Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Wisdom from… [15 January]

AMBROSE OF MILAN (339–397)**: Let your heart be watchful

Born of a virgin, Christ came forth from the womb to shed his light over the whole world, so that everything might be illumined by his rays. His light is received by all who long to see the splendor of that everlasting glory which no darkness can ever dim. Here, the sun of our daily experience is succeeded by the darkness of night; but the sun of holiness knows no setting, since wisdom can never give place to evil.

Blessed is the soul at whose door Christ stands and knocks. Our door is faith; if faith is strong enough, the whole house is safe. That is the door by which Christ enters. Let us be alert, then, otherwise the Bridegroom may come and find himself shut out, and so take his departure. But if your heart is watchful, he will knock and ask you to open your door to him.
Commentary on Psalm 18, Sermo 12, 13-15: CSEL 62, 258-259.

[Wow, did I hear someone say 'syngerism'!]

** Bishop of Milan, Ambrose was a noted preacher and writer. He baptized Saint Augustine of Hippo.

ST. AUGUSTINE: Be Like the Deer

Charity makes us support one another in bearing our burdens. When the deer have to cross a river, each one of them carries on its back the head of the one following while it rests its head on the back of the one preceding.

In that way, supporting and helping each other, they are able to cross safely wide rivers, until they reach together the stability of the land.
-- Eighty-three Diverse Questions 71, 1

Prayer. O Lord, my God, pay heed to my prayer. Look with mercy on my desire, which is not concerned with myself alone, but with my neighbor's good as well.
-- Confessions 11, 2


I am not terribly concerned about living out these brief and passing moments, so long as I can live eternally with my God in glory. We have already started out on our trip to eternity, and we have taken the first steps; provided our eternity is a happy one, why worry about the passing moments of trial in this life? These tribulations last three or four days and are to be followed by so much eternal glory and joy! How is it possible that we are not prepared to put up with them? ... Everything that has no bearing on eternity is mere vanity.
(A.S. p. 359)


THERE are vast prospects and splendid songs in the point of view of the typically unsuccessful man; if all the used-up actors and spoilt journalists and broken clerks could give a chorus it would be a wonderful chorus in praise of the world.
Introduction to 'Nicholas Nickleby.'

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