spreading among Catholics ‘in an alarming way’

LifeSiteNews: Since the extraordinary synod on the family, we have entered a period of uncertainty and confusion over several “hot-button” issues: communion for divorced and “remarried” couples, a change of attitude towards homosexual unions and an apparent relaxing of attitudes…Continue Reading

Bishop backs Catholic school’s removal of teacher over pro-marriage Facebook comments: cites Pope Francis

SOMERVILLE, NJ, March 23, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Catholic school has decided not to rehire a theology teacher who rejected the argument in favor of gay “marriage” on her private Facebook page, her family has announced. The controversy began last…Continue Reading

Creepy Catholicism.

Martin O’Malley is the latest Catholic politician to come out as a duplicitous “Catholic.” Deacon Kandra posts an excerpt here from an interview in which O’Malley displays some amazingly twisted thinking to support homosexual marriage–even though he’s a Catholic. As far…Continue Reading

Polish Bishops’ Conference rejects Holy Communion for divorced and “remarried”

The Polish Bishops’ Conference has issued a communiqué firmly rejecting the proposals that divorced and “remarried” Catholics should be admitted to Holy Communion without amendment of life. The communiqué, published on 12th March, includes the following statement: “In view of the…Continue Reading

Celtic Catholic priest and friends pile on archbishop

On Monday March 16, KALW radio’s City Visions will host a program “Can Bay Area Catholics and Archbishop Cordileone find Common Ground?” Scheduled guests are the Reverend Vincent Pizzuto; Most Holy Redeemer parishioner and teachers’ union representative Ted DeSaulnier; and…Continue Reading

The Traditional Case for Capital Punishment

A group of Catholic publishers recently issued a joint statement urging an end to capital punishment. I have great respect for all of them – I have written for all of them at one point or another. I disagree with…Continue Reading

Cardinal Müller: Pope Is Not Above the Word of God and the Catholic Faith

Edit: Rorate tends to understate things.  They want a sober response.  We’d like to offer this translation of Giuseppe Nardi’s appreciation of their take on Cardinal Müller’s recent letter appearing in the Osservatore Romano and additional commentary from other important Italian…Continue Reading

Is the Synod Secretariat Stacking the Deck Again?

The Vatican today announced that the vice president of the John Paul II Pontifical Institute for the Study of Marriage and the Family will be a consulter to the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops. Professor José Granados‘ appointment,…Continue Reading

Gay activist: Of course our goal is to ‘indoctrinate children into LGBTQ agenda’

TORONTO, March 13, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) — A homosexual activist has candidly admitted that gay-themed materials and policies pushed in grade schools across North America are for the sake of “indoctrinating” children into an unquestioning acceptance of homosexuality. “I am here…Continue Reading

Pope . . . giving holy Communion to remarried divorcees “won’t solve anything”

On the second anniversary of his pontificate, the Holy Father gave a lengthy interview to a Mexican television journalist. – CNA/Bohumil Petrik VATICAN CITY — In a new, wide-ranging interview published Friday on the second anniversary of his election, Pope…Continue Reading

Cardinal rebukes head of German bishops: We can’t ignore Christ’s teaching on marriage

German Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, who headed the Papal Council Cor Unum until 2010 and was made a cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI, has publicly opposed the words and direction of the German Bishops’ Conference. In a Letter to the…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to subscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.

 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope Francis on Palm Sunday: remember persecuted Christians

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis remembered the persecuted Christians in the world on Sunday – Palm Sunday – during Mass in St. Peter’s Square. Following the proclamation of the Passion according to St. Mark, Pope Francis delivered a homily, in which he reflected on the plight of all those who endure humiliation because of their faithfulness to the Gospel, all those who face discrimination and pay a personal price for their fidelity to Christ. “We think…Continue Reading

Pope Francis: Palm Sunday Homily

pope742

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis delivered the homily at Mass in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday – Palm Sunday – the beginning of Holy Week, 2015. Please find, below, the official English translation of the Holy Father’s prepared remarks. ***************************** At the heart of this celebration, which seems so festive, are the words we heard in the hymn of the Letter to the Philippians: “He humbled himself” (2:8).  Jesus’ humiliation. These words show us God’s way…Continue Reading

Pope: Life Of St Teresa Of Avila Can Help Renew Consecrated Life

st thera avila

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said the life of St Teresa of Avila, characterized by “total self-giving to God,” is a “great treasure” that can help to renew consecrated life today. The pope spoke of the witness of St Teresa in a letter, issued Saturday, to the Superior General of the Order of Discalced Carmelites, Fr Xavier Cannistrà, to mark the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the saint’s birth. Listen to the report by Laura…Continue Reading

Mass at Santa Marta- Ode to joy

2015-03-26 L’Osservatore Romano Joy and hope are Christian traits. It is sad to find a believer who knows no joy, fearful in his attachment to cold doctrine. This was the very reason for Francis’ ode to joy during Mass at Santa Marta on Thursday, 26 March. At the beginning of Mass, the Pope acknowledged the Carmelite “Hour of Prayer for Peace”. “Dear brothers and sisters”, he said, “the day after tomorrow, 28 March, will be…Continue Reading

“What Is Historical Church Teaching On Contraception?”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 21 of The Facts of Life, “Contraception,” e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + Part 1 “Contraception cannot be an expression of total self-giving, because in contraception, something is…Continue Reading

Transforming The St. Patrick’s Day Parades

By LAWRENCE P. GRAYSON St. Patrick’s Day, which is a holy day of obligation for Catholics in Ireland, has been corrupted in America by homosexual activists who flaunt their opposition to Catholic doctrine. Celebratory parades have been co-opted for dissident political purposes. Since the seventh century, St. Patrick has been revered as the patron saint…Continue Reading

How Far Can One Sink?

By DONALD DeMARCO “With [Premier] Wynne’s sex education curriculum, we have at last splashed down in a miasmal sewer in which it’s hard to sink any further.” So writes Harley Price, who has taught philosophy at a number of prestigious universities. Many, including outraged parents and indignant members of the medical establishment, agree with him.…Continue Reading

A Book Review . . . A Spiritually Sound Approach To Depression

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY The Catholic Guide to Depression, by Aaron Kheriaty, MD, with Fr. John Cihak (Sophia Institute Press, 228 pages). Visit www.sophiainstitute.com or call 1-800-888-9344 for more information or for ordering. + + + This book has a lengthy introduction, and is then divided into two parts. The first is entitled “Understanding Depression,”…Continue Reading

What If Hillary Doesn’t Care?

By ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO What if Hillary Clinton’s emails were hacked by foreign agents when she was the secretary of state? What if persons claiming to have done so are boasting about their alleged feats on Internet websites and in chat rooms traditionally associated with illegal or undercover activities? What if this is the sore…Continue Reading

The Wanderer Interviews His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke . . .

burk10

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, who previously served as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome from June 2008 until November 2014, recently visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis. Prior to that he served as Archbishop…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Message From Cardinal Burke

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World . . . The Lessons Of Holy Week On Faithful Love

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK As Holy Week is upon us once again, and we join in with the condemnation of the crowd, crying “Crucify Him, Crucify Him,” we relive the betrayal of sin which marks every human life. We accompany the Lord Jesus Christ on His way of the cross and journey with Him all the way to Calvary.…Continue Reading

Is Mary The Mother Of God… Or Only The Mother Of Jesus?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 Responding to a common misconception among separated brethren and ill-informed Catholics: What did the Early Christians believe about the Catholic doctrine on the divine Motherhood? Those men, women, and children who sacrificed everything for the true faith in Jesus — even their very own lives? They were imprisoned, tortured, murdered. Some were burned…Continue Reading

Divine Revelation: Gradual And Progressive

By DON FIER We left off last week reflecting on God’s motive for revealing Himself to us in a supernatural manner. In a word, His sole motive was that of boundless love for mankind. God gratuitously and unconditionally chose to “communicate His own divine life to the men He freely created, in order to adopt them as His sons in…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: As readers of this column know, we like to quote Fr. George Rutler from time to time because his weekly bulletin columns at the Church of St. Michael in New York City are sources of both information and inspiration. After starting his March 22 column by noting that history is “replete with the failures of famous figures,” such…Continue Reading

We Have Been Raised With Christ

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Easter Sunday (YR B) Readings: Acts 10:34a, 37-43 Col. 3:1-4 John 20:1-9 In the Gospel reading today, we hear about Peter and John entering the Lord’s grave after they had been informed by St. Mary Magdalen that Jesus had been taken away. We are told that when the Beloved Disciple saw the burial cloths there and…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Faustina And Divine Mercy

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Divine Mercy Chaplet had never been one of my favorite devotions until my aunt died. As she lay in the hospital during her final hours, I sat in the room, visiting with the endless stream of visitors who stopped in to see their fellow volunteer. By six o’clock, the room was quiet. I decided to read…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. John Of God

By CAROLE BRESLIN In our time, it is common to hear parents bemoan the fact that their child is impulsive, or strong-willed, or irresponsible. Even the Holy Family suffered when our Lord, at the age of twelve, stayed behind in the Temple. How Mary and Joseph must have agonized over the missing Child Jesus. How do you tell God you…Continue Reading