27 August, Friday — Keeping our inner reservoirs of faith

Aug 27 – Memorial for St. Monica, married woman

St. Monica was distressed to learn that her son had accepted a heresy and was living an immoral life. For a while, she refused to let him eat or sleep in her house. Then one night she had a vision that assured her Augustine would return to the faith. From that time on she stayed close to her son, praying and fasting for him. In fact, she often stayed much closer than Augustine wanted.

When he was 29, Augustine decided to go to Rome to teach rhetoric. Monica was determined to go along. One night he told his mother that he was going to the dock to say goodbye to a friend. Instead, he set sail for Rome. Monica was heartbroken when she learned of Augustine’s trick, but she still followed him. She arrived in Rome only to find that he had left for Milan. Although travel was difficult, Monica pursued him to Milan, where she became a leader of the devout women there.

  • Patron Saint Index

1 Ths 4:1-8
Mt 25:1-13

So stay awake, because you do not know either the day or the hour.

The story of Saint Monica is familiar to many of us — the faith and constant prayers of a mother that resulted in the salvation and sainthood of her son, Saint Augustine. St Augustine has always been a saint who spoke deeply to my heart. Part of this has to do with the humility and humanity that he exhibits in his confessions. Another part of this has to do with his book the City of God, which inspired me to focus my research and work on cities.

Yet behind this great saint is a mother who loved both her son and her God so deeply, that she would spend her days in prayer asking God to turn her wayward son around. To me, the lives of Saint Monica and Saint Augustine represent living proof of God’s love for us and His constant willingness to forgive us. All we need to do is to keep praying and to truly repent for our sins.

That need for constant prayer is reflected in today’s Gospel reading, which speaks of the virgins who, well-prepared with flasks of oil, were ready to meet the bridegroom. Just like these wise virgins, we are called to keep our inner reservoirs of faith and holiness ever at the ready, for we know not the hour or day when these will be needed, whether to glorify our Lord or to spare a loved one prayer and counsel – for the ultimate hope that he or she will grow closer to God.

The life of Saint Monica and the parable of the ten virgins therefore extol us to be prepared to do the Lord’s work and ultimately to trust in His loving providence.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Jacob Woo)

Prayer: We lift up our minds, bodies and souls to our Lord, who knows the love that we harbour for Him in the deepest of our hearts. May He grant us the wisdom to always be ready for His call.

Thanksgiving: We are thankful for our loved ones, those who constantly pray for us and those who require our constant prayers. We thank the Lord for being the channel and conduit between us and our loved ones, that through our prayers, we are all connected to Him in faith and discipleship.    

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