Advent Meditations: Thursday 7 December

Dec 7, 2017 by

Dec 7
am: 18:1-20
pm: 125.62

Amos 5:1-17
Jude 1-16 Matt 22:1-14

THURSDAY OF ADVENT I – Saint Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, 397

ON THE CHURCH CALENDAR:        Born of a family of politicians, Ambrose followed the family business. In due course he was sent to facilitate the election of the episcopal see of Milan when it became vacant in 374. Noticing his gifts, the people demanded that Saint Ambrose be made their bishop.  The neighboring bishops and the Emperor convinced him to accept this call as the will of God, and so the catechumen Ambrose was baptized and ordained first deacon, then priest, then bishop, all in a single week! Ambrose once a politician now turned churchman was profoundly aware of his lack of preparation for this great responsibility and so set himself immediately to prayer and the study of Scripture.

MEDITATIONToday and tomorrow the Office Readings are taken from the Book of Jude. While brief it can offer richness, if we but take the time to ponder and not just read it quickly. He describes himself as “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James.” He deliberately focuses on his spiritual relationship with Jesus, rather than the possible familial connection. That is not how we approach relationships necessarily but perhaps for Jude he knew the essence of life was in the spiritual relationship which is ultimately of eternal significance.

He claims that eternal promise by phrasing what has now become almost a battle cry for Anglican orthodoxy, that is “the faith once for all delivered to the saints” While Jude does not define it, he does point out however, that the faith had been “once for all delivered to the saints was not given to a privileged class of church leaders; it was given to “the saints,” that is, to all the faithful.  This faith” does not change and develop over the centuries; it is given “once for all and so the relationships that are based in this reality are the ones that will last in this life and the next!  A difficult but important question is simply this: Are all our relationships based in the faith once delivered?

PRAYER:  O God, who raised up Ambrose a teacher and defender of the catholic faith and a model of apostolic courage, raise up in your Church, servants after your own heart to govern and lead with courage and wisdom. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. AMEN

Activity/Spiritual Discipline Spend some time on two essential skills of the Christian life. Listening and Speaking. Spend the morning seeking to apply the gift of holy listening skills as did St. Ambrose.  In the afternoon, have a conversation with a person whom you have truly heard. Spend some time-sharing reflections that demonstrate a Christian response and then in the evening spend some quiet with the Lord specifically praying for that person

ANCIENT WORDS/PRESENT GRACE: “It is a very great incentive to mercy to share in others’ misfortunes, to help the needs of others as far as our means allow” St Ambrose (Chapter XXVIII, Duties of the Clergy)

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