Saint Ambrose – Building on Rock
Malvern Minute


December 7, 2017 Thursday of the First Week of Advent

Saint Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (

Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (7:21, 24-27)

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
will enter the Kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house. 
But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. 
And everyone who listens to these words of mine
but does not act on them
will be like a fool who built his house on sand.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house. 
And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”

Reflect: Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. It doesn’t take much for us to understand the importance of building on rock, a solid foundation. Even if we were going to build by the sea, we’d need to find solid ground and construct a firm foundation. If we’re going to invest in property, we want to be sure that it isn’t going to collapse as soon as the winds and storms come along; we don’t want to be the fool. During this time of Advent, our God reminds us of the importance of attaching ourselves to the foundation of his words. Jesus is the Word made Flesh. It is his incarnation, his birth that we await. At the same time, the world around us can feel like heavy rains, floods, and winds that buffet our house, our lives. The only way we can manage to survive that force is to be deeply rooted in words and ways of Jesus. The only way to push back at that force is to act on his words as disciples in the world today. The world desperately needs witnesses to the Truth, the Way, and the Life. Our God is calling upon us to remain firm and to dare to show the world through our own words, actions, and choices what is really important. We can only accomplish that well if we are imbedded in the life giving words of Jesus; we can’t do it alone. May he be the Rock upon which we build and sustain our lives!

Questions: Do I sometimes feel like a house buffeted by winds, rain and floods? Do I trust that Jesus is there as my foundation to hold me up and sustain me? If I feel as if I’m beginning to collapse, how might Jesus be offering me his strength to refurbish my life and to reinforce the foundation upon which I have built?

Pray: Loving God, fill me with your Holy Spirit. Raise me up as a person after your own heart so that I might desire nothing more than to make you my foundation, and to build upon you in everything I do. I pray this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.                                                                                 

Saint Ambrose: Pray for us!

Ambrose was already a lawyer and administrator when he came to the Church. While a catechumen, he was chosen by popular acclaim as Bishop of Milan and consecrated on December 7, 374. He won the hearts of his people by his direct, compassionate, pastoral style that made him a compelling preacher. He was a great defender of the Faith against Arianism. He skillfully deflected attempts by the Arian empress Justina to take over two of his churches. He declared, “If you demand my person, I am ready to submit: carry me to prison or to death, I will not resist; but I will never betray the Church of Christ.” Ambrose died on Holy Saturday in 397. Together with Jerome, Augustine and Gregory, he is heralded as one of the four great Doctors of the Latin Church.


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