Thursday, December 13, 2007

Saint Ambrose (c.340-397), Bishop of Milan and Doctor of the Church
On Repentance, 1, 1 (SC 179)

Go out to others in the same way as the Lord draws near to us

Moderation is surely the most beautiful of virtues… It is to this alone that the Church, bought at the price of the Lord’s blood, owes its expansion. It mirrors the heavenly gift of universal redemption… From this it follows that whoever would apply themselves to correcting the faults of their human weakness must bear with and, in some sense, carry this weakness on their own shoulders, not rejecting it. For we read that the shepherd in the Gospel carried the exhausted sheep, not that he abandoned it (Lk 15,5)… Indeed, moderation ought to temper justice. Otherwise, how could someone towards whom you show distaste – someone who might think himself to be an object of contempt towards his doctor rather than compassion – how could such a one come to you to be healed?

That is why the Lord Jesus gave proof of his compassion towards us. What he wanted was to call us to himself and not send us flying in fear. Gentleness is the sign of his coming; his coming is marked by humility. Moreover, he has told us: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” So then, our Lord Jesus brings comfort; he does not exclude or reject. And it is with good reason that he chose as his disciples men who, as faithful interpreters of the Lord’s will, would gather together the People of God rather than turn them away.

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