It’s the Feast of St. Monica!
Painting of St. Monica, by John Nava
Monica is special in so many ways….and especially special to me. She hails from North Africa, so many forget that about her and Augustine..But I love her because she prayed without ceasing for her son (and her husband). I mean, it’s fairly widely agreed that her fervent prayers, and persevering ones, were effective in the conversion of her wild boy, Augustine. But I’m getting ahead of myself. To fully understand why she is such a role model for me (and moms in general)…read on….
Painting of St. Monica, by Janet McKenzie
Monica was from North Africa, and from a culture where women didn’t always have the amount of power that we enjoy today (ok that was worldwide, but still…to set hte stage here…). She was married to a tough husband and had a mother in law who hated her. Not easy. Even so, she weathered her Mother in laws barbs and she prayed for the conversion of husband….which he did, on his deathbed. Then there was her son. You mom’s of teens, listen up: Augustine was a son that would give any mom fits! In our era raising him would mean many sleepless nights and teary phone calls with girlfriends. I suspect she had many a night awake fretting over her boy, and possibly many a tsking talk with her girlfriends as they worked. Maybe she had to be quiet and weather the gossip about him…not easy…but OH so much fodder for it! Her son was wild and ignored her pleas, getting into all sorts of revelry; ok, trouble…the kind of trouble we moms go gray over (can read more about him tomorrow on his feast day!).
But Monica persevered, because this was her son, she knew the truth and that he was Good (capital G good) and she had the faith that her prayers would be answered according to God’s will….sooner or later. Well, it was something like 17 years later, but it happened. Not only did Augustine turn his life around and step back onto more solid ground, but he converted to the faith and was ordained by St. Ambrose himself. So, not only were her prayers answered, they were abundantly answered! How cool is that??
I am just pretty darn sure that ol Augie’s conversion (as he might have been called in his party days) was in large part due to the faithful lasting sure prayers of his mom, as well as her prayerful example and steadfast love, no matter what. See that painting, just above? It’s St. Monica praying for St. Augustine…see that intensity, this mom means business! And no matter what trouble he got into, Monica didn’t shun him. She might well have corrected him, being his mom and all (whether or not he listened)…..….but she never stopped loving him.
And that is what will turn even the hardest furthest of hearts back to the truth of Real Love. So I love St Monica, and she reminds me to never give up. Ever. We mom’s can’t give up…it’s one of the things that keeps the world spinning correctly on it’s axis. I know it.
Happy feast day, moms.
St. Monica, pray for us!