Of course we all know of St. Monica’s enduring patience and she waited and prayed for her husband and son to convert . . .and that she worried for them.
And we know that she suffered–just look at what she is the patron saint of: difficult marriages, disappointing children, victims of adultery or unfaithfulness, victims of (verbal) abuse, and conversion of relatives.
But what she did well was be that good example. It was said that her husband, though annoyed by her piety, had a deep reverence for her, no doubt because she lived her faith so consistently, And that faith made her a beautiful, respectable person and wife.
Further, she was not the only wife in an unhappy marriage in her area. But her words and her sweetness served as an example to the other wives.
And eventually, she saw the conversion of both her husband and her son. Would St. Augustine be a saint today without the example and prayers of his mother?
It has to do with constancy too, it has to do with wanting what God wants for us above all else. That’s what Monica did–she kept her eyes on God and did what He wanted, acted the way He wanted despite her pain, despite her circumstance, despite how much other people disappointed and even betrayed her.
And that example definitely helped with the conversion of those she loved, but probably countless others too as the other wives probably learned from her as well.
Pain, tiredness, yes, even, horrible suffering, doesn’t change who we are, who we are called to be. We are called to be holy, to act holy, to grow in holiness. This is a lesson Monica well understood. Yes, it’s not easy for everyone. It takes practice (and hey, our suffering gives us lots of practice!!) and it takes growing in our relationship with the Lord, staying close to Him. No, clinging to Him.
I guess to me, Monica is a good reminder. She wasn’t exempt from pain–and her piety did not earn her exemption. She suffered much and for a long time. But she chose to suffer well and to act the way God wanted her to–to the very people who were causing her suffering. That is hard to do.
But this is where our faith is called to action. Are we all talk? My prayer is to be that beautiful example to all those around me who see me go through this suffering. It is definitely a daily struggle . . . .