The Catholic Defender: The Prayer and perseverance of St. Monica
St. Monica is one of those Saints who helps provide hope for parents who have seen their children grow up and have left the Church.
There is never a fool proof book that parents can find to offer help, but the Bible gives the direction. Unfortunately, biblical literacy and society has been rebelling against the bible.
When talking with friends who have experienced apostasy among their children, the favorite one liner I have shared is, “Remember St. Monica”, she prayed 30 years for her son who did in the end came home.
Prayer must be the first baseline support for anyone who has fallen from the faith. Though raised with Christian roots, St. Monica's parents gave her to a Pagan (Patricius) who wanted her hand in marriage. Patricius was known to have had a violent temper and his mother was a nuisance much of the time as she meddled living with them.
Remember, St. Monica prayed for both her Husband, (Patricius) and St Augustine for 30 years. St Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "that if a brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is consecrated through his wife..." (1 Corinthians 7:12-14) Patricius died 371 A.D. just one year after he was Baptized into the Catholic Faith.
St. Augustine was 17 years old at the time of his father's death while he was a student at Carthage.
Like so many young today, St. Augustine was greatly influenced by the lure of the world. A heresy known as Manichean (which was much like the modern day Secular Humanism of today) lead Augustine down a wrong path. He became addicted to sensual appetites and pleasures. St. Monica’s persistence should be an inspiration to anyone who has wayward children.
St. Monica prayed 30 years for her son that he would return to his holy Catholic Faith. This is timeless as scripture speaks much about the Prodigals which inflame the Heart of Our Lord and His Mother Mary. Our Lord told St. Faustina in 1935:
“Today bring to Me the Souls of those who have separated themselves from My Church*, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. During My bitter Passion they tore at My Body and Heart, that is, My Church. As they return to unity with the Church My wounds heal and in this way they alleviate My Passion.”
Most Merciful Jesus, Goodness Itself, You do not refuse light to those who seek it of You. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who have separated themselves from Your Church. Draw them by Your light into the unity of the Church, and do not let them escape from the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart; but bring it about that they, too, come to glorify the generosity of Your mercy.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who have separated themselves from Your Son’s Church, who have squandered Your blessings and misused Your graces by obstinately persisting in their errors. Do not look upon their errors, but upon the love of Your own Son and upon His bitter Passion, which He underwent for their sake, since they, too, are enclosed in His Most Compassionate Heart. Bring it about that they also may glorify Your great mercy for endless ages. Amen.
Notice what Our Lord states, “During My bitter Passion they tore at My Body and Heart, that is My Church”.
This speaks volumes and this tells me we should not be taking this so lightly. We need to have the heart and mind of St. Monica who would follow her son to Carthage, Rome, and finally Milan where St. Augustine ran into St. Ambrose. This changed everything for St. Augustine who was baptized along with many of his friends by St. Ambrose was received wholly and totally into the Catholic Faith.
This is a great example for answered prayer but also apologetics and good catechesis. Truth is important.
Saint Monica is a patron saint for mothers and wives. She lived by example all her life. She exhibited great faith in the midst of trials and tribulations.
Today, this is all too common as our world has become more technological and advanced in knowledge.
It is interesting that Daniel 12:4 states, “As for you, Daniel, keep secret the message and seal the book until the end time; many shall fall away and evil shall increase”.
St. Monica said not long before the Lord would take her to her heavenly reward: “I do not know what there is left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled. All I wished for was that I might see you a Catholic and a child of Heaven. God granted me even more than this in making you despise earthly felicity and consecrate yourself to His service”.
Prayer to Saint Monica
Exemplary Mother of the Great Augustine, You perseveringly pursued your wayward son Not with threats but with prayerful cries to heaven. Intercede for all mothers in our day So that they may learn to draw their children to God. Teach them how to remain close to their children, Even the prodigal sons and daughters who have sadly gone astray. Dear St Monica, troubled wife and mother, many sorrows pierced your heart during your lifetime. Yet, you never despaired or lost faith. With confidence, persistence, and profound faith, you prayed daily for the conversion of your beloved husband, Patricius, and your beloved son, Augustine; your prayers were answered. Grant me that same fortitude, patience, and trust in the Lord. Intercede for me, dear St Monica, that God may favorably hear my plea. (mention your intention here) Grant me the grace to accept His Will in all things, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen
This should be the cry of all wives and Mothers for their Children who have returned home to the Catholic Faith. This has to be our song.
Like St. Monica, we too can be over joyed when a Prodigal comes home. Not only is there a celebration in heaven, Our Lord says to St. Faustina, “As they return to unity with the Church My wounds heal and in this way they alleviate My Passion.”