Memorial of Saint Monica
(II Thessalonians 1:1-5.11-12; Matthew 23:13-22)
As many young people do not practice the faith of their childhood, St. Monica is becoming a more popular saint. Parents turn to her as their patron and model. Monica prayed for the conversion of her errant son Augustine. As a young man, the future saint pursued esoteric teachings and lived with a mistress. In today’s first reading Paul tells the Thessalonians how he prays for them much like Monica prayed for her son.
Paul asks God “that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in (the Thessalonians), and (they) in him.” This indeed took place. The Thessalonians endured trials to maintain their faith in Christ and were to be justly rewarded for their efforts. However, the Thessalonians’ influence on Christianity and western civilization can hardly be compared with that of St. Augustine. He was one of the Church’s greatest theologians. Equally important, his introspection set intellectual thought on a psychological course that continues today.
Above all, Monica teaches us the need for persistent, loving prayer. She prayed for years that Augustine might use his prodigious talents for God and the Church. Likewise, we must not give up when our prayers are not readily answered or seem to ask too much. We need to pray until our knees bleed and our hearts are ready to faint. Then we will see blessings.