St. Ambrose of Milan (c. 338-397) ON PRAYER

[This is the ? of a series of posts featuring a saint, mystic, or writer to include some of their thoughts on prayer as well as a prayer written by or ascribed to him or her.  St. Ambrose is perhaps best known for being elected Bishop before he was even baptized and for the conversion and baptism of St. Augustine.]


Let your door stand open to receive God, 
unlock your soul to God, 
offer God 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.

When prayer is poured forth, sins are covered.

Jesus told us to pray urgently and often,
so that our prayers should not be
long and tedious but short, earnest and frequent.
Long elaborate prayers overflow with pointless phrases,
and long gaps between prayers even stretch out into complete neglect.
The apostle [Paul] teaches us to pray anywhere,
while the Savior says Go into your room –
but you must understand that this “room” is not the room
with four walls  that confines your body when you are in it,
but the secret space within you in which
your thoughts are enclosed and where your sensations arrive.
That is your prayer-room, always with you wherever you are,
always secret wherever you are, with your only witness being God.

A Prayer by St. Ambrose of Milan
O Lord my God,
teach my heart this day
where and how to see you,
where and how to find you. 
You have made me and remade me,
and you have bestowed on me
all the good things I possess
and still I do not know you.
I have not yet done that
for which I was made.  
Lord, teach me to seek you, and 
reveal yourself to me when I seek you.
For I cannot seek you unless you first teach me, 
nor find you, unless you first reveal yourself to me.
Let me seek You in longing, and long for You in seeking.
Let me find You in love, and love You in finding.  Amen.

[Late antique mosaic of Saint Ambrose in the church St. Ambrogio in Milan. This might be an actual portrait, made while Ambrose was living. Source: de.wikipedia]


About Paul Wharton

I am a cradle Catholic, a native West Virginian, and a priest since April 24, 1982. Spiritual Direction has made a tremendous difference in my life and I encourage people to try it out. My motto is "Progress not perfection." I am grateful that God has done for me what I could not do for myself.
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One Response to St. Ambrose of Milan (c. 338-397) ON PRAYER

  1. Denise says:

    This is a beautiful meditation on prayer on on point. I love St. Ambrose’s prayer also.

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