St. Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor

December 7, 2022

St. Ambrose was a 4th century bishop. He is one of the Doctors of the Church. He was born in Milan, Italy in the year 339AD. He was known for his humility. He was instrumental in the conversion of St. Augustine and was the one who baptized him.

It is said that in his infancy, a swarm of bees landed on his face and left a drop of honey on his tongue. This was seen as a prophecy that he would be a gifted speaker.

Ambrose was raised in a Christian household and was well educated. He knew the law and started a career in politics.

St. Ambrose was not even a baptized Christian yet when he was selected to lead the Church in Milan in the year 374AD. When a dispute broke out about who should be bishop, the people started shouting his name. At first he refused, and even tried to run away, but eventually he agreed. He was baptized, ordained, and consecrated as bishop.

He refuted Arianism, which proposed that Jesus Christ was not co-eternal with God the Father, and therefore was subject to the Father.

He was known for his generosity to the poor.

He is also credited with antiphonal chant, in which one side of a congregation chants one part of a song or psalm, and then the other side responds. This is sometimes done in Liturgy of the Hours, where the psalms are chanted or recited in this manner.

Patron Saint of …

St. Ambrose is the patron saint of bee keepers, bishops, domestic animals, police, and students.

Mass Readings for the Memorial of Saint Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

  • First ReadingEphesians 3:8-12: “To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for all what is the plan of the mystery hidden from ages past in God who created all things, so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the Church to the principalities and authorities in the heavens.”
  • Responsorial PsalmPsalm 89: “For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.”
  • GospelJohn 10:11-16: “I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep.”

Quotes

If you have two shirts in your closet, one belongs to you and the other to the man with no shirt.

St. Ambrose

When in Rome, live as the Romans do; when elsewhere, live as they live elsewhere.

St. Ambrose

This quote from St. Ambrose probably referred to observing local religious practices, such as fasting.

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