German-born Italian Bishop of Milan
Saint Ambrose, born Aurelius Ambrosius
German-born Italian Bishop of Milan
Therefore, let your words be rivers, clean and limpid, so that you may charm the ears of people. And by the grace of your words win them over to follow your leadership. Solomon says: ?The weapons of the understanding are the lips of the wise?; and in another place he says: ?Let your lips be bound with wisdom.? That is, let the meaning of your words shine forth, let understanding blaze out. Let no word escape your lips in vain or be uttered without depth of meaning.
To avoid dissensions we should be ever on our guard, more especially with those who drive us to argue with them, with those who vex and irritate us, and who say things likely to excite us to anger. When we find ourselves in company with quarrelsome, eccentric individuals, people who openly and unblushingly say the most shocking things, difficult to put up with, we should take refuge in silence, and the wisest plan is not to reply to people whose behavior is so preposterous. Those who insult us and treat us contumeliously are anxious for a spiteful and sarcastic reply: the silence we then affect disheartens them, and they cannot avoid showing their vexation; they do all they can to provoke us and to elicit a reply, but the best way to baffle them is to say nothing, refuse to argue with them, and to leave them to chew the cud of their hasty anger. This method of bringing down their pride disarms them, and shows them plainly that we slight and despise them.
We have to be sorrowful for the world, as well as joyful in the Lord, sorrowful in penance, joyful in gratitude.
When I am at Rome I fast as the Romans do; when I am at Milan I do not fast. So likewise you, whatever church you come to, observe the custom of the place, if you would neither give offence to others, nor take offence from them.
When you are at Rome live in the Roman style; when you are elsewhere live as they live elsewhere.
Where a man's heart is, there is his treasure also.
Woman, the child of so many tears shall never perish.
You are not making a gift of your possessions to the poor person. You are handing over to him what is his. For what has been given in common for the use of all, you have arrogated to yourself. he world is given to all, and not only to the rich.
Take away the contests of the martyrs, and you have taken away their crowns.
The best way to use the gold of the Redeemer is for the redemption of those in peril.
The emperor is in the Church, not above the Church.
The practice of perfect virtue does not require teaching, but instructs others.
The rich man who gives to the poor does not bestow alms but pays a debt.
There is a stream which flows down on God?s saints like a torrent. There is also a rushing river giving joy to the heart that is at peace and makes for peace.
There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.
If you have two shirts in your closet, one belongs to you and the other to the man with no shirt.
Nothing graces the Christian soul so much as mercy; mercy as shown chiefly towards the poor, that thou mayest treat them as sharers in common with thee in the produce of nature, which brings forth the fruits of the earth for use to all.
It is a better thing to save souls for the Lord than to save treasures. He who sent forth his apostles without gold had not need of gold to form his Church. The Church possesses gold, not to hoard, but to scatter abroad and come to the aid of the unfortunate.
O most merciful Father, put far from me all my iniquities and all my offences; so that, by Thee made whole in body and in soul, I may be accounted worthy to approach the Holy of holies.
It is idle to play the lyre for an ass.
One of the duties of fortitude is to keep the weak from receiving injury; another, to check the wrong motions of our own souls; a third, both to disregard humiliations, and to do what is right with an even mind. All these clearly ought to be fulfilled by all Christians, and especially by the clergy.
It is ingrained in all living creatures, first of all, to preserve their own safety, to guard against what is harmful, to strive for what is advantageous.
Our own evil inclinations are far more dangerous than any external enemies.
It is not enough just to wish well; we must also do well.
Perhaps you say, Why are the wicked joyous? Why do they live in luxury? Why do they not toil with me? It is because they who have not put down their names to strive for the crown are not bound to undergo the labors of the contest. They who have not gone down into the race-course do not anoint themselves with oil nor get covered with dust. For those whom glory awaits trouble is at hand. The perfumed spectators are wont to look on, not to join in the struggle, nor to endure the sun, the heat, the dust, and the showers.