Enid. July-August 2016

posted 4 Sep 2016, 04:17 by Richard Jones   [ updated 4 Sep 2016, 04:18 ]

Enid writes – 

The day I was asked to write for the UB magazines, I’d been preaching on St. Luke’s story of the Widow of Nain, and Jesus’ raising of her son.  It had reminded me of the time when there were teenagers in my family, and the inspiration I used to find in the story of St. Monica!  

St.Monica, celebrated on 27th August, was the mother of St.Augustine of Hippo, celebrated the day after on 28th.  (This is not Augustine of Canterbury, but the major theologian who - whether we now disagree with much that he wrote or not! - had an immense influence on the western Church.)  But 27th & 28th? Is the calendar reflecting what they say – that behind every good man is a better woman!?! 

Monica was born into a Christian family in what is now Algeria in 332AD, but she married a pagan who was a violent and unfaithful drunk.  On top of that, her disagreeable mother-in-law lived with them!  However, by patient persistence, she won them both over to Christianity.  It was Augustine, the eldest of her three sons, who caused her the most pain, rejecting her faith and enjoying an immoral lifestyle. 

Monica’s priest advised her to avoid conflict and argument, and to rely solely on praying for him.  He said, It is not possible that the son of so many tears should be lost. 

In 383AD, Augustine left secretly for Italy, but the widowed Monica followed him and became a disciple of St. Ambrose.  Three years later, Augustine was, at last, converted and baptised.  In his autobiographical book Confessions, he firmly attributed this to his mother’s example and prayerfulness.  Comparing his conversion to Jesus’ raising of the widow’s son, he wrote She never let me out of her prayers, that you, O God, might say to the widow’s son, ‘Young man, I say to you, arise!’  For this reason, this Gospel story is read on her feast-day. 

Remember St. Monica, and keep on praying for the people you worry about.

Rev'd Enid Briggs