De officiis ministrorum

Dublin Core

Title

De officiis ministrorum

Creator

Ambrose

Date

391-2

Source

Sancti Ambrosii Mediolanensis, ed. Maurice Testard, CCSL 15 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2000), 185, lines 1-24 and 186, 21-3

Identifier

Ambr.Off.ministr.

Language

Latin

Subject

CPL 144

Description

Ambrose

Publisher

BWH

Contributor

BWH

Relation

References Biblical Judith

Format

prose

Type

treatise

Coverage

III.13, III.14

Text Item Type Metadata

Text

III.13. Ecce tibi Iudith se offert mirabilis quae formidatum populis uirum Holophernem adit, Assyriorum triumphali saeptum caterua. Quem primo formae gratia et uultus decore perculit, deinde sermonis circumscripsit elegantia. Primus triumphus eius fuit quod integrum pudorem de tabernaculo hostis reuexit, secundus quod femina de uiro reportauit uictoriam, fugauit populos consilio suo.
Horruerunt Persae audaciam eius [Judith 16:10, LXX]. Utique quod in illis pythagoreis duobus mirantur, non expauit mortis periculum, sed nec pudoris, quod est grauius bonis feminis; non ictum carnificis sed nec totius exercitus tela trepidauit. Stetit inter cuneos bellatorum femina, inter uictricia arma, secura mortis. Quantum ad molem spectat periculi, moritura processit; quantum ad fidem, dimicatura.
Honestatem igitur secuta est Iudith et dum eam sequitur, utilitatem inuenit. Honestatis enim fuit prohibere ne populus Dei se profanis daret, ne ritus patrios et sacramenta proderet; ne sacras uirgines, uiduas graues, pudicas matronas barbaricae subiceret impuritati, ne obsidionem deditione solueret; honestatis fuit se malle pro omnibus periclitari ut omnes eximeret periculo.
Quanta honestatis auctoritas ut consilium de summis rebus femina sibi uindicaret nec principibus populi committeret! Quanta honestatis auctoritas ut Deum adiutorem praesumeret! Quanta gratia ut inueniret!

See, Judith presents herself to you as admirable, by approaching Holophernes, a man feared by the people, surrounded by the victorious troops of the Assyrians. First she overcomes him with the grace of her form and the beauty of her countenance, then she encircled him with the elegance of her speech. Her first triumph was that she returned from the tent of the foreigner with her modesty untouched, second, that she gained victory over a man, driving off the people by her counsel.
The Persians were terrified by her courage. So it is admired by those two Pythagoreans, that she did not tremble at the danger of death, nor at the danger of her modesty, which is a greater concern to good women. She did not fear the blow of the executioner nor the weapons of an entire army. As a woman she stood between the lines of warriors, between victorious arms, careless of death. As one looks at the amount of her danger, she went out to die; as one looks at her faith, she would fight.
Judith then followed virtue and as she follows it, she gains profit. It was virtuous for her to prevent the people of the Lord from giving themselves up to the heathen, to prevent them from betraying the rites and sacraments of their fathers; from casting out consecrated virgins, their venerable widows, modest matrons to barbarian impurity, from loosening the siege with surrender; it was virtuous for her to choose rather to test danger on behalf of all in order to remove all from danger.
How great was the authority of her virtue that she, a woman, should herself claim counsel on the chiefest matters and not leave it to the leaders of the people! How great was the authority of her virtue to anticipate the help of God! How great was her grace to find His help!

III.14.88. Liquet igitur id quod decorum est, semper esse utile. Nam et Iudith sancta decoro contemptu propriae salutis solvit obsidionis periculum et publicam honestate propria acquisivit utilitatem.

It is plain, then, that whatever is handsome will always be useful. For holy Judith by dignified disregard for her own safety put an end to the dangers of the siege, and by her virtue gained benefits for the public in common.

Files

Citation

Ambrose, “De officiis ministrorum,” Book of Judith, accessed December 16, 2017, http://bookofjudith.lib.uconn.edu/items/show/5.