Saturday, August 27, 2016

With Saint Monica before they arrive...

She was born in the part of Numidia now know as Algeria, on the edge of the desert.  Early on she married a politician by the name of Patrick. But Patrick had a violent temper, especially when he drank, and Monica’s habits of praying and going to Church and taking care of poor people drove him crazy.    

They had three children, one of whom almost died as a child.  But even when he got better and grew up, this child turned into a first class rascal.  Lazy and selfish, he refused to go to Church, even when his father died when he was 17.

In fact, not only did he refuse to go to Church, he would come home from school and berate his widowed mother about the foolishness of her beliefs.  But she never stopped praying.  For Patrick, for Perpetus and Navitas and even for Augustine, assured by an unnamed holy Bishop that “no child of those tears could ever perish.”

Married to a violent alcoholic who died when her kids were teenagers, with a lazy, selfish and self-righteous son, she was driven not to bitterness, but to prayer.  Morning and night, going from Church to Church praying for her children, especially the errant Augustine, she would leave offerings  behind her of “porridge, bread, water and wine” for the poor.

And her prayers were heard, as Augustine became a priest and a Bishop and one of the greatest shepherds the Church has ever known.  Saint Augustine, whose holiness is an answer to the prayers of his faithful mother.

In just a few hours, seminarians will come to live in this holy house.  Some will have had mothers like Monica and some fathers like Patrick.  

But each will arrive as beneficiaries of the prayers of folks whose faith and inspiration have brought them through our front doors.  Let us join our prayers to theirs, that here they might strive for holiness and that God’s will might be done.