5 Words of Advice for Members of the ‘St. Monica Club’
When people you love are far from God, imitate St. Monica’s tenacity and wisdom.
The feast of St. Monica is Aug. 27, and she is the patron saint of patience and mothers. Her piety in her lifetime led to her husband’s and mother-in-law’s conversion, two children entering religious life, and her son Augustine becoming a Doctor of the Church. Her continual prayer for her son, and beseeching of others to pray on his behalf, are part of his faith story detailed in Confessions, and an outward sign of the internal reality each of us are to sustain throughout our lifetime for all we love who are far from the faith.
For those who join the “St. Monica Club,” having people you love far from the faith, there are a few rules that come with the involuntary membership:
1. Pray without ceasing. Enlist the saints, enlist their guardian angels, ask the Holy Souls in Purgatory; ask the souls that you’ve known who have died, to pray that these prodigals may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
2. Offer fasting and sacrifice. Saint Monica gave alms and offerings until told not to, and made that obedience also an offering. Surrender some small thing that is a hint of your molding your will to God’s in the ordinary, in atonement for the ways in which sins offend God.
3. Love your prodigal. Eat with them, pray in their presence whether they will or not, and be fully present and authentically faithful. Do not cease to put on Christ in their presence, but present Christ in their presence by how you welcome them.
4. Ask others to pray with you for them, even if they do not know the one you love is far from the faith. Petitionary prayer by many broke down the roof and allowed Christ and those with him to witness the great faith of the paralyzed man’s friends. Each of us who prays for another, is a person helping to break down the roof, to reveal our trust that God hears our prayers and seeks to heal those we love beyond even what we ask.
5. Persist. Members of the St. Monica Club understand that God uses all of our lifetimes to court each soul, and that no moment — no scintilla of a second of devotion, prayer, love, sacrifice or service — is wasted. We should never feel discouraged, because we always know that God longs for their company at the great wedding feast more than we do.
St. Augustine converted fully into the faith at 31 years of age. God is willing to wait our lifetime for our friendship, for our faith. Our job in waiting with him is to pray for the grace to be present as needed, and to keep from blocking anyone’s vision of him by our words, actions, silence or inaction. We are to wait in joyful hope always.