Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Memorial of Saint Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

“A voice says, ‘Cry out!’ I answer, ‘What shall I cry out?’” Isaiah 40:6

Today is the middle of a "triduum" that I find personally meaningful. Yesterday the Church celebrated the feast of St. Nicholas, the Wonderworker of Myra, a great Saint and bishop who is among few Saints venerated widely by the Orthodox and Catholic faithful alike for his great love for others. Tomorrow we celebrate the Immaculate Conception of Mary, and God’s great blessing which prepared her for the courageous and humble “Yes” that she spoke with her entire life. Today, we celebrate the feast of St. Ambrose of Milan.

St. Ambrose and his relationship to St. Augustine have been important touchstones of my faith. In today’s readings, Isaiah speaks of the one who cries out in the desert; words echoed by John the Baptist in last Sunday’s readings. Advent is always a reminder to of St. John, who preaching always points beyond himself to Jesus, but is also a reminder to us of our call to do likewise. St. Ambrose was this person for St. Augustine. Through Ambrose’s eloquence, God called out to Augustine, the professor of rhetoric. Subtly, the proclamation of the Gospel penetrated this “restless heart,” so that he could at last experience the comfort described at the end of the first reading.

In the Gospel, Jesus proclaims His special concern for the lost sheep. Who are the voices that cry out to us and proclaim to us God’s love? How have we proclaimed that love to others?

In the midst of pain, suffering and loss, as described in the first reading, do we also see the God who comes with power to embrace the lost and lead us with care? In this Advent waiting, “What shall I cry out?”

reflected by Jason Coito

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