As the mother of a son, I have always felt a connection with St. Monica. I mean, sometimes all you can do is pray! Her eldest son, Augustine (354–430), was a rather wayward lad who didn’t want his mother following him around, but she did it anyway – from North Africa to Rome to Milan. Although Monica was a Christian, her husband and children were not.
In time, thanks to St. Monica’s perseverance in prayer, Augustine became a teacher and orator, a seeker of truth. Monica’s patient hopes for her son were eventually rewarded: he was baptized into the Christian faith by Bishop (now Saint) Ambrose of Milan.
But that was just the beginning. He would later serve as a priest, then as Bishop of Hippo (in North Africa) for over 30 years; he was a major Christian thinker and author, and is a Doctor of the Church. (He is also the patron saint of printers, brewers and theologians.)
Augustine left us with many writings, including the classics The City of God and Confessions, that still inspire and lead us to deeper faith. One of his most famous quotes says it all:
Great are You, O Lord, and greatly to be praised…
our hearts are restless until they rest in you.
And his heartfelt prayer to the Holy Spirit is one we can pray every day:
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit,
That my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit,
That my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit,
That I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit,
To defend all that is holy.
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit,
That I always may be holy.
St. Monica and St. Augustine, pray for us!
–Anne Louise Mahoney, Managing Editor