06 May 2008

Thanks, Ambrose! We Need This!

Just came across a great quote from Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, from "a letter" cited in For All the Saints (vol. III, p. 1257). Such great and needed words for a time when Christ's one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church seems to be so battered and storm-tossed by forces from outside and from within. Obviously, it was written to someone who had become a bishop, but I'm sure it gives comfort and wisdom to the rest of us as well. (BTW, if anyone knows the original source, please let me know!) Here's Ambrose:
You have undertaken to office of bishop, and now, seated at the helm of the Church, you are steering the ship in the teeth of the waves. Hold fast to the rudder of faith, that you may not be shaken by the heavy storms of this world. The sea, indeed, is vast and deep, but do not fear for "He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waves."

Rightly, then, the Church of the Lord amid all the seas of the world stands immovable, built, as it were, upon the apostolic rock. On that solid foundation it endures the force of the raging billows. The waves pour over it, but it is not shaken. Although this world's elements often dash against it only to be thrown back with a mighty roar, still it offers a secure harbor of safety to receive the distressed. It is tossed on the sea, but rides the floods, and perhaps chiefly those floods of which it is said: "The floods have lifted up their voice." For there are rivers which shall flow out of the belly of him who has received to drink from Christ and partakes of the Spirit of God. These rivers, then, when they overflow with spiritual grace, lift up their voice."

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