Happy feast of St. Monica! Monica is the first saint that I ever had a devotion to and she holds a very special place in my heart. I know we all have people in our lives that have walked away from the Lord or who have never known Him; for us, St. Monica is a very powerful intercessor. I was pleading for her intercession to bring someone important to me back to the faith and for some other intentions during my first trip to Rome. I spent a few good Holy Hours at her tomb begging the Lord for these graces. One year later I returned to that tomb, knelt before this blessed woman, and was immediately overcome by tears of rejoicing as my prayer had been answered. St. Monica is powerful before the throne of God.
She understood the urgency of the Gospel message, the urgency that Jesus speaks of today. “Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.” St. Monica is like the faithful and prudent servant whom the master put in charge of his household. She know that her son Augustine was a gift to her that the Lord entrusted to her to return to Him, but that he was also a free man able to bring on his own destruction… which he was doing. Augustine was a man of the world, a man completely given over to hedonism. But St. Monica had faith in the Lord that He would convert Augustine from His sinful ways. Through her prayers and also through her testimony, Augustine eventually returned to the Lord and became one of the greatest saints of all time.
Monica remembered that she was but a steward of what is ultimately God’s. She know that Augustine’s conversion was never up to her, but rather up to God. She did what she could by pleading for grace on Augustine’s behalf and never being ashamed or timid in her faith.
I think today’s lesson from St. Monica is twofold. 1. Do you believe in the power of prayer like she did? Do you recognize your responsibility to pray for those things and people God has entrusted to you? He doesn’t ask you to be successful, but He asks you to be faithful. 2. Are you awake? Are you aware of the urgency of the Gospel? For yourself and also those you love? I think when we remember this urgency, we’re more likely to really give ourselves over to prayer. We’re more ready to commit ourselves to our relationship with God and to prayer and fasting for the world.
-Amanda Benner, Director of Evangelization