Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:6-7

Saturday, August 28, 2010

St. Augustine, pray for us

"Such things was I speaking, and even if not in this very manner, and these same words, yet Lord, Thou knowest that in that day when we were speaking of these things, and this world with all its delights became, as we spake, contemptible to us, my mother said, "Son, for mine own part I have no further delight in any thing in this life. What I do here any longer, and to what end I am here, I know not, now that my hopes in this world are accomplished. One thing there was for which I desired to linger for a while in this life, that I might see thee a Catholic Christian before I died. My God hath done this for me more abundantly, that I should now see thee withal, despising earthly happiness, become His servant: what do I here?"

What answer I made her unto these things, I remember not. For scarce five days after, or not much more, she fell sick of a fever; and in that sickness one day she fell into a swoon, and was for a while withdrawn from these visible things. We hastened round her; but she was soon brought back to her senses; and looking on me and my brother standing by her, said to us enquiringly, "Where was I?" And then looking fixedly on us, with grief amazed: "Here," saith she, "shall you bury your mother." I held my peace and refrained weeping; but my brother spake something, wishing, for her, as the happier lot, that she might die, not in a strange place, but in her own land. Whereat, she with anxious look, checking him with her eyes, for that he still savoured such things, and then looking upon me: "Behold," saith she, "what he saith:" and soon after to us both, "Lay," she saith, "this body any where; let not the care for that any way disquiet you: this only I request, that you would remember me at the Lord's altar, wherever you be." And having delivered this sentiment in what words she could she held her peace, being exercised by her growing sickness.-- St. Augustine, The Confessions of St. Augustine


In my mind, St. Augustine and his mother are inseparable. Where would he be without his mother, I often wonder? Where would any of us be without our mothers, you might wonder? Obviously, basic biology requires that we have a mother. But in my mind, St. Augustine's success, if you might call it that, was completely dependent upon his mother (of course, that's a mother's perspective and not a son's). It was she who prayed him to a relationship with God. It was she who cried and pleaded with her God for her son to turn his life around and seek holiness; it was she who followed her son around and nagged at him to live a life with God at its center.

When I speak to God about my children, I often feel just like St. Monica. I would lay down and die -- be done with this world -- if I thought my children were so fully in communion with God that they no longer needed my mediation. As my children grow older, and become more of their own world and less of my world, I see that my work as a Christian mother has, in some ways, just begun. These are the years in which I will wear out my knees, pleading with my God to keep them close. St. Augustine, pray for all mothers who seek to bring their children to Our Father. St. Monica, pray for the children whose mothers cry for them to Our Heavenly Father.


O God, Who observed the devout tears and pleading of St. Monica and granted to her prayers the conversion of her husband and the penitential return of her son, Augustine, grant us the grace to implore Thee also with earnest zeal, so that we may obtain, as she did, the salvation of our own soul and the souls of those belonging to us. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

And from a very lovely reader, this beautiful prayer by St. Augustine, which I will take to my bedside this evening:

Keep watch, Oh Lord,
with those who wake,
or watch or weep tonight, and give your angels charge over those who sleep.

Tend the sick, Oh Lord Jesus Christ; rest your weary ones;
bless your dying ones;
soothe your suffering ones;
pity your afflicted ones;
shield your joyous ones;
and all for your love's sake.

1 comment:

  1. I'm trying to catch-up after being gone for a week...
    What a beautiful, beautiful post Barbara! This spoke to my heart.

    I, too, have realized that their need of me as their Christian mother had just really begun once they left my nest to spread their own wings.

    I thank God that we have the wonderful, hope-filled examples of our beloved saints to help lead us.


I appreciate your comments -- sometimes I feel like I'm talking to myself!