Tuesday, August 01, 2006

St. Ambrose on The Maccabees: Battle Images

Here's an image which ought to inspire at least SOME of you, from St. Ambrose, remarking on the deaths of the Maccabees (venerated as Saints, even though they were martyred for Judaism about 65 years before the birth of Christ):

The words of the holy woman return to our minds, who said to her sons: "I gave birth to you, and poured out my milk for you: do not lose your nobility."

Other mothers are accustomed to pull their children away from martyrdom, not to exort them to martyrdom. But she thought that maternal love consisted in this, in persuading her sons to gain for themselves an eternal life rather than an earthly life. And thus the pius mother watched the torment of her sons …

But her sons were not inferior to such a mother: they urged each other on, speaking with one single desire and, I would say, like an unfurling of their souls in a battleline.

Many of us are acquainted with "campaign flags" commonly flown by individual military units. How many of us have thought of these flags as signposts of martyrdom, or thought of our souls as 'flags'?

HT: Fr. Z

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