Lord, I never wanted to be separated from You.

A Reflection on St. Monica (August 27)

 Do you find life difficult? Do you sometimes feel desperate? Did anybody tell you that you’re impossible? Today, we celebrate the memorial of St. Monica and her life will give us a hint to our questions. Monica lived in North Africa and was a Christian wife of a pagan husband. Her husband had some redeeming features, but he had a violent temper and was licentious. Monica also had to bear with a grouchy and irritable mother-in-law who lived in her home. Monica’s prayers and example finally won her husband and mother-in-law to Christianity. Her husband died a year after his baptism.

They had three children and one of them named Augustine was involved in a strange sect called the Manicheans. Augustine also had a mistress and fathered a child out of wedlock. For thirty years, Monica prayed and cried for him.

The circumstances of St. Monica’s life could have made her a nagging wife, a bitter daughter-in-law and a despairing mother, yet she did not give way to any of these temptations.  She continually fasted, prayed, and wept on her son’s behalf. When Monica asked the bishop to put pressure on her son, he told her, “let him be and continue to pray for him. It’s impossible that a son of so many tears should be lost.” What was lost was indeed found. Jesus brought the lost sheep Augustine to the true faith and a moral lifestyle. This lost son is now known as St. Augustine whose feast we celebrate tomorrow. St. Monica is a good example not only of the power of prayer united with tears and suffering, but also of patience. St. Monica showed us that it is not hopeless and we are not hopeless.

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