September 1, 2019, Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
SAINTS MONICA AND AUGUSTINE
This last week we celebrated the memorials of St. Monica and of her son, St. Augustine. It is clear, even from Augustine’s own writings, that he would not have been a saint had his mother not been one: had she not spent nearly two decades in prayer and tears for her son’s conversion, and had she not remained a staunchly Christian woman and mother even despite her son’s protestations and sinful living, we likely would not have seen Augustine’s name among the greatest of the Church’s saints. Clearly, then, prayers of parents have power!
I mention this because I know there are often cases in our own day, in our own town and parish, when parents worry—and rightfully so—about their children who have become lax in their practice of the faith or who have left it completely. This is certainly not an easy situation, and can easily lead to feelings of hopelessness. Remain hopeful, however! The story of Sts. Monica and Augustine shows that, even if it takes many long years of prayer, these children may come back and be great saints! As St. Monica was in the midst of her long years of prayer, a bishop told her that “surely the son of such tears will not go lost.” It was a prophecy if ever there was one.
What is more, we must remember that God always hears our prayer and always wants us to pray as if we will be answered. Look at the parables of our Blessed Lord in Luke 11:5-8 and 18:1-14. These show that a Christian is meant to pray with the certainty of being heard. If you have a child or a grandchild who has wandered from God, then, remember this and pray long and hard for the conversion and return. Don’t weary or succumb to the temptation that the prayers are not doing anything. For this is undoubtedly a prayer God wants to answer, so do not weary in these good prayers and perhaps even tears. Who knows? Their return may be the beginning of a new St. Augustine for our own day!
Saints Monica and Augustine, pray for us!