“Your son, Augustine, is also lost in faith …”
The beloved Santa Monica, mother of the great Saint Augustine of Hippo – Father and Doctor of the Church – was full of worries about her son, a brilliant student and a young hedonist. A Christian woman married to a pagan, Monica followed the journey of her son and prayed faithfully for her conversion to Christ. For many years she prayed that Augustine’s heart and mind would be opened and that he might have an authentic encounter with Christ and thus be reformed and redirected to the will of God.
His fidelity was compensated, and in one of the most moving parts of St. Augustine’s book “Confessions,” he reported how clearly Monica identified her mission of life, which was to direct her children to faith in Christ. In Ostia, she said to him with admiration: “Son, in my opinion, nothing in this life now gives me pleasure. I do not know why I’m still here, since I have no more desires in this world. I had a reason to want to live a little longer: to see you become a Catholic Christian before you die. God has given me this grace, for I know that you have even renounced earthly happiness to be His servant. So what am I doing here? “Days later, she became ill with a fever and told Augustine and her brother to bury her and not worry about her earthly remains. However, he asked them a favor:
Santa Monica is the patron saint of people who find themselves in difficult marriages, difficult children and the conversion of relatives, particularly their children. She is the comforting friend of heaven who fully understands the despair of parents who feel helpless and confused as they watch their children walk away from the Church.
Monica prayed and fasted for her children to know Jesus Christ. That is why she is the powerful companion and intercessor of all who feel tormented by the “journeys” of her sons and daughters.
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit!
Under the weight of my bodily burden, I turn to you, dear Santa Monica, and I ask for your help and intercession.
From your place in heaven, I implore you to look for my son (NAME), who has lost his faith and all that we have tried to teach him.
I know, dear Monica, that our children do not belong to us, but to God, and that God often allows them to perish so that this is part of their journey towards Him.
Their son, Augustine, is also lost; but he found the faith and came to believe, and in that belief he became a true teacher.
Help me, therefore, to have patience and to believe that all things – including this deceptive move away from faith – happen according to God’s purposes.
Because of the soul of my son, I pray to understand and trust in it. Santa Monica, please teach me to remain faithful in prayer, as you have done for the good of your child. Inspire me to behave in a way that will not keep my child from Christ, but only lead him gently toward His wonderful light.
Please teach me what you know about this painful mystery of separation, reconciliation, and reorientation of our children to heaven.
O Holy Monica, lover of Christ and his Church, pray for me and my son [Name], so that we may gain the heaven, join you and offer a constant and grateful praise to God.