Saturday, May 9, 2009

Monica, Praying Mother of Augustine

Lon Solomon at McLean Bible Church talks about the importance of mothers and grand mothers to a family's spiritual life.


WITHOUT DOUBT, I've come to believe the greatest gift a mother can ever give her children and grandchildren--and all her loved ones---is prayer. Daily, sustained, regular prayer, first for their salvation and eternal life in Christ, then for protection and the fulfillment of their God-given talents and purpose in life. I believe a faithful mother will do this even unto her dying breath.

There's no greater example than that of Monica, mother of Augustine during the 4th century.

Monica was married by arrangement to a pagan official in North Africa, who was much older than she, and although generous, was also violent tempered and unfaithful to her. In addition her mother-in-law lived with them and was equally difficult. They had three children; Augustine, Navigius, and Perpetua.

Through her patience and prayers, she was able to convert both her husband a year before his death in 370, and his mother. Perpetua and Navigius entered the religious Life. But Augustine proved much more difficult, as she had to pray for him for 17 years, begging the prayers of priests who, for a while, tried to avoid her because of her persistence at this seemingly hopeless endeavor.

One priest did console her by saying, "it is not possible that the son of so many tears should perish."

Monica died in 387 at the age of 56, the same year Augustine became a believer.

In his Confessions Augustine spoke of his grief and weeping for the mother "now gone from my sight, who for years had wept over me, that I might live in your [God's] sight."

She died a happy woman for she had seen her prayers answered. Augustine was only 33 at the time of his mother's death, and many years of service to Christ and His church lay before him.

In later years Augustine looked back on his life and recognized the importance of his mother's perseverance in prayer to his own salvation and ministry. However, neither Augustine nor Monica could have foreseen that Augustine's own ministry would continue over the centuries and even influence such as Luther and Calvin in reforming the church.

Another famous mother was Hannah, praying mother of the great prophet Samuel.

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