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Divine Office Reflections | Memorial of St. Ambrose

*While today is the obligatory memorial of St. Ambrose of Milan, the following reflection is taken from the prayers of the Office for Monday in the second week of Advent.

In the Office of Readings for Monday in the second week of Advent, St. John of the Cross says, “By giving us, as he did, his Son, his only Word, [God] has in that one Word said everything… Although he had spoken but partially through the prophets he has now said everything in Christ. He has given us everything, his own Son.”

In Jesus Christ, God has given us everything. This is what makes Christmas so significant. The Lord Jesus born of the Virgin Mary in the manger at Bethlehem is Himself the fullness God’s revelation. He reveals the heart of God whose desire it is to “free us from our sins and make us whole” (Concluding Prayer). As the prophet Isaiah foretold, it is on that day that “the burden shall be taken from your shoulder, and the yoke shattered from your neck” (Reading, Midday Prayer). In taking our burdens and shattering the yoke of sin, He has set us free to live for the praise of God’s glory and worship Him in spirit and truth, professing that He is indeed our everything.

In the end, this is why “Many nations will come and say: Let us to up to the mountain of the Lord, to the home of the God of Jacob” (Responsory, Office of Readings). It is because the God of Israel has come in the flesh to make of Jew and Gentile one new humanity, “to bring all things into one in him, in the heavens and on earth” (New Testament Canticle, Evening Prayer).

In recognition of these sublime truths, what then must be done? We must answer the Lord who proclaims: “Repent, the kingdom of God is upon you” (Antiphon, Canticle of Zechariah). It is true, “your King comes, the master of the earth; he will shatter the yoke of our slavery” (Antiphon, Canticle of Mary). But we must yield to His scepter as He comes to rule our hearts. He will not force His reign on us. We must prepare the way and grant Him entry. This is what Advent is for, to prepare Him room in the depths of our hearts so that He may truly be our everything.

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