Memorial of St. Monica
(I Thessalonians 3:7-13; Matthew 24:42-51)
“Night and day,” Paul writes to the Thessalonians, “we pray beyond measure to see you in person and to remedy the deficiencies of your faith.” As Paul cares for the community of faith he founded in Thessalonica so St. Monica prayed for her son Augustine. The opening prayer of today’s mass indicates that tears accompanied her orations that Augustine might convert to faith in Christ.
Monica hardly prays alone. In the secular age which we inhabit, many mothers and fathers pray that their children will return to Christ. Parents realize that he is not only the bridge to eternal life but also an anchor to save us from drifting among the half-truths and the compromising pleasures of the world.
Augustine, of course, eventually put aside his mistaken beliefs and scandalous life-style to become first a Christian, then a priest and bishop, and along the way the greatest theologian of antiquity. His writings seem to confirm the efficacy of his mother’s prayers. Speaking to God, he writes in his Confessions, “You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you, yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness.”