Ambrose of Milan

 

“Savior of the Nations, Come, Virgin’s son, make here your home!”  Each Advent we sing this hymn penned by Ambrose over 1,600 years ago.

Born in Trier in 340, Ambrose was serving as a civil governor seeking to bring peace among the quarreling Christians in Milan, Italy.  In 374, when a new bishop was to be elected, he spoke to the crowd.  A child cried out, “Ambrose, bishop.”  Support spread through the crowd.  Though he was still a catechumen, he was baptized on December 7 and consecrated bishop of Milan, at age 34.

He gave his possessions to the poor saying, “The world belongs to everyone, not just to the rich.”  He convinced emperors Gratian and Theodosius to oppose and forbid Arianism in the West.  He extracted a confession from Theodosius after he massacred 700 Thessalonians.   His preaching drew a confused young man named Augustine to hear him.  Augustine, after years of searching, soon came to faith in Christ.

Ambrose, pastor, defender of the faith and musician, died on Good Friday, April 4, 397.

Preaching on Jesus words, “When you pray, enter your room, close the door and pray to your Father,”  Ambrose counseled, “Let your prayer then rise not just from your lips…enter the depths of your heart, go right into it.”  “You always have a secret room.  Your room is your Spirit.  Even if you are in the midst of a crowd, you have within you your closed and secret room.”

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