Voices ever ancient, ever new. Saturday-AdventOne-2013. Saint Ambrose of Milan, Father of the Church.

“As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 10:7)

Saint Gregory the Great offers the following insight on this verse from today’s Gospel:

“But let us hear what the preachers were commanded when they were sent out: “Go and preach,” saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Even if the gospel were to be silent, dearly beloved, the world now proclaims this message. Its ruins are its words. Struck by so many blows, it has fallen from its glory. It is as if the world itself reveals to us now that another kingdom is near, which will succeed it. It is abhorred by the very people who loved it. Its own ruins preach that it should not be loved.

If someone’s house were shaken and threatened with ruin, whoever lived in it would flee. The one who loved it when it was standing would hasten to leave it as soon as possible when it was falling. Therefore if the world is falling, and we embrace it by loving it, we are choosing rather to be overwhelmed than to live in it. Nothing separates us from its ruin insofar as our love binds us by our attachment to it.

It is easy now, when we see everything heading for destruction, to disengage our minds from love of the world. But then it was very difficult, because the disciples were sent to preach the unseen kingdom of heaven at the very time when everyone far and wide could see the kingdoms of earth flourishing.” (Forty Gospel Homilies, 4)

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.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Click here for a link to a letter by Saint Ambrose. Click here for a link to Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI’s reflection on Saint Ambrose given during one of his weekly General Audiences.

Saint Ambrose, pray for us!

Glory to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen!