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Agnes Virgin & Martyr-St. Ambrose

St. Agnes, Virgin & Martyr

 

St. Ambrose of Milan, bishop

Early Church Father & Doctor of the Church

 

 

Saint Agnes was a young girl of only 12 years of age who was martyred in Rome during the latter half of the third century or at the beginning of the fourth century, during the fierce persecution of Diocletian.  Pope Damasus honored her tomb, decorating it with sacred poetry.  Many of the Fathers of the Church, following St. Ambrose, have written of her with great devotion.  This excerpt from a treatise On Virgins by Saint Ambrose (Lib 1, cap. 2.5 7-9: PL 16 [edit. 1845], 189-191) is used in the Roman Office of Readings for the liturgical memorial of Saint Agnes on January 21.  St. Agnes, whose name in Latin means "lamb," is often depicted in sacred art with the animal that bears her name and which symbolizes all disciples who follow the Shepherd's voice.

 

St. Agnes Virgin and Martyryr, St. Ambrose Early Church Father, Doctor of the ChurchToday is the birthday of a virgin; let us imitate her purity. It is the birthday of a martyr; let us offer ourselves in sacrifice. It is the birthday of Saint Agnes, who is said to have suffered martyrdom at the age of twelve. The cruelty that did not spare her youth shows all the more clearly the power of faith in finding one so young to bear it witness.


There was little or no room in that small body for a wound. Though she could scarcely receive the blow, she could rise superior to it. Girls of her age cannot bear even their parents’ frowns and, pricked by a needle, weep as for a serious wound. Yet she shows no fear of the blood-stained hands of her executioners. She stands undaunted by heavy, clanking chains. She offers her whole body to be put to the sword by fierce soldiers. She is too young to know of death, yet is ready to face it. Dragged against her will to the altars, she stretches out her hands to the Lord in the midst of the flames, making the triumphant sign of Christ the victor on the altars of sacrilege. She puts her neck and hands in iron chains, but no chain can hold fast her tiny limbs.


A new kind of martyrdom! Too young to be punished, yet old enough for a martyr’s crown; unfitted for the contest, yet effortless in victory, she shows herself a master in valour despite the handicap of youth. As a bride she would not be hastening to join her husband with the same joy she shows as a virgin on her way to punishment, crowned not with flowers but with holiness of life, adorned not with braided hair but with Christ himself.


In the midst of tears, she sheds no tears herself. The crowds marvel at her recklessness in throwing away her life untasted, as if she had already lived life to the full. All are amazed that one not yet of legal age can give her testimony to God. So she succeeds in convincing others of her testimony about God, though her testimony in human affairs could not yet be accepted. What is beyond the power of nature, they argue, must come from its creator.


What menaces there were from the executioner, to frighten her; what promises made, to win her over; what influential people desired her in marriage! She answered: “To hope that any other will please me does wrong to my Spouse. I will be his who first chose me for himself. Executioner, why do you delay? If eyes that I do not want can desire this body, then let it perish”. She stood still, she prayed, she offered her neck.


You could see fear in the eyes of the executioner, as if he were the one condemned; his right hand trembled, his face grew pale as he saw the girl’s peril, while she had no fear for herself. One victim, but a twin martyrdom, to modesty and to religion; Agnes preserved her virginity, and gained a martyr’s crown.

 

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 The Virtues: Seven Habits of Champions- DVD

The Virtues: Seven Habits of Champions- DVD
Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio offers a spirited 8-part meditation on the four moral virtues - fortitude, prudence, justice and temperance - as well as the three theological virtues of faith, hope and charity. This program lays out how God's inspiration for Christian living is accessible to everyone and demonstrated for us through the lives of the saints.

 

The Catholic Church on Sex, Marriage and Divorce - 2 CD Set

by Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio

 

Marriage, Sex, Divorce in the Catholic Church, Annulements, divorce, Marriage, Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Annulemnt, CatholicIn these two talks, Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Catholic theologian and father of five, explains why the Catholic Church is a champion, not enemy, of love and intimacy.  In the first talk, Dr. D'Ambrosio shows how sexual love is most fulfilling when a relationship goes forward in accord with God's plan and why pre-marital sex, homosexual relationships, and even contraception within a marriage are at odds with this plan.  The second talk clarifies what authentic Christian marriage really is.  Exposing the widespread misunderstandings of Catholic teaching on divorce and remarriage, this talk also explains what annulment means and why it is not just a hypocritical attempt to get around Jesus's words on the indissolubility of marriage.

Talk 1: Love, Sex and the Catholic Church

Talk 2: Marriage and Divorce: the Catholic Perspective

 

2 CD Set - $18.00                                2 Audio Tape Set - $18.00

 

 


The Fathers of the Church - Who They Are and Why They MatterFathers of the Church Early Church Fathers CD by Marcellino D'Ambrosio

In a single, upbeat talk, full of examples and fascinating stories about St. Ambrose and other intriguing personalities, Marcellino D'Ambrosio explains who people are talking about when they refer to the "Fathers of the Church" or "Early Church Fathers.  Though the ranks of the fathers include a tremendous variety of cultures, locales, and personalities, there is surprising consensus that emerges from them on a variety of the most pressing questions of our day.  In this dynamic talk, Marcellino makes clear just how much these figures have to teach us. 


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