|St. Monica by Gozzoli, 1464|
St. Monica has always been a favorite of mine. You will notice I have her as a patron of this blog. I dearly love Mother Mary, but let’s face it, she was “full of grace” and was the Mother of God. I can often relate much more to St. Monica who had her own set of failings and was the mother of a real hellion,( Not that I am saying any of my children have come close to the exploits of the young St. Augustine).
My prayer list used to include young moms with intentions for safe pregnancies, babies that sleep through the night, toddlers with fevers, and grade school struggles. Now that my circles have aged I am praying for elderly parents, sick spouses, college admissions, job applications, and holy spouses for grown children. And I am praying for a plethora of good and holy mothers and fathers who are having their own St. Monica experiences. Today on the Feast of St. Monica I knelt in Mass with a heart full for prayers for so many mothers and fathers whose hearts are breaking from wayward children.
In today’s society it is counter-cultural to be a faithful Catholic. We do our best to teach our children and give them the tools they need to stand firm in their faith. But faith is a gift that must be accepted. The Sacraments are not magic. Individuals have free will to cooperate with the grace of the Sacraments or not. Unfortunately, too many of our children forge their own way, ignoring the gift of faith they have been so lovingly offered and choosing instead the lures of shallow pleasures in a secular world.
This is not a new problem. St. Monica walked this path as a mother in the fourth century. She is the model for mothers grieving from the sinful choices of their children. She never compromised her own faith in order to entice her son to return to the fold. She never enabled his sinfulness. But she also never stopped loving him. She never stopped praying for him. She never gave up hope.
Dear St. Monica, please pray for all mothers and fathers whose children have rejected the faith. May these parents persevere in faith, hope, and love as you did and may they see their own children find their way back to a life of virtue in Christ. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.