THURSDAY THE SEVENTH OF DECEMBER 2017
* Ambrose of Milan *
O Lord, who has mercy upon all, take away from me my sins and mercifully kindle in me the fire of your Holy Spirit. Take away from me the heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh, a heart to love and adore you, a heart to delight in you, to follow and enjoy you, for Christ's sake. Amen
( Ambrose of Milan )
O come, Redeemer of mankind, appear,
you with full hearts the virgin born we greet;
let every age with rapt amazement hear
that wondrous birth which for our God is meet.
Not by the will of man, or mortal seed,
but by the Spirit’s breathed mysterious grace
the Word of God became our flesh indeed
and grew a tender plant of human race.
Lo! Mary’s virgin womb its burden bears;
nor less abides her virgin purity;
in the King’s glory see our nature shares;
here in his temple God vouchsafes to be.
From his bright chamber, virtue’s holy shrine
the royal bridegroom cometh to the day;
of twofold substance, human and divine,
as giant swift, rejoicing on his way.
Forth from his father to the world he goes,
back to the Father’s face his way regains,
far down to souls beneath his glory shows,
again at God’s right hand victorious reigns.
With the eternal Father equal, you,
girt with our flesh do triumph evermore,
strengthening our feeble bodies here below
with endless grace from your own living store.
How does your lowly manger radiant shine
on the sweet breath of night new splendour grows;
so may our spirits glow with faith divine,
where no dark cloud of sin shall interpose.
All praise and glory to the Father be,
all praise and glory to his only son,
all praise and glory, Holy Ghost, to you,
both now, and while eternal ages run.
( Ambrose of Milan )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Today Saint Laika’s remembers Ambrose of Milan, fourth century bishop, teacher, and theologian . Ambrose lived during the time when the struggle between the Arians and the Orthodox raged across the Roman Empire.
He became involved in the election of a bishop for Milan only as mediator between the battling factions of Arians and orthodox Christians. The Arian position that Christ was not God, had been roundly defeated earlier at the Council of Nicea. But Arians continued to press for their view throughout most of the fourth century. For a time it seemed the more popular Christian position. Strong leaders like Ambrose were key to establishing the faith of the Nicene Creed. He was ordained bishop on the seventh of December, 373.
Ambrose was also a skilful hymnodist. He introduced antiphonal chanting to enrich the liturgy, and wrote straightforward, practical discourses to educate his people in such matters of doctrine as baptism, the Trinity, the Eucharist, and the person of Christ. His persuasive preaching was an important factor in the conversion of Augustine of Hippo.
Ambrose also stood up to the Roman Emperor Theodosius whom he forced to do public penance for the slaughter of several thousand citizens of Salonika. He wrote and taught about the sacraments of baptism and holy communion. He had strong devotion to Mary, the mother of the Lord. He was also very generous to the poor, and taught his flock that it was their obligation to see that the least of Christ’s brothers and sisters be provided for.
Scripture. In "Psalm Twenty-Seven," verses seven to nine, we read:
Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me!
"Come," my heart says, "seek his face!"
Your face, LORD, do I seek. Do not hide your face from me.
... for peace in the world.
... for bee keepers, candlemakers, chandlers, domestic animals, schoolchildren, students, the people of Milan and all who claim Ambrose as their patron.
... for the safety of those travelling in airplanes; for pilots and cabin staff. DETAILS
... for those who who have been evacuated from their homes because of wildfires in California; for the safety of those fighting to control the fires.
... for all facing redundancy from work.
... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.
... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.
... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.
... for ourselves.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
From "Concerning Repentance (Book Two)" by Ambrose of Milan :
Let us, then, mourn for a time, that we may rejoice for eternity. Let us fear the Lord, let us anticipate him with the confession of our sins, let us correct our backslidings and amend our faults, lest of us too it be said: “Woe is me, my soul, for the godly man is perished from the earth, and there is none amongst men to correct them."
Why do you fear to confess your sins to our good Lord?
“Set them forth," he says, “that thou mayest be justified.”
The rewards of justification are set before him who is still guilty of sin, for he is justified who voluntarily confesses his own sin; and lastly, “the just man is his own accuser in the beginning of his speaking.”
The Lord knows all things, but he waits for your words, not that he may punish, but that he may pardon. It is not his will that the devil should triumph over you and accuse you when you conceal your sins. Be beforehand with your accuser: if you accuse yourself, you will fear no accuser; if you report yourself, though you were dead you shall live.
God, you gave your servant Ambrose grace eloquently to proclaim your righteousness in the great congregation and fearlessly to bear reproach for the honour of your name: mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellence in preaching and faithfulness in ministering your word, that your people may be partakers with them of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
NOW LIGHT A CANDLE
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