From the treatise "On the Mysteries" by St Ambrose, bishop
|The many prefigurations of baptism in Scripture|
Listen to the Apostle’s teaching: For all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. Moreover, Moses himself sings in triumph You sent your Spirit and the sea covered them. As you see, holy baptism was prefigured even then at the crossing of the sea, where the Egyptians perished but the Hebrews escaped. What else, after all, are we daily taught about baptism? That with the immersion in water, guilt is swallowed up and error done away with, but that virtue and innocence remain unharmed?
You hear that our fathers were under the cloud, a kindly cloud which cooled the heat of carnal passions. That kindly cloud overshadows those whom the Holy Spirit visits. Finally it came upon the Virgin Mary, and the Power of the Most High overshadowed her, when she conceived Redemption for the race of men. The miracle worked by Moses was a prefiguration of this miracle. But then – if the Spirit was in the figure, how can he not be present in the reality? As Scripture says, The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
Marah was a spring of unendurable bitter water: Moses threw wood into it and it became sweet. For you see: water without the preaching of the Cross of the Lord is of no use for future salvation, but, after it has been consecrated by the mystery of the wood of the saving Cross, it is made suitable for the use of the spiritual cleansing and of the cup of salvation. So as Moses (that is, the prophet) threw wood into that fountain, so the priest utters over this font the proclamation of the Lord’s cross, and the water is made sweet for the purpose of grace.
You must not trust, then, wholly to your bodily eyes. What is not seen is in reality seen more clearly; for what we see with our eyes is temporal whereas what is eternal (and invisible to the eye) is discerned by the mind and spirit.
There is a final lesson to be learned from the book of the Kings which we have just been reading. Naaman was a Syrian, and suffered from leprosy, and there was no-one who could cleanse him. Then a maiden from among the captives said that there was a prophet in Israel, who could cleanse him from the defilement of the leprosy. And it is said that, having taken silver and gold, Naaman went to the king of Israel. And the king, when he heard why Naaman had come, tore his garments, saying that this was an attempt to put him in the wrong, since healing leprosy was not in the power of kings. Elisha, however sent word to the king that he should send the Syrian to him, so that he might know there was a God in Israel. And when he had come, he told him to dip himself seven times in the river Jordan.
Naaman doubted until the time when he was cleansed; but you are cleansed by now, and so you should not have doubts.
Tuesday, June 28……It is 12:45 in the morning and the lightning is flashing, the thunder is thundering, the wind is blowing and the rain is pouring down. This is pretty early for the rains and perhaps it is just a warning of what will be happening over the next three months. The mosquitoes are here already but soon there will be hordes of them after the rain forms puddles everywhere. They breed in discarded bottles, broken pots and in old sardine cans that folks often just toss into the bush; in potholes in the dirt roads or even in the holes in the cement blocks used in construction and anywhere else where water collects and there is no drainage.
ANOTHER MALARIA VICTIM...FELL RIGHT ON THE WALK WAY
BUT...I believe it is also a warning for me to swallow my pride and let you know that we are seriously needing your help in order to procure the medicine so necessary for the cure of Malaria .Just last Thursday we treated 6 patients with malaria and this; even before the rains began.
In Africa, over a million people die each year because malaria is a killer. When folks having malaria come to Nazareth hermitage and we have the curative medicine, the malaria attack will be over during the 3 day dosage period. Usually after the day 1 the patient will feel much better but malaria parasites remain in the body until the last dosage is taken on day 3. I can certainly attest to this as I nearly died from malaria last year which put me into the hospital for a week.
People were so generous when I went to the U.S. for a 3 week retreat and during the remaining time, because of your kindness, I was able to purchase medicines
and supplies which are not available here. For this reason I felt ashamed to ask for your kind help again but I must as the sick poor need our help…instructions follow below:
1. People make checks payable to "Monastery of Christ in the Desert"
2. Memo must read: Nazareth Hermitage - sick poor or Nazareth Hermitage
Gambia sick poor
3. Address envelope to: Monastery of Christ in the Desert,
St. Paul's Hermitage
P.O. Box 270
Abiquiu NM 87510
4. My name should not appear anywhere on the check.
Thus the Monastery receives the donation and will send you an acknowledgement for tax purposes (should you need it) and then the check will be taken over to to St. Paul's hermitage and your donation for medicines for the sick poor will be deposited in my bank account in Santa Fe by the hermit at Christ in the Desert.
May our merciful Lord bless your kindness and shine His face upon you,
brother dismas Mary