Thursday, August 27, 2015

It's a Mom Thing

Well, friends, it's that time of year again.  Our oldest son has begun his second year of college.  Our younger son is in his junior year of high school.  (When I began this blog, they were 10 and 7!)  We're not quite "empty nesters," but are feeling the beginnings of what that will look like.  If you have children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, or close friends that have children, you can probably relate.  They grow up so quickly.  Those toddler years seem interminable.  Then, suddenly, you're in the teen years and dealing with that new world of raging hormones and roller coaster emotions.  Blink your eyes, and they're turning 18--joining the world of adulthood.

Today is the Feast of Saint Monica.  If you're not familiar with her story, she was an incredibly faithful servant of God.  She was a Christian, but for whatever reason was given in marriage to a pagan man named Patricius.  He was a man given to fits of anger, and lived a very profligate lifestyle (read:  he knew a lot of women).  They had a son named Augustine, who was very intelligent, but not inclined to follow in his mother's footsteps when it came to faith.  There were probably at least three other children born to this marriage, but very little is known of Augustine's siblings.

Monica chose to remain steadfast in her relationship with God.  This included a life of prayer for both her husband and son.  Patricius died when Augustine was 17 years old, having requested baptism about one year prior to his passing.

His eldest son was in pursuit of knowledge, but wasn't particularly discerning in the sources of his education.  At the age of 29, he moved to Rome, and then Milan.  His persistent mother followed after him, hoping to have a positive influence on him even in the midst of such a perverse society.  The bishop of Milan, Ambrose, became her spiritual director.


"It is not possible that the son of so many tears should perish."


As she poured out her heart to him, he gave her wise advice:  rely on tears and prayer.  Eventually, Augustine became acquainted with Ambrose as well.  Through his influence, the young intellectual slowly worked his way toward God.  His restless heart found its way back to its Maker.  Monica's prayers had been answered in a pround way.

Augustine's writings have become a great resource for Christians throughout history.  To say his influence upon theology and catechesis have been remarkable is really an understatement.  The prayers of Saint Monica have not only affected her prodigy, but the Church at large throughout the multitude of generations since their time (in the 300's).  We owe an incredible debt of gratitude to Monica for her persistence in prayer and indefatigable efforts to evangelize her son.


Which brings me back to my original thought.  My sons are growing into men.  They do not want their "mommy" following them around (Monica listened to Ambrose on that issue, thankfully) and telling them what to do.  And honestly, that is not my role at this stage in their lives.  (Well, as it applies to our oldest, especially.  Our younger son is still just 16...)  But, following the example of Saint Monica, I should instead place them constantly before the Lord in prayer, asking Him to use all the things my husband and I (along with the other godly men and women they have known throughout their lives) have taught them.  He alone can take those lessons and shape my sons into the men he has called them to be.  While our influence is never completely gone, it is time to place them in the hands of God and step back.

But, as I often tell them:  I'll always be your mom.  :)

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