December 7: St. Ambrose
Ambrose was born around 340. He was the son of the Roman governor of Gaul. When his father died, his mother took her family back to Rome. She and her daughter, St. Marcellina, brought Ambrose up well. He became an outstanding lawyer. Then he was made governor of Milan and the territory around it. But by a strange event, Ambrose the governor became Ambrose the bishop. In those days the people used to suggest to the pope the name of the one they would like as bishop. To Ambrose's great surprise, the people of Milan chose him. He tried to escape, but it seemed to be God's will. Thus, Ambrose became a priest and then bishop of Milan.
Ambrose became a great model and father to his people. He also resisted all evil with amazing courage. He faced an attacking army and convinced the leader to turn back. Another time, Emperor Theodosius came from the east. He wanted to save Italy from invaders. He urged all his officers to respect the bishop of Milan. Yet when this emperor committed a very serious sin, Ambrose did not hesitate to confront him. He also made Theodosius do public penance. The emperor did not become furious and take revenge. He realized that the saint was right. Very humbly he publicly made penance for his sin. Ambrose had shown the world that no human being, even if he or she is the ruler, is higher than the Church.
People were afraid of what would happen to Italy when Ambrose died. When he became sick, they begged him to pray for a longer life. The saint replied, "I have not behaved myself among you in such a way that I should be ashamed to live longer; nor am I afraid to die, for we have a good Master."
Bishop Ambrose died on Good Friday in the year 397.
Perhaps today we could take time to meditate on the words of Ambrose: "Christ is everything for us."