This is the ancient baptistry of Milan Cathedral; here it was that Saint Ambrose baptised Augustine, back in the fourth century. This area, adjacent to today’s Cathedral, was rediscovered when the Metro was being excavated after World War II. Ambrose was a good pastoral bishop, working to reconcile different bodies of Christians and to present the faith as a reasonable life choice in an age of scepticism. We just skipped his feast to accommodate Sister Johanna’s One Good Deed posts, which tied in nicely with Mary’s feast yesterday. Ambrose was great, but not that great!
Ambrose was also a poet, who wrote this evening hymn, still very much used today; this is J.M. Neale’s translation.
Before the ending of the day,
Creator the world, we pray,
that with thy wonted favour thou
wouldst be our guard and keeper now.
From all ill dreams defend our eyes,
from nightly fears and fantasies;
tread under foot our ghostly foe,
that no pollution we may know.
O Father, that we ask be done,
through Jesus Christ thine only Son,
who, with the Holy Ghost and thee,
doth live and reign eternally. Amen.