How many Mothers suffer excruciating
pains spiritually, emotionally, morally and even physically for the simple
reason that after having given their “all” to educate their children—especially
in the moral and spiritual realm—they sadly contemplate these their dear “loved
ones” distant from the church, doubting or even denying that God even exists or
worse yet becoming an enemy to the church that earlier they seemed to cherish
Not few and isolated cases, but
rather multitudes of Moms have experienced this heart-rending suffering and
separation that wrenches tears of anguish from their hearts! A painful but all too evident reality across
What to do in this case? Never, never, never, should you lose hope,
and much less despair! What Jesus once
responded to a hopeless case is—what is needed is trust! For men, much little
can be done! But not for God; all things
are possible for those who place a limitless trust in God’s loving and always
Who lived this patient and loving
trust in God was the great SAINT MONICA, whose feast-day is August 27th
and the following day is that of her son,
SAINT AUGUSTINE, August 28th—mother and son canonized and
celebrated back to back! What a profound
message! But one without the other would
have never arrived at the altar!
Saint Monica had serious family
problems. Her marriage a real disaster,
putting it mildly. Her pagan husband, Patricius, probably broke all of the
commandments and not only once! An
unbaptized pagan, he had a terrible temper, as explosive as a dynamite stick
with a short fuse. Furthermore, he was a
drunk. To make matters worse, Patricius was unfaithful, committing adultery
against his wife Monica. Not a pretty
family picture to post in Facebook, nor your family album! Despite these
enormous moral failures of her husband, Monica still loved her husband
This was not the unique problem that
Monica had to grapple with! Her adolescent son, Augustine, endowed with a
brilliant mind, but weak in the flesh, gave into his lower desires and became a
slave to lust. Without formalizing any
marriage commitment, Augustine lived with a concubine who eventually bore him a
son, named “Adeodatus”—gift from God.
But for many years this chain that dragged him around—that of
lust—caused him intense remorse of conscience.
Finally, Monica had a wagging-tongue,
loose lipped, gossipy woman, known as her mother-in-law!
Talk about serious family
problems! Monica really hit the
jack-pot! A wild animal for a husband,
a young son addicted to sex, and a mother in law spewing out offensive and
damaging words at the drop of a hat!
Most women, undoubtedly, would most
likely give in to despair—leaving their spouse, maybe even cursing their son,
and gossiping vindictively against such a mother-in-law! Not so for Monica, now known as SAINT MONICA!
In time, her husband, Patricius, was
not only converted before he died, but he was also received into the Church
through Baptism and the Sacraments! Much due to the person, prayer, and
holiness as well as patience of Monica!
AUGUSTINE? What ever happened to him? Already in his
early-thirties, battling against the chain of lust that he really wanted to
break and rent asunder, finally heard the voice of an angel in the garden to
“Take and read”, which he did! He opened
up the Bible, to St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, (Rom. 13:13), exhorting him
to no longer give in to the flesh, but to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. “Let us
conduct ourselves properly as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in
promiscuity and licentiousness, not in rivalry and jealousy. But put on the Lord
Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.” (Romans
13:13-14). Shortly after this
providential event, Augustine was baptized, received the sacraments and became
a fledgling Catholic. Worthy of mention, Augustine received the sacraments at
the hands of St. Ambrose, who Augustine admired as father and beacon of truth.
Finally, even the “gossipy” mother in
law’s heart was converted so she could control her almost “uncontrollable tongue”!
How did all of this happen? What
was Monica’s role in this triple “turn-about”, this triple conversion, this
triple miracle of grace? What did she
do? As future members of the “Saint Monica Sodality” let us follow in the
footsteps of our foundress!
TRUST IN GOD AND NOT IN SELF! Monica did not nag or constantly rebuke her
husband, Patricius! Useless! Some of her
women friends would fight with their husbands who were drunk and violent and
would end up with black-eyes or something worse! For her part, Monica would practice silence,
pray for her husband, and suffer and offer her sufferings to the Lord!
PRAYER! Like the Parable of the insistent widow of
the Gospel, Monica stormed heavenly constantly with her prayers, day and
night! Many mothers first decide to
change their wayward sons/daughters by mere force of verbal coercion or
nagging! A futile effort! Monica relied more on God than the best of
her human efforts! For Monica it was “God-reliance” and not “Self-reliance”!
TEARS! Monica wept a river of tears
for the conversion of her family, but especially her wayward son Augustine. Indeed
she lived out the Beatitude: “Blessed are those who weep, they will be
comforted.” (Mt. 5:4) Her tears were
not of futility, much less despair, but
rather of deep sorrow due to her sons’ offending the Lord, but trust that the
Lord, in His time and through the power of grace, would convert him.
HUMILITY AND SPIRITUAL
DIRECTION. Monica decided that she would
not keep her anguish to herself, she
decided to consult church authorities, among which was a famous and holy—better
yet saintly Bishop, Saint Ambrose. This
great man of God and Doctor of the Church, moved by the tears of Monica,
consoled her assuring her that a woman having shed such copious tears would be
heard by the Lord! The Lord saw her
tears and had compassion on her broken heart!
Saint Ambrose, Doctor of the Church, who baptized Augustine
PATIENCE! In an incessantly “fast-pace” society, most
of us want patent and quick results. Like the woman that prayed fervently and
insistently to the Lord: “Lord, give me patience and RIGHT NOW!” Many suffering mothers have embraced what
might be termed“Micro-wave” spirituality! That is to say, a spirituality that
wants it now, instantaneous, no-waiting, in the micro-wave for 45 second,
cooked and done! That is not the way the
Lord works and Monica knew this. After a long 30 plus years her son Augustine
was converted. This was primarily, of course, the work of God’s grace. However,
Monica was the catalyst that brought down God’s grace!
As a summary as we initiate our new
group or Sodality or Association, “The Saint Monica’s sodality”, let us recall
the weapons that she used for the conversion of her family—her husband, her son
and her mother-in-law! She placed an
unreserved reservoir of trust in God and His Divine Providence, then, prayer,
fervent, faith-filled, frequent---fiery darts launched up to heaven piercing
God’s loving heart. Tears, but not
crocodile tears of sentiment and despair, but tears of sorrow for sin and the
sins of her loved –ones and humility and direction. No one is an island unto
himself; we are in it together, all being part of the Mystical Body of Christ.
Last but not least should exercised an infinite patience. Monica did not impose
her “clock” and time-frame on God, but patiently waited for God’s time, which
is always the “best time!” Well, Mom’s
time to enlist! Sign up for “The Saint