- It is not enough just to wish well; we must also do well.
- If you have two shirts in your closet, one belongs to you and the other to the man with no shirt.
- A kindness received should be returned with a freer hand.
- “No one heals himself by wounding another”
Some modern words for today from one of our early leaders in the faith, Ambrose of Milan.
It seems they did things in a hurry in the early church. Ambrose was born in 340. He was still being prepared to be baptised when he was elected as Bishop of Milan! He wrote many wonderful instructions that are filled with wisdom. One of his claims to fame is as the mentor and guide of St. Augustine, who became a huge influence on the growing Church, to accept baptism himself. Today’s opening prayer prays:
“You made Saint Ambrose a teacher of the faith and model of apostolic courage. Raise in your Church men after your own heart to guide and govern her with courage and wisdom.”
Ambrose has these beautiful words about Christmas: Open wide your door to the one who comes. Open your soul, throw open the depths of your heart to see the riches of simplicity, the treasures of peace, the sweetness of grace. Open your heart and run to meet the Sun of eternal light that enlightens all.
As we continue our Advent preparation for the great feast of Christmas, the prophet Isaiah reassures us with these words “the Lord God gives strength to the weary” We also hears those wonderful words of Jesus: “come to me all you are carrying heavy loads and I will give you rest.” So, in the midst of sad news of earthquakes and wars and loss of hope for many, we can give thanks to remember that God’s love and grace still happen in our world. In our modern society to even say “I believe” risks being laughed at. As we are surrounded by superstition and trust in ourselves rather than trust in the wonders of the source of all life – God, the Advent message and the life of Ambrose encourage us to dust off our faith, to refresh our hope that life is good, that God is still loving us. We are asked to fan our hope into flame as we prepare to gaze on the tiny child born in the most unpromising conditions. God’s word calls us to ‘dare to believe and dare to keep on trusting.
Fr. Kevin Dance CP is the vicar of the St.Brigid’s Retreat, Marrickville. He is very actively involved in ministries locally and at Passionist International where he served as the Executive Director for many years.