Monday, August 27, 2018

Saint Monica, Patroness of Abuse Victims, Pray for Us!

“Go your way and God bless you, for it is not possible 
that the son of these tears should perish.” 
—An unknown African bishop to Saint Monica
Today is the feast day of Saint Monica, the mother of Saint Augustine. This noble lady and archetypal Christian mother is the patroness of (among others) abuse victims, alcoholics, difficult marriages, mothers with wayward children, disappointing children, victims of adultery and victims of unfaithfulness.

Thus, she is quite a popular saint in our time and a particularly appropriate saint to commemorate today as the Church continues to be riddled with abusers and enablers of abuse even at the highest levels.

According to Augustine's Confessions (Book III, Chapter XII), Monica shed many tears while she prayed for her son's conversion from the careless and dissolute lifestyle he lived. Here is the above quote in its original context:
"And meanwhile You granted her [Monica] another answer, which I recall; by a priest of Yours, a certain bishop, reared in Your Church and well versed in Your books. He, when this woman had entreated that he would vouchsafe to have some talk with me, refute my errors, unteach me evil things, and teach me good (for this he was in the habit of doing when he found people fitted to receive it), refused, very prudently, as I afterwards came to see. For he answered that I was still unteachable, being inflated with the novelty of that heresy, and that I had already perplexed various inexperienced persons with vexatious questions, as she had informed him. "But leave him alone for a time," says he, "only pray God for him; he will of himself, by reading, discover what that error is, and how great its impiety."
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He disclosed to her at the same time how he himself, when a little one, had, by his misguided mother, been given over to the Manichæans, and had not only read, but even written out almost all their books, and had come to see (without argument or proof from any one) how much that sect was to be shunned, and had shunned it. Which when he had said, and she would not be satisfied, but repeated more earnestly her entreaties, shedding copious tears, that he would see and discourse with me, he, a little vexed at her importunity, exclaimed, "Go your way, and God bless you, for it is not possible that the son of these tears should perish." Which answer (as she often mentioned in her conversations with me) she accepted as though it were a voice from heaven."
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May the faithful shed just as many tears as we pray for the conversion of our dissolute leaders, for peace and healing for their victims, and for renewal of the Church.

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