Memorial of Saint Monica
Did Monica see the talents of her son, Augustine, even when he was a boy and seemingly squandering his time and waywardly wasting his talents? Like all good mothers, Monica must have wanted what was best for her son and deeply desired that he would eventually learn his lesson and conform his life to the path of virtue. Even deeper, Monica greatly hoped that the alcoholism of her husband, Patricius, would not consume Augustine as well. What sets Monica apart, however, is her almost foolish faithfulness and dedicated prayers that The Lord would penetrate into Augustine’s heart, flood him with love, and use him as a vessel of His love and wisdom. Did she see talents and gifts that only needed purification and guidance? Was Augustine the servant in today’s Gospel from Matthew 25 who was given the five talents and who slowly figured out how to work with them as St. Monica fervently prayed for his conversion?
On the other hand, was Augustine the fool that God chose to shame the wise, which St. Paul speaks of in the first reading today from the First Letter to the Corinthians? After all, it was only later when Augustine could write in the most famous lines from The Confessions
“Late have I loved you, O beauty ever ancient ever new: late have I loved you. And see, you were within and I was in the external world and sought you there, and in my unlovely state I plunged into those lovely created things which you made. You were with me, and I was not with you. The lovely things kept me far from you, though if they did not have their existence in you, they had no existence at all. You called and cried out loud and shattered my deafness. You were radiant and resplendent, you put to flight my blindness. You were fragrant, and I drew in my breath and now pant after you. I tasted you, and I feel but hunger and thirst for you. You touched me, and I am set on fire to attain the peace which is yours…”
What Monica did provide Augustine with is a model of faithfulness and prayerfulness. She became a voice for the Lord to call and even shout at Augustine to break through his deafness and to guide him along the path of holiness. Let us allow the Lord to use us to carry out His missions in this world so to use our gifts and talents to the full. And, through St. Monica’s continuous prayers for us, may we, like St. Augustine be flooded by the grace and goodness of the Lord.