Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Sirach 15:5

In the midst of the Church he opened his mouth,
and the Lord filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding and clothed him in a robe of glory.


O God, who made the Bishop Saint Ambrose
a teacher of the Catholic faith
and a model of apostolic courage,
raise up in your Church men after your own heart
to govern her with courage and wisdom.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.


Memorial of Saint Ambrose
Bishop and Doctor of the Church

IS 40:25-31

To whom can you liken me as an equal?
says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high
and see who has created these things:
He leads out their army and numbers them,
calling them all by name.
By his great might and the strength of his power
not one of them is missing!
Why, O Jacob, do you say,
and declare, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?

Do you not know
or have you not heard?
The LORD is the eternal God,
creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint nor grow weary,
and his knowledge is beyond scrutiny.
He gives strength to the fainting;
for the weak he makes vigor abound.
Though young men faint and grow weary,
and youths stagger and fall,
They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength,
they will soar as with eagles’ wings;
They will run and not grow weary,
walk and not grow faint.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 103:1-2, 3-4, 8 AND 10

R. O bless the Lord, my soul!

Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.

R. O bless the Lord, my soul!

He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
he crowns you with kindness and compassion.

R. O bless the Lord, my soul!

Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.

R. O bless the Lord, my soul!


R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Behold, the Lord comes to save his people;
blessed are those prepared to meet him.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

MT 11:28-30

Jesus said to the crowds:

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

December 7

Saint Ambrose (d. 397)

At 33 Ambrose had it all - a successful career as a lawyer, an important position as governor of Milan, the approval and friendship of the emperor, and a large estate.

Then the bishop of Milan died. At this time, about 374, heresies threatened to destroy the Church. The bishop had supported the Arian heresy that argued against the divinity of Christ. Who would take his place - an Arian or a Catholic? Both sides met in the cathedral and a riot broke out.

Public order was Ambrose's responsibility as governor so he hurried to the church and made a passionate speech not in favor of either side, but in favor of peace. He begged the people to make their choice without fighting, using restraint and moderation.

Suddenly, while he was speaking, a voice called out, "Ambrose for bishop!" Soon everyone was shouting, "Ambrose for bishop!"

The other bishops of the province were only too glad to have this controversial decision taken out of their hands. But Ambrose was not about to give up a successful career for the dangerous position of bishop - a life- threatening occupation in these heretical times. So Ambrose ran away. When he appealed to the emperor to overturn the decision on the basis that he hadn't even been baptized yet, the emperor answered that he was happy that he chose governors fit for the episcopal office. Ambrose hid in a senator's house but the senator surrendered Ambrose when he heard about the emperor's decision.

With nowhere else to run, Ambrose gave in. Since he'd been forced to take the position, no one would have been surprised if he'd decided to keep on living the way that he had before ordination. Instead, Ambrose immediately gave his property to the poor and put himself under the instruction of Saint Simplician to learn Scripture and theology.

Ambrose died in 397, at about the age of 57. 
His memorial is celebrated on December 7, the date of his ordination.

O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will proclaim Your Praise!

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 66 (67)

The Lord is the source of all wisdom:
come, let us adore him.

O God, take pity on us and bless us,
and let your face shine upon us,
so that your ways may be known across the world,
and all nations learn of your salvation.

The Lord is the source of all wisdom:
come, let us adore him.

Let the peoples praise you, O God,
let all the peoples praise you.
Let the nations be glad and rejoice,
for you judge the peoples with fairness
and you guide the nations of the earth.

The Lord is the source of all wisdom:
come, let us adore him.

Let the peoples praise you, O God,
let all the peoples praise you.
The earth has produced its harvest:
may God, our God, bless us.
May God bless us,
may the whole world revere him.

The Lord is the source of all wisdom:
come, let us adore him.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

The Lord is the source of all wisdom:
come, let us adore him.


The Advent of our God
With eager prayers we greet
And singing haste up on the road
His glorious gift to meet.
The everlasting Son
Scorns not a Virgin’s womb;
That we from bondage may be won
He bears a bondsman’s doom.
Daughter of Zion, rise
To meet thy lowly King;
Let not thy stubborn heart despise
The peace he deigns to bring.
In clouds of awful light,
As Judge he comes again,
His scattered people to unite,
With them in heaven to reign.
Let evil flee away
Ere that dread hour shall dawn.
Let this old Adam day by day
God’s image still put on.
Praise to the Incarnate Son,
Who comes to set us free,
With God the Father, ever One,
To all eternity.

Psalm 30 (31)
Trustful prayer in time of adversity

Hear me, Lord, and come to rescue me.

In you, Lord, I put my trust: may I never be put to shame.
In your justice, set me free,
Turn your ear to me,
make haste to rescue me.
Be my rampart, my fortification;
keep me safe.
For you are my strength and my refuge:
you will lead me out to the pastures,
for your own name’s sake.
You will lead me out of the trap that they laid for me –
for you are my strength.
Into your hands I commend my spirit:
you have redeemed me, Lord God of truth.
You hate those who run after vain nothings;
but I put my trust in the Lord.
I will rejoice and be glad in your kindness,
for you have looked on me, lowly as I am.
You saw when my soul was in need:
you did not leave me locked in the grip of the enemy,
but set my feet on free and open ground.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Hear me, Lord, and come to rescue me.

Psalm 30 (31)

Lord, let your face shine on your servant.

Take pity on me, Lord, for I am troubled:
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
the very centre of my being is disturbed.
For my life is worn out with distress,
my years with groaning;
my strength becomes weakness,
my bones melt away.
I am a scandal and a disgrace,
so many are my enemies;
to my friends and neighbours,
I am a thing to fear.
When they see me in the street,
they run from me.
I have vanished from their minds as though I were dead,
or like a pot that is broken.
I know this – for I have heard the scolding of the crowd.
There is terror all around,
for when they come together against me
it is my life they are resolved to take.
But I put my trust in you, Lord;
I say: “You are my God,
my fate is in your hands.”
Tear me from the grip of my enemies,
from those who hound me;
let your face shine upon your servant,
in your kindness, save me.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Lord, let your face shine on your servant.

Psalm 30 (31)

Blessed be the Lord,
who has shown me the wonders of his love.

How very many are the pleasures, Lord,
that you have stored up for those who fear you.
You have made these things ready for those who trust in you,
to give them in the sight of all men.
Far away from the plottings of men
you hide them in your secret place.
You keep them safe in your dwelling-place
far from lying tongues.
Blessed be the Lord,
for he has shown me his wonderful kindness
within the fortified city.
In my terror, I said
“I am cut off from your sight”;
but you heard the voice of my prayer
when I called to you.
Love the Lord, all his chosen ones.
The Lord keeps his faithful ones safe,
heaps rich revenge on the arrogant.
Be brave, let your hearts be strong,
all who trust in the Lord.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Blessed be the Lord,
who has shown me the wonders of his love.

Show us your saving mercy, Lord,
– and give us your saving help.

First Reading
Isaiah 24:1-18

See how the Lord lays the earth waste,
makes it a desert, buckles its surface,
scatters its inhabitants,
priest and people alike, master and slave,
mistress and maid, seller and buyer,
lender and borrower, creditor and debtor.
Ravaged, ravaged the earth,
despoiled, despoiled,
as the Lord has said.
The earth is mourning, withering,
the world is pining, withering,
the heavens are pining away with the earth.
The earth is defiled
under its inhabitants’ feet,
for they have transgressed the law, violated the precept,
broken the everlasting covenant.
So a curse consumes the earth
and its inhabitants suffer the penalty,
that is why the inhabitants of the earth are burnt up
and few men are left.
The wine is mourning, the vine is pining away,
all glad hearts are sighing.
The merry tambourines are silent,
the sound of revelling is over,
the merry lyre is silent.
They no longer sing over their wine,
the drunkard finds strong drink revolting.
The city of emptiness is in ruins,
the entrance to every house is shut.
There is lamentation in the streets: no wine,
joy quite gone,
gladness banished from the country.
Nothing but rubble in the city,
the gate smashed to pieces;
and so it will be on earth,
among the peoples,
as at the beating of the olive trees,
as at the gleaning of the grapes
when the grape harvest is over.
They lift up their voices, singing for joy;
they acclaim the majesty of the Lord from the sea.
Therefore in the islands they give glory to the Lord,
in the islands of the sea, to the name of the Lord, the God of Israel.
From remotest earth we hear songs, ‘Honour to the upright one.’
But ‘Enough, enough!’ I say.
‘Woe to the traitors who betray,
to the traitors who treacherously betray!’
Terror, the pit, the snare
for you, inhabitants of the earth:
the man who runs away at the cry of terror
shall fall into the pit,
and the man who climbs out of the pit
shall be caught in the snare.


They lift up their voices,
they sing for joy;
in the east give glory to the Lord.

O sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth;
in the east give glory to the Lord.

Second Reading
A letter of St Ambrose

You win the people over with the grace of your words

You have entered upon the office of bishop. Sitting at the helm of the Church, you pilot the ship against the waves. Take firm hold of the rudder of faith so that the severe storms of this world cannot disturb you. The sea is mighty and vast, but do not be afraid, for as Scripture says: 
he has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters.

The Church of the Lord is built upon the rock of the apostles among so many dangers in the world; it therefore remains unmoved. The Church’s foundation is unshakeable and firm against the assaults of the raging sea. Waves lash at the Church but do not shatter it. Although the elements of this world constantly beat upon the Church with crashing sounds, the Church possesses the safest harbour of salvation for all in distress. Although the Church is tossed about on the sea, it rides easily on rivers, especially those rivers that Scripture speaks of: The rivers have lifted up their voice. These are the rivers flowing from the heart of the man who is given drink by Christ and who receives from the Spirit of God. When these rivers overflow with the grace of the Spirit, they lift up their voice.

There is also a stream which flows down on God’s saints like a torrent. There is also a rushing river giving joy to the heart that is at peace and makes for peace. Whoever has received from the fullness of this river, like John the Evangelist, like Peter and Paul, lifts up his voice. Just as the apostles lifted up their voices and preached the Gospel throughout the world,
so those who drink these waters begin to preach the good news of the Lord Jesus.

Drink, then, from Christ, so that your voice may also be heard. Store up in your mind the water that is Christ, the water that praises the Lord. Store up water from many sources, 
the water that rains down from the clouds of prophecy.

Whoever gathers water from the mountains and leads it to himself or draws it from springs, is himself a source of dew like the clouds. Fill your soul, then, with this water, so that your land may not be dry, but watered by your own springs.

He who reads much and understands much, receives his fill. He who is full, refreshes others. 
So Scripture says:
If the clouds are full, they will pour rain upon the earth.

Therefore, let your words be rivers, clean and limpid, so that in your exhortations you may charm the ears of your people. And by the grace of your words win them over to follow your leadership. Let your sermons be full of understanding. Solomon says: The weapons of the understanding are the lips of the wise; and in another place he says: Let your lips be bound with wisdom. That is, let the meaning of your words shine forth, let understanding blaze out. See that your addresses and expositions do not need to invoke the authority of others, but let your words be their own defence.
Let no word escape your lips in vain or be uttered without depth of meaning.


Proclaim the message and, welcome or unwelcome, insist on it;
refute falsehood, correct error, call to obedience,
but do all with the patience that the work of teaching requires.

Who else can boast such deeds as yours,
who anointed kings for repentance?
But do all with the patience that the work of teaching requires.

Let us pray.

Lord God, you made Saint Ambrose
a teacher of the Catholic faith
and a pattern of apostolic fortitude.
Raise up in the church today
men after your own heart
to lead your people with wisdom and strength.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Let us praise the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.