Augustine Weeps for His Mother

On this day, the Feast of St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine, we share with you an excerpt from Augustine’s work The Confessions. Augustine, caught up in profound grief over the death of his mother, finally allows his emotions to flow from his heart. He writes:

And then, little by little, there came back to me my former memories of thy handmaid: her devout life toward thee, her holy tenderness and attentiveness toward us, which had suddenly been taken away from me—and it was a solace for me to weep in thy sight, for her and for myself, about her and about myself. Thus I set free the tears which before I repressed, that they might flow at will, spreading them out as a pillow beneath my heart. And it rested on them, for thy ears were near me—not those of a man, who would have made a scornful comment about my weeping. But now in writing I confess it to thee, O Lord! Read it who will, and comment how he will, and if he finds me to have sinned in weeping for my mother for part of an hour—that mother who was for a while dead to my eyes, who had for many years wept for me that I might live in thy eyes—let him not laugh at me; but if he be a man of generous love, let him weep for my sins against thee, the Father of all the brethren of thy Christ.

There are many moments when parents worry about the wellbeing of their son or daughter. Often in those moments, a parent wonders whether their guidance and prayers will work within their child’s life. Augustine’s meditation is a sign of hope to all those mothers and fathers anxious about their children, for his words reveal the powerful influence of a loving parent. Although you might not see it today, but the good work you are doing for your children will come to fruition at some point their lives.

O God, who console the sorrowful and who mercifully accepted the motherly tears of Saint Monica for the conversion of her son Augustine, grant us, through the intercession of them both, that we may bitterly regret our sins and find the grace of your pardon. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. (Collect from The Roman Missal)

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