Saturday, August 27, 2011
Today is the feast day of St. Monica, the mother of the great St. Augustine of Hippo.
For those of you who are not familiar with St. Augustine's wild past and miraculous conversion, this link provides a very brief summary.
St. Monica watched her son, his sinful lifestyle, and even though it seemed he would never return to the beauty of Christianity, she continued to pray. She never stopped coming to God in prayer, begging Him to save her son's life. Along with praying for her son, she also prayed unceasingly for the conversion of her hot-headed, idol-worshipping husband.
As my mom read her story to us this afternoon, this verse popped into my mind:
"And he said to them, "Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, `Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him' and he will answer from within, `Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything'? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him whatever he needs." (Luke 11:5-8).
The friend in the parable received his wish, not just because of his relationship with his neighbor, but because of his persistence. St. Monica, after years of ceaseless prayer, was rewarded with the conversion of both her son and her husband.
And God did not just give her a converted son, He gave her a Doctor of the Church! One of the most famous and eloquent Saints, quoted by Catholics and non-Catholics everywhere, brought to Christ through the prayers of his mother and the guidance of St. Ambrose, ultimately the work of the Holy Spirit. It so amazing, isn't it? We have a God who listens to our prayers, the petty ones and the important ones. And He answers them in the way He sees best. If we do not give up hope in Him, and we endure and do not despair, continuing to call upon Him, He will reward our perseverance.
So, don't lose hope, even when it seems God is ignoring you! Often He works in unexpected ways. St. Monica was distressed because Augustine was going to go overseas on a trip. She was worried that he would be exposed to evil influences and therefore pulled even farther away from Christ. She pleaded with God to prevent his trip. But, it was while he was on that trip that St. Augustine met St. Ambrose, who was a key factor in bringing about the conversion. Augustine would later say, "You did not do what she was at that moment asking, that You might do the thing she was always asking."
Meditate on this beautiful story when your prayers seem to go unheard. And, above everything else, remember Winston Churchill's words, "Never, never, never give up!"
And may God bless you all!
Picture and St. Monica information: http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-monica/
St. Augustine information: http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-augustine-of-hippo/
Bible quote: RSV Bible