Advent Journal: Day 5

ambrose-by-stom

The Lord is God, and he has given us light.          –Psalm 118

I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I will lay down my life for the sheep.           –The Gospel of John 10:11-16

You have entered upon the office of bishop. Sitting at the helm of the Church, you pilot the ship against the waves. Take firm hold of the rudder of faith so that the severe storms of this world cannot disturb you. The sea is mighty and vast, but do not be afraid, for as Scripture says: he has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters.            —From a Letter by St. Ambrose, Bishop & Doctor

Living in Christ–what does that mean?  I have given  up desires of the flesh to live only for Him?  No, by no means.  I have intended it, but have been capable of no such thing.  Even divine, supernatural faith, the only true faith of Jesus Christ, does not work automatically; it is not magic.  He has revealed to us the mysteries “hidden from the foundation of the world,” and revealed who He is through the Incarnation of his son.  By his grace, we have this knowledge.  But we are not yet able to act on it–we are not yet able to put away the things of the flesh, and live only for Him.  What a terrible ordeal!  To know the destination at the end of your journey but not how to proceed there; to have an anticipation of your goal, yet be frustrated in the accomplishment of it–without relent.  Still, the Lord has given us light; He is that light.  And he not only gives us the means, but He is our end as well. Christ walked upon the earth two millennia ago, and his name is still on our lips.  It could have happened any other way that nature makes it possible, but God ordained our salvation to happen this way, through Jesus of Nazareth.  It is a great consolation to know this with certainty, when our faith is as yet so far from being perfected.  Even though we stumble, we have an image of what are to become like–to become like Him. It is a compensation for our lack of will, our lack of power, to perform what he asks.  For it must be his power that accomplishes it in us; he knows us, that we would abandon Him, if we were strong.  Because we are his, he allows us to be weak, so that we might know him by the light he gives us.  He was born of a woman, grew into a boy, became a man, preached the Good News, was killed.  But death could not hold him, no, for he was God Almighty become man, and our nature he took unto his divine nature, and raised it up above the waters where he is enthroned forever.  A good shepherd gives light to his flock, as did the holy St. Ambrose, in word and deed; and if we are a good flock, we will likewise receive, and give that same light to others.  May these days of Advent, when we look for your coming, O Lord, to receive anew that light you have gifted to us, the light of your only begotten Son, the light of lights, Jesus Christ the Savior.  May he reign from everlasting to everlasting in our hearts, together with the Father, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

~ by Alypius on December 7, 2017.

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