I’ll admit it I was hooked when I found out that today is the feast of St. Monica, mother of St. Augustine. She placed all her hopes in the return of Augustine to Christ and the Church. Her other two children had chosen lives of grace and devotion. She followed him to Italy from Africa, not an easy trip in the fourth century. In Milan her prayers were answered; he was baptized and from then on lived a life in defense of the Church, eventually being named a Doctor of the Church. On the journey back to Africa, she died, peaceful in the belief that her life’s mission had been fulfilled.
For her many years of devotion and single-minded commitment to prayer and sacrifice for his salvation, she is named the patron saint of mothers and wives. Whether we are married or a parent, we have all been called to love others. And to love some with that kind of unconditional, patience, and persistent love for which mothers (and dads, too) are known.
When that person embarks on a risky or harmful path, how do you coax them back to a healthy and safe place or at least keep the door to your heart open?
In my experience the commitment to love has one or more of these tests of love. One needs to stay close to God, will to love despite whatever barriers are presented and hold tight! Recall God’s fidelity and choose behaviors that continue to demonstrate your love no matter how hopeless it may seem or you may feel. Think of Monica, all those years with Augustine’s conversion as her main focus!
Something that a dear and holy friend used to say to me when I felt totally impotent as a parent: “Remember that God loves that child more than you can ever imagine! You’re not in this alone.”
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