Wednesday, December 07, 2011

On the Feast of St. Ambrose: Recollections (and Revivals) of Things Ambrosian

Today being the feast of St. Ambrose, that great father of the church in Milan, I thought it might be fitting to briefly quote from the biographical section related to him from Blessed Cardinal Schuster's The Sacramentary -- Schuster being himself a former Cardinal Archbishop of that venerable See and successor of St. Ambrose.

But before I do, a few personal words. I have the very fond memory of having visited Milan three years ago, and while there I was privileged to be able to visit many venerable sites associated with St. Ambrose. Of course, most moving was to see and be close to the relics of the venerable saint, which lay in a crypt beneath the high altar of the Basilica of St. Ambrose.

Since that time, I not only gained in my own personal devotion to and appreciation of the figure of St. Ambrose, my admiration for the great Ambrosian liturgical tradition was also increased exponentially. Accordingly, on this day of all days, my mind turns once again to the hopes of many that the venerable, ancient Ambrosian liturgy may once again be freely fostered and flourish. Indeed, while in Milan I also had the great privilege to worship within that great liturgical tradition. It is worthy of both preservation and encouragement.

Please join me today in offering up this prayer, asking the intercession of St. Ambrose for this intention.

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Ambrose Uranius Aurelius was born probably at Treves, of an ancient and illustrious Roman family, which had already given to the Church the martyr St. Soter, and which was to enrich the martyrology with two more names besides that of the holy Doctor of whom we are speaking, those of Satyrus and Marcellina, his own brother and sister. St. Ambrose died at Milan on Easter Eve, April 4, 397. As, however, that day always recurs in Lent, or in Paschal week, when in accordance with the ancient liturgy all feasts in honour of the saints are excluded, his festival is kept today, which is the anniversary of his ordination as bishop.

This substitution dates at Rome from the eleventh century at least, and is founded on the very ancient liturgical custom of solemnly celebrating the natale ordinationis of bishops and priests.
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