Charity registration No. SC002876  
Sunday August 25th. 2013
No one is beyond the power of God’s mercy to change their life On Tuesday the Church celebrates the feast of St. Monica, and the following day of her son, St. Augustine.  The two are inseparably bound together, and it is a wonderful story of a mother’s perseverance in prayer and trust in God that finally won her brilliant son away from a  dissolute and immoral life, and made them both saints! St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine of Hippo, was born in 322 in Tagaste (located in modern-day Algeria). Her parents were Christians, but little is known of her early life. Most of the information about her comes from Book IX of her son’s “Confessions.” St. Monica was married to a pagan official named Patritius, who had a short temper and lived an immoral life. At first, her mother-in- law did not like her, but Monica won her over by her gentle disposition. Unlike many women of that time, St. Monica was never beaten by her husband. She said that Patritius never raised his hand against her because she always held her tongue, setting a guard over her mouth in his presence St. Monica and Patritius had three children: St. Augustine, Navigius and Perpetua. It was a source of great pain that Patritius would not permit their children to be baptized. She worried about Augustine, who lived for thirteen years with a young woman in
Carthage, called Una,  who bore him an illegitimate son. Although he liked her, he  said he never really loved her, and that is why they had only one child. He did the ungentlemanly thing of walking out and leaving them when he decided to further his studies and found a school in Rome. No doubt Monica did her best to care for them. Her constant prayers and tears for her son had the effect of converting her husband to Christ before his death. Augustine, however, although raised as a Christian by his mother, he continued on the path that led him away from Christ and deeper into a debauched life. His cry was: “Lord make me chaste, but not yet” While in Carthage, Augustine fell under the influence of the heretical Manichean sect. His mother was horrified and tried to turn him away from this cult. She was calmed after she had a dream in which she was told to be patient and gentle with her son. Augustine, however, paid little attention to her and remained with this sect for nine years. St. Monica felt disheartened and disappointed, but never gave up. She even tried to enlist the help of a bishop who had once been a Manichean himself, but he would not argue with Augustine. He told St. Monica  that he couldn’t reason with the young man because Augustine was still attracted by the novelty of the heresy. The bishop reassured her saying, “Go on your way, and God bless you, for it is not possible that the son of these tears should be lost.” St. Monica later went to Rome  in search of Augustine. When he received an appointment to Milan, he met St. Ambrose and was greatly impressed by his preaching. Bishop Ambrose came to have a great deal of respect for St. Monica, and often congratulated Augustine on having such a virtuous mother. Augustine was convinced that Christianity was impossible for him because he thought he could never live a chaste life. .While he was reading the New Testament in the garden one day, he came to the passage of Paul’s Letter to the Romans at Chapter 13, Verses 12-14. and  immediately decided to “cast off the works of darkness,” and “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” He was baptized on the eve of Easter in 387 at the age of 33, ordained a priest at 36 and a bishop at 41. After his baptism, Augustine and his mother planned to return to Africa. They stopped to rest in Ostia, where St. Monica fell ill and died at the age of fifty-six. She was buried at Ostia, and her holy relics were transferred to the crypt of a church in
the sixth century. Nine centuries later, St. Monica’s relics were translated to Rome. In his book, “Confessions,” Augustine wrote about his reaction to his mother’s death: “If any one thinks it wrong that I thus wept a whole day for my mother – a mother who for many years had wept for me that I might live to thee, O Lord – let him not deride me. But if his charity is great, let him weep also for my sins before thee.” It was because of his mother’s persistence that he felt this continual nagging of conscience to let God into his life, but tried to ignore it Francis Thomson, who was a promising medical student, started taking drugs and abandoned everything. Years later, when he recovered and was reconciled to the Church, he wrote a poem The Hound of Heaven, about the persistence of God's love, like a hound always following him, until it finally changed him—this was the same persistence that was evident in Augustine's life: His book, The Confessions,  brings to a close Augustine's account of his cleansing from a life of sin, the illumination of his conversion and baptism, and the complete surrender of himself in unity with God. He became bishop outstanding in holiness, and a brilliant theologian, whose sermons, his many books, especially his Confessions and his commentaries on scripture  were responsible for influencing millions of people down the centuries and still do today. His works are studied by all students for the priesthood.
I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;I fled Him, down the arches of the years;I fled Him, down the labyrinthine waysof my own mind; and in the midst of tearsI hid from Him….from those strong Feet that followed, followed after.But with unhurrying chase, and unperturbčd pace, deliberate speed, majestic instancy, They beat—and a Voice beatMore instant than the Feet—'All things betray thee, who betrayest Me