August 27th and August 28th are the feast days of St. Monica and St. Augustine. St. Monica stayed close to her son, St. Augustine, praying and fasting for his conversion for many years. "I did have one reason for wanting to live a little longer: to see you become a Catholic Christian before I died. God has lavished his gifts on me in that respect, for I know that you have even renounced happiness here on earth to be his servant (St. Monica to St. Augustine).”
“Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace (Confessions of St. Augustine).”
Many of us have family members that have fallen away from the faith and are away from the church. Like St. Monica we need to persevere in our fasting and prayers for the conversion of our loved ones. But we also need to remember the following from St. Louise de Marillac:
“The faults of children are not always imputed to the parents, especially when they have instructed them and given good example. Our Lord, in His wondrous Providence, allows children to break the hearts of devout fathers and mothers. Thus the decisions your children have made don't make you a failure as a parent in God's eyes. You are entitled to feel sorrow, but not necessarily guilt. Do not cease praying for your children; God's grace can touch a hardened heart. Commend your children to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. When parents pray the Rosary, at the end of each decade they should hold the Rosary aloft and say to her, “With these beads bind my children to your Immaculate Heart", she will attend to their souls.”
St. Monica and St. Augustine, pray for us!