Saints and Saintly Dominicans – 4 April

detail of a painting of Saint Ambrose of Milan; date and artist unknown; Vatican Museum, Vatican City, Rome, Italy; swiped with permission from the flickr account of Father Lawrence Lew, OPSaint Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor

Saint Ambrose was prefect of Milan when the people by a divine inspiration appointed him bishop. In the midst of a most difficult political situation he maintained the rights of the Church and of the Truth without discouragement and without respect of persons, especially against the Arian heresy. He condemned Theodosius to do public penance for the massacre of Thessalonica, but he excused himself by quoting the example of David. “You have copied him in his sin,” Ambrose firmly replied, “copy him also in his penitence.” This prince afterwards said to him: “I understand now what a distance there is between an emperor and a bishop.” Saint Ambrose had a great compassion for souls and wept with his penitents when they acknowledged their faults, so that they were obliged to weep with him Persons of all classes had free access to his house and even without speaking to him, the mere sight of him, humble, devout, recollected, wrapt in study or meditation as they always found him, left them penetrated with a sense of the divine presence. It was this sight which disposed Saint Augustine for conversion. Saint Ambrose, when dying, stretched out his hands in the form of a cross the more nearly to resemble his Master. After his death five bishops could hardly do all he had done alone for the catechumens. His writings are still admired in the Church, especially his work on virginity. His sister, Marcellina, has been numbered among the virgin saints and Saint Paulinus of Nola was a disciple of his. (397)

Prayer

“O Christ, Thou hope of the human race, guide with Thy right hand our frail barque that we perish not” (Saint Augustine).

Practice

Accept humbly the advice and correction given you in confession and often think of it during the week.