26 August 2008

Lessons learned

The feast of St. Monica is Wednesday. Most people know the story of how St. Monica's perseverance and faith helped to bring about the miraculous conversion of her son, St. Augustine. But, when miracles happen how do you respond?

In today's world, miracles are akin to fantasy and fairy tale, something that possibly happens to others but probably something only experienced by people long ago in bible stories. My generation has witnessed the explosion of science and technology, eclipsing the miraculous and ethereal with the summation of the pragmatic and tangible.

A month or so ago, I shared some of my stories with ladies in my homeschool group, which was very awkward for me. Previously, I had only talked about these things with a very small handful of people. Despite what you see on TV with people proclaiming their experiences from the rooftops, the miracles in my life were incredibly humbling and tend to make me more introspective and private. I am reluctant to share my experiences because I am not able to clearly discern the reasons for my disclosure -- will it give credit where credit is due or does it draw attention to me.

But, like many people who have had profound conversion or reversion experiences, or have been blessed with miracles, there are underlying lessons that these experiences illuminate. It's hard to not sound trite, but I learned God can be trusted and He hears our prayers, even the most silent ones in our heart. I went from knowing about God on a very detached and intellectual level, to knowing Him in a very small way in my heart.

So, despite all the struggles with family and friends, despite my motherly concerns for the souls of my children, I entrust them to God and His saints and know He is far more capable of dealing with these things than I am. And, I pray St. Monica will intercede for me and help to make me a half-way decent mom, protect my children and family, bring my brother back to the Church, and convert my in-laws.

I guess it was perfect timing that I was in Chicago a week ago and attended Mass at St. John Cantius where they have a group called St. Monica Sodality. The group has a beautiful novena that they say weekly to St. Monica for the conversion and reversion of souls. But, I also like St. Monica for her incredible examples of motherhood and persistence. Check out St. John Cantius website for more information on St. Monica and the novena...along with a slew of other wonderful novenas. Right now the parish is in the midst of the St. Monica Triduum, concluding tomorrow with the Feast of St. Monica.

St. Monica, ora pro nobis.


A Novena to St. Monica

Exemplary Mother of the Great Augustine,
You perserveringly pursued your wayward son
Not with wild threats
But with prayerful cries to heaven.

Intercede for all mothers in our day
So that they may learn
To draw their children to God.

Teach them how to remain
Close to their children,
Even the prodigal sons and daughters
Who have sadly gone astray.

Dear St Monica, troubled wife and mother,
Many sorrows pierced your heart
During your lifetime.
Yet you never despaired or lost faith.
With confidence, persistence and profound faith,
You prayed daily for the conversion
Of your beloved husband, Patricius
And your beloved son, Augustine.

Grant me that same fortitude,
Patience and trust in the Lord.
Intercede for me, dear St. Monica,
That God may favorably hear my plea
For (mention your petition here)

And grant me the grace
To accept his will in all things,
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
In the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God forever and ever. Amen.

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