Today the church celebrates the Feast of St. Ambrose of Milan. There are all kinds of reasons to be interested in Ambrose. He wrote some fantastic theology. He baptized St. Augustine of Hippo. Legend says he and Augustine composed the Te Deum at Augustine’s baptism. Oh, and he’s given us a fantastic Advent hymn.
Come, Thou Redeemer of the earth,
And manifest Thy virgin birth:
Let every age adoring fall;
Such birth befits the God of all.
Begotten of no human will,
But of the Spirit, Thou art still
The Word of God in flesh arrayed,
The promised Fruit to man displayed.
The virgin womb that burden gained
With virgin honor all unstained;
The banners there of virtue glow;
God in His temple dwells below.
Forth from His chamber goeth He,
That royal home of purity,
A giant in twofold substance one,
Rejoicing now His course to run.
From God the Father He proceeds,
To God the Father back He speeds;
His course He runs to death and hell,
Returning on God’s throne to dwell.
O equal to the Father, Thou!
Gird on Thy fleshly mantle now;
The weakness of our mortal state
With deathless might invigorate.
Thy cradle here shall glitter bright,
And darkness breathe a newer light,
Where endless faith shall shine serene,
And twilight never intervene.
All laud to God the Father be,
All praise, eternal Son, to Thee;
All glory, as is ever meet,
To God the Holy Paraclete.
Words: Ambrose of Milan, circa 397 (Veni, Redemptor gentium); translated from Latin to English by John M. Neale, 1862. From the Cyber Hymnal.