Friday 26th April 2019

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

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

"Post-Christian America, in many ways, is beginning to mirror what we were once taught that the pre-Christian Roman Empire looked like. Indeed, if the mayor’s lifestyle is moral, Christianity got it wrong for 20 centuries"

Mayor Pete And The Crackup Of Christianity

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so,” said Hamlet, who thereby raised some crucial quest...

wp.me

Good news! Heard from Raymond De Sousa today. He had successful surgery. Thank you for all your wonderful kindness and prayers!

Load More...

Bishop Donald J. Hying appointed to lead Madison diocese

Vatican City, Apr 25, 2019 / 04:04 am (CNA).- Pope Francis Thursday appointed Donald J. Hying the next bishop of Madison, Wis., following the death of Bishop Robert C. Morlino in November. Hying, 55, has been the bishop of Gary,…Continue Reading

Fr. James V. Schall, S.J., has died at the age of 91

Fr. James V. Schall, the prolific and much-beloved Jesuit, professor and author, died earlier today. His family states that “he was comfortable and at peace” at the time of his death. He was born in Pocahontas, Iowa, January 20, 1928.…Continue Reading

North Carolina Gov. vetoes bill requiring care for babies born alive after failed abortion

RALEIGH, April 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – North Carolina Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed legislation Thursday morning that would require abortionists to provide basic medical care to newborns who survive failed abortions, just days after the measure cleared the state legislature.…Continue Reading

How Cardinal Wuerl Misled the Papal Foundation

In 2017, Cardinal Donald Wuerl provided false and misleading information to the board of the Papal Foundation to secure a $25 million grant for the Istituto Dermopatico dell’Immacolata (IDI), a scandal-plagued hospital in Rome. Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro…Continue Reading

Since “Unplanned” Movie Released, 94 Abortion Clinic Workers Have Said They May Quit Their Jobs

Abby Johnson’s powerful conversion story is moving hearts inside the abortion industry. Chuck Konzelman, who is a co-writer/co-director of “Unplanned,” the new film detailing Johnson’s life, said nearly 100 abortion workers have reached out to them in the past few…Continue Reading

Franciscan University president resigns

Steubenville, Ohio, Apr 8, 2019 / 07:50 am (CNA).- Fr. Sean Sheridan, TOR, has resigned as president of Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. Fr. Sheridan informed the university’s trustees of his decision during a regular meeting of the board on…Continue Reading

CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY HONORS ABORTION PROPONENT WITH COMMENCEMENT SOAPBOX, DOCTORATE

Alumni of Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland and the Cardinal Newman Society are voicing their outrage at the school’s selection of Mark Shriver to deliver the 2019 commencement address while also receiving an honorary doctorate of humane letters. Shriver is president of the Save the…Continue Reading

Emails show Planned Parenthood behind California rule to make churches pay for abortions

Sacramento, Calif., Apr 5, 2019 / 03:01 pm (CNA).- A 2014 California rule forcing religious groups, including churches, to cover elective abortions for employees was the result of direct pressure from Planned Parenthood, internal emails have shown. On April 4,…Continue Reading

Notre Dame’s Catholic duty

On Wednesday, the LGBT Law Forum at the law school hosted an event featuring Jim Obergefell, Greg Bourke and Michael DeLeon, plaintiffs in the Supreme Court caseObergefell v. Hodges, which mandated that every state recognize same-sex marriage. The talk was co-sponsored…Continue Reading

Catholic priests in Poland burn alleged sacrilegious books including ‘Harry Potter,’ condemn magic

Polish Catholic priests condemning magic burned dozens of books they considered to be sacrilegious, including works from the “Harry Potter” series. The SMS from Heaven Foundation – an evangelical group – posted photos of the burning at Gdansk’s Mother of…Continue Reading

Vatican Life Academy: Parents must vaccinate, even if vaccines come from aborted babies

VATICAN CITY, March 26, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — In a stunning declaration, the Pontifical Academy for Life — now populated entirely with Pope Francis appointments — has urged parents to vaccinate their children, even if the vaccines are derived from aborted…Continue Reading

Cardinal DiNardo discharged from hospital, expected to make full recovery

Houston, Texas, Mar 21, 2019 / 08:59 am (CNA).- Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston has been released from the hospital, following a mild stroke last week, his archdiocese announced March 20. The cardinal, who serves as president of the U.S.…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  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 su
bscribe 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 150 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

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Tickets For Life

Today . . .

Joe Biden Announces He is Running for President, He Supports Abortions Up to Birth

Former Vice President and Senator Joe Biden today announced that he is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Biden, who is pro-abortion, enters a crowded Democrat field with candidates like Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, Beto, O’Rourke, Elizabeth Warren and others vying for the chance to take on President Donald Trump in 2020. In 2007, Biden made his approach on abortion crystal clear, indicating he would vote to defend and expand abortions at al

Cardinal Sarah condemns ‘barbaric Islamist violence’ in Sri Lanka

April 23, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Two respected cardinals known for their defense of the Catholic faith spoke out about the horrific Easter Sunday bomb attacks in Sri Lanka. Cardinal Robert Sarah condemned “barbaric Islamist violence” on Monday in a tweet and Cardinal Joseph Zen tweeted that the attacks are a call to prayer for all persecuted Christians.

Italian Bishop doubles down on ban of traditional Latin Mass

ROME, April 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Documents obtained by LifeSite show that an Italian bishop has ordered a priest to cease celebrating the Mass in the Extraordinary Form, after the traditional liturgy drew an increasing number of young lay faithful. Bishop Antonio Napolioni, of the northern Italian diocese of Cremona, is upholding a ten-year ban on the Latin Mass begun by his predecessor, on the grounds that such “objectively disharmonious initiative

Islamic State claims responsibility for Sri Lanka Easter bombings

Colombo, Sri Lanka, Apr 23, 2019 / 07:09 am (CNA).- The Islamic State claimed responsibility Tuesday for the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka that killed at least 321 people and left 500 injured. “The perpetrators of the attack that targeted nationals of the countries of the coalitions and Christians in Sri Lanka before yesterday are fighters from the Islamic State,” the Islamic State said through its Aamaq news agency April 23. Sri Lankan officials suspected…Continue Reading

Cardinal Tobin: Catechism language ‘very unfortunate’ on homosexuality

Newark, N.J., Apr 18, 2019 / 10:54 am (CNA).- The Archbishop of Newark said Wednesday that the language used by the Catechism of the Catholic Church to describe homosexual acts is “very unfortunate,” adding that he hopes the Catechism will use different language in its discussion of homosexuality. “The Church, I think, is having its own conversation about what our faith has us do and say with people in relationships that are same-sex. What should…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

Sri Lanka’s Cardinal Ranjith . . . Would Have Canceled Easter Mass If Bomb Warnings Had Been Passed On

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CNA) — The archbishop of Colombo says that government officials in Sri Lanka should be fired for failing to act on tips that terrorist attacks were imminent in the hours preceding Easter Sunday bombings in the country. “It’s absolutely unacceptable behavior on the part of these high officials of the government, including…Continue Reading

Dispute Over Papal Foundation’s $25 Million Grant Approval Continues

By KEVIN JONES VATICAN CITY (CNA) — Scrutiny continues for the U.S.-based Papal Foundation, amid questions of whether some of its grant activity was motivated by a desire to secure leniency for disgraced former cardinal Theodore McCarrick. The ongoing controversy surrounds the foundation’s decision to make an unprecedented grant to a leading Italian hospital whose…Continue Reading

A Book Review… A Renaissance Man Looks At Human Worth

By JUDE DOUGHERTY Manetti, Giannozzo. On Human Worth and Excellence. Edited and translated by Brian P. Copenhaver; Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press, I Tatti Renaissance Library, pp LI + 362. One does not have to be a Renaissance historian or know much medieval philosophy or theology to appreciate this delightful book. On Human Worth and…Continue Reading

A Book Review . . . Make A Devotional Journey Into The Mass

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY A Devotional Journey Into the Mass: How Mass Can Become a Time of Grace, Nourishment, and Devotion, by Christopher Carstens (144 pages, Sophia Institute Press, Paperback and Kindle). Visit www.sophiainstitute.com or call 1-800-888-9344. A Devotional Journey Into the Mass is an in-depth study of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, and the first thing…Continue Reading

Memento Mori… The Danger Of Being Ultra-Nice

By DONALD DeMARCO A man wakes up in his nice apartment and, while having a nice cup of coffee, is told by a nice radio voice that the weather will be nice. He drives his nice car through his nice neighborhood and is wished a nice day, verbally by the teller at the bank and…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. As we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus this Easter, can you give me a short summary of the reasons why we believe that Jesus really rose from the dead? — K.J., via e-mail. A. Defenders of the Resurrection have usually grouped the reasons for the belief in the Resurrection of Jesus into three categories: The empty tomb, the many…Continue Reading

Looking To Cardinal Sarah . . . The Arrival Of Spiritual And Religious Collapse

By FR. SHENAN BOQUET (Editor’s Note: This article is reprinted with permission of Human Life International, www.hli.org. It first appeared at www.hli.org on April 15, 2019. Fr. Boquet is the president of HLI.) + + + Recently I traveled to Phoenix in order to lead a mission. When I arrived at the airport, I was stunned to see a group…Continue Reading

Do Not Doubt, But Believe

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Second Sunday Of Easter, Divine Mercy (YR C) Readings: Acts 5:12-16 Rev. 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19 John 20:19-31 Today we celebrate the Feast of Divine Mercy, a Feast our Lord Himself requested through St. Faustina. Mercy has been indispensable throughout history, but in God’s Providence He has waited until our own time to ask for a liturgical…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… To Rise From The Ashes, To Quit The Tomb

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK A blessed Easter to all of our readers. “The Lord is risen. Alleluia!” Christ’s story, recounted in the Scriptures proclaimed liturgically in these holy days, must become our story, too. Easter is our most important annual celebration of this fact. Baptized as we are into Christ’s death, we must live so as to rise with…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: It is easy to get discouraged at the state of the Church these days, particularly at the decline in the number of Religious sisters from 181,000 in 1965 to about 47,000 today, which Fr. George Rutler blames partly on those orders which “accepted bad advice from misguided and misguiding theologians and leaders. Bishops often have been at fault,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Marie Of The Incarnation

By CAROLE BRESLIN Stories of St. Rene Goupil and St. Isaac Jogues, two of the first French Jesuit priests to be martyred in the New World, led many other French citizens to seek missionary service in Canada. Women as well as men set sail for New France. Women such as St. Marguerite Bourgeoys left the comforts of France to bring…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Peter Of St. Joseph De Betancur

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Catholic Church is the largest provider of health care in the world. As of 2013, more than 40,000 hospitals, clinics, and homes for the elderly were run by the Catholic Church throughout the world. The pioneering work of many devout saints for centuries provided care for the sick and the homeless. To care for the sick…Continue Reading