For thirty years St. Monica prayed with great intensity for her son Augustine who put off being baptized because he did not want to leave his immoral life style and was curious about a heresy called Manichaeism. The holy bishop St. Ambrose told her not to give up, saying: “Let him be, and continue to pray for him; it’s impossible that a son of so many tears should be lost.” And indeed, Augustine was converted and went on to become a great bishop and doctor of the Church. Let us pray for all mothers today, especially those who grieve over their wandering children. Through St. Monica’s intercession may the youth of the world find Christ and be rooted and built up in him. Our reflection is from Pope Benedict’s Angelus Message for this day in 2006.
Today, 27 August, we commemorate St Monica and tomorrow we will be commemorating St Augustine, her son: their witnesses can be of great comfort and help to so many families also in our time. Monica, who was born into a Christian family at Tagaste, today Souk-Aharàs in Algeria, lived her mission as a wife and mother in an exemplary way, helping her husband Patricius to discover the beauty of faith in Christ and the power of evangelical love, which can overcome evil with good.
After his premature death, Monica courageously devoted herself to caring for her three children, including Augustine, who initially caused her suffering with his somewhat rebellious temperament. As Augustine himself was to say, his mother gave birth to him twice; the second time required a lengthy spiritual travail of prayers and tears, but it was crowned at last with the joy of seeing him not only embrace the faith and receive Baptism, but also dedicate himself without reserve to the service of Christ.
How many difficulties there are also today in family relations and how many mothers are in anguish at seeing their children setting out on wrong paths! Monica, a woman whose faith was wise and sound, invites them not to lose heart but to persevere in their mission as wives and mothers, keeping firm their trust in God and clinging with perseverance to prayer.