Don’t neglect your spiritual reading. Reading has made many saints.”
St. Josemaría Escrivá
On the blessing of death
St. Ambrose (b.339/340 - d.397 A.D.) was assiduous in carrying out his office, acting with charity to all: a true shepherd and teacher of the faithful. He was unimpressed by status and when the Emperor Theodosius ordered the massacre of 7,000 people in Thessalonica, Ambrose forced him to do public penance. He defended the rights of the Church and attacked the Arian heresy* with learning, firmness and gentleness. He also wrote a number of hymns which are still in use today.
Ambrose was a key figure in the conversion of Saint Augustine of Hippo to Catholicism, impressing Augustine (hitherto unimpressed by the Catholics he had met) by his intelligence and scholarship.
*The Arian theology held that the Son of God is not co-eternal with God the Father, and was distinct. The Arian concept of Christ is based on the belief that the Son of God did not always exist but was begotten within time by God the Father, therefore Jesus was not co-eternal with God the Father. As such, all mainstream branches of Christianity now consider Arianism to be heterodox and heretical.
St Ambrose, On The Blessing of Death
St Paul says, The world is crucified to me, and I to the world. Then he tells us that he means death in this life, and a good death: We carry with us in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of our Lord Jesus, too, may always be seen in our body.
Let death do its work in us, therefore, so that life may do its work also: a good life after death, that is, a good life after victory, after the battle is over, when the law of the flesh is no longer in conflict with the law of the mind, when we have no more battles with mortal flesh but in mortal flesh we have victory. I wonder if this death might not have more power in it than life. St Paul’s authority certainly suggests it when he says Death works in us but life in you.
One man’s death has laid the foundations of life for so many people! And so St Paul teaches that we should seek that death in this life, so that Christ’s death should shine out in our bodies. That blessed death, in which our outer nature falls away and our inner nature is renewed, and our earthly dwelling is dissolved so that our heavenly home is laid open to us.
A man imitates this death when he drags himself away from being part of this flesh and breaks those chains that the Lord had spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: Break unjust fetters, undo the thongs of the yoke, let the oppressed go free, and break every unjust constraint.
It was to put an end to guilt that the Lord permitted death to come into the world; but so that human nature should not end up perishing by death instead of guilt, the resurrection of the dead was given us. By death, guilt would be ended, and by resurrection, human nature would be eternal.
And thus this death is a journey for everyone. You must always be journeying: from decay to incorruptibility, from mortality to immortality, from turbulence to peace. Do not be alarmed by the word ‘death’ but rejoice at the good that the journey will bring. For what is death except the burial of vice and the raising up of virtue? Hence Scripture says, May I die the death of the just – that is, may I be buried with them, put down my vices, and put on the grace of the just, who carry the mortification of Christ around in their bodies and their souls.
Credit: Divine Office: Office of Readings; Saturday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time; https://divineoffice.org/welcome/ Information herein posted under the "rules of fair use" to foster education and discussion in accordance with Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976.
Spiritual reading is the food of the soul, which renders it dauntless and strong against all temptation, which prompts it with holy thoughts and ardent desires for heaven, which enlightens the mind, strengthens the will, and gives comfort in all afflictions, which, in conclusion, procures that true and holy joy which is found in God alone.”
Saint Ambrose of Milan, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
No one heals himself by wounding another.”
Saint Ambrose of Milan
“From ancient times the Church has had the custom of celebrating each day the liturgy of the hours. In this way the Church fulfills the Lord’s precept to pray without ceasing, at once offering its praise to God the Father and interceding for the salvation of the world.” — Office of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship. The Liturgy of the Hours is the prayer of the whole People of God. In it, Christ himself “continues his priestly work through his Church.” His members participate according to their own place in the Church and the circumstances of their lives. The laity, too, are encouraged to recite the divine office either with the priests, among themselves, or individually. The celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours demands not only harmonizing the voice with the praying heart, but also a deeper “understanding of the liturgy and of the Bible, especially of the Psalms.” The hymns and litanies of the Liturgy of the Hours integrate the prayer of the psalms into the age of the Church, expressing the symbolism of the time of day, the liturgical season, or the feast being celebrated. Credit: https://divineoffice.org/liturgy-of-the-hours/
Half an hour’s meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed.”
Saint Francis de Sales
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Holy Spirit, Light and Life of my Soul, enliven my prayer life.
Be not afraid! And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always. Holy Family, pray for us. Amen.