Saturday, July 10, 2004

Christian Heritage - July 10 - Drink!

"First drink from the Old Testament, so that you may drink from the New as well. You cannot drink from the second without drinking from the first. Drink from the Old Testament to slake your thirst, and from the New to quench it completely. Compunction is found in the Old Testament; joy in the New.

"Drink Christ because he is the vine; drink Christ because he is the rock that poured out water. Drink Christ because he is the fountain of life; drink Christ because he is the river whose running waters give joy to the city of God, and because he is peace, and because out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. Drink Christ to drink the blood which redeemed you; drink Christ to drink his words: The Old Testament is his word; the New Testament is his word. Holy scripture is drunk and swallowed when the power of the eternal Word penetrates the depths of the mind and the virtue of the soul. In short, we do not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. Drink this word, but according to its own order. Drink it first in the Old Testament; then hasten to drink it also in the New."

Ambrose of Milan (AD 339-397), In Ps. 1, 33: CSEL 64, 28-30

Ambrose had a major influence on Augustine (AD 354-430), perhaps like G.K. Chesterton's influence on C.S. Lewis's conversion, except that Augustine was personally discipled by Ambrose. Ambrose baptized Augustine. Also, he was a major proponent of Christ's real, transformational Presence in the consecrated gifts of the Eucharist.

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