St Ambrose of Milan

Come to Me, Eternal King

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MAKER of all, eternal King,

who day and night about dost bring:

who weary mortals to relieve,

dost in their times the seasons give:

Now the shrill cock proclaims the day,

and calls the sun’s awakening ray,

the wandering pilgrim’ guiding light,

that marks the watches night by night.

Roused at the note, the morning star

heaven’s dusky veil uplifts afar:

night’s vagrant bands no longer roam,

but from their dark ways hie them home.

The encouraged sailor’s fears are o’er,

the foaming billows rage no more:

Lo! e’en the very Church’s Rock

melts at the crowing of the cock.

O let us then like men arise;

the cock rebukes our slumbering eyes,

bestirs who still in sleep would lie,

and shames who would their Lord deny.

New hope his clarion note awakes,

sickness the feeble frame forsakes,

the robber sheathes his lawless sword,

faith to fallen is restored.

Look in us, Jesu, when we fall,

and with Thy look our souls recall:

if Thou but look, our sins are gone,

and with due tears our pardon won.

Shed through our hearts Thy piercing ray,

our soul’s dull slumber drive away:

Thy Name be first on every tongue,

to Thee our earliest praises sung.

All laud to God the Father be;

all praise, Eternal Son, to Thee;

all glory, as is ever meet,

to God the Holy Paraclete. Amen.   St Ambrose of Milan

          Today is the feast of St Ambrose of Milan to whom the prayer/hymn above is attributed and to whom I owe so much. He first came into my heart 2 years ago, with the hymn, Maker of All, Eternal King, at a time when I could barely see or feel my way around life due to exhaustion. He came, cupped my face and lifted my eyes towards heaven. And there, I found the hope that was missing from my days.

          Today, I sought him once more, in the relentlessly drying gullies of my life. While my work has become manageable, my studies have formed a storm of shouts. What was once so interesting and life-giving has become very stressful in recent weeks due to a course I have to take where I am not being given sufficient support by the distracted and rather disorganised lecturer. From not knowing anything, I am forced to practically tutor myself through the course in order to complete assignments. It’s the last thing I wanted, this being Advent especially. I am mourning the days which are too passing quickly, taking with them all the quiet time which Advent brings to me each year. No matter how hard I try, I can do little to hold my hand out and slow the passing of time.

          Into this disquiet I have come, yet in a strange way, I am holding Jesus’ Hand even more tightly. More than ever, I feel I am truly walking on water, somehow making it from hour to hour, despite the churn of waters below me.

          Still, I would exchange it all in a heartbeat for the stillness which would allow me to rest my head against Jesus’ Heart.

I can hardly express my joy at seeing the increase of devotion to the Sacred Heart of my Saviour. I seem to live for that alone. Sometimes such an ardent desire to make It reign in all hearts is kindled within me that there is nothing I would not do and suffer to bring this about.   ~  St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

          So, even this is willed, I realise, and it resigns me to these severe days. This is why I have to endure what I am enduring, this is where it all goes, into the Heart of my Eternal King.

          As the day rises and sets once more, I turn my eyes toward heaven,

Maker of all, Eternal King,

To Thee my work and life I give;

All is Yours, Eternal King, all is Yours

Come and rest in me.

Unlock the Door

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Let your door stand open to receive Him, unlock your soul to Him, offer Him a welcome in your mind, and then you will see the riches of simplicity, the treasures of peace, the joy of grace. Throw wide the gate of your heart, stand before the sun of the everlasting Light that shines on every manIt is the soul that has its door, its gates. Christ comes to this door and knocks; He knocks at these gates. Open to Him; He wants to enter, to find His bride waiting and watching.   ~  St. Ambrose of Milan, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, from An Exposition of Psalm 118

          To welcome the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ today, I thought of doing my usual 3-day Novena. But time slipped past and although I wasn’t as rushed and as frazzled as I usually am, I didn’t go searching for my prayers either.

          Instead, the recent days found me going back to a time in our past. To a long gone Sunday, another Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. Worn and tired from caring for the kids and from endless troubles on the home front, we had left home late for Sunday Mass. We arrived at church more than 30 minutes late for Mass to find a crowd outside the front doors, themselves unable to get a seat inside. With babies and a toddler in tow, all the sort that just cannot be still even for a moment, we didn’t relish standing outside with the others, offering a comic sideshow for everyone as we dealt with fat, squirming little ones.

          Plus, one of our children wasn’t too well.

          We decided Mass wasn’t for us that day. And we drove on.

          3 days later, we had embarked on the most searing journey of grief.

           This year, as the days made their way to this same feast, I laid down my heart at the feet of my Jesus and asked His forgiveness for what we did that day 14 years ago. Over and over, as often as the winds sang their hymns through the trees, I told God I was so sorry.

          Yesterday, as I was in the midst of revisiting that old day, Someone interrupted me, cheerily ringing the windchimes just above my seat. As I peered up, I spied a lone tree in the distance shake its arms at me. Puzzled that there didn’t seem to be a wind about, nor a bird or squirrel on busy business in the tree, I scanned the skies and trees for an answer.

          Then, I sensed happy mischief. And by that, I knew God was placing His hand upon my heart.

          Still, I didn’t want to go this great feast day without a prayer of welcome. So, late last night, I went looking. I had barely begun when St. Ambrose of Milan stepped out from behind his door. I have grown to love him with all my heart for all the times he has hastened to my side, bringing me the sun of God’s sacred light, lifting my heart to hope when I felt I couldn’t go on anymore.

          Last night again, he gave me his words for my Corpus Christi and reading them, I felt my heart get caught up in an upward, lifting spiral of happiness.

Let your door stand open to receive Him,

unlock your soul to Him,

offer Him a welcome in your mind,

and then you will see

the riches of simplicity, the treasures of peace, the joy of grace.

Throw wide the gate of your heart,

stand before the sun of the everlasting Light that shines on every man.

          A rainbow forms when Light shines through tears. When I saw that rainbow, I knew God’s light had fallen upon my heart.