Reading: Luke 11
5 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, “Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.” 7 And suppose the one inside answers, “Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.” 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.
9 ‘So I say to you: ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Augustine’s mother, Monica, was raised in a Christian household and then married off to a pagan and violent man. She influenced him more with the goodness of her heart, patience, and gentleness than anything else. Eventually, her husband came to faith and was baptised toward the end of his life. But she wept more for one of her sons, the highly talented Augustine who unfortunately had led a very dissolute life.
Later, Augustine wrote
"You stretched out your hand from on high and pulled my soul out of these murky depths because my mother, who was faithful to you, was weeping for me more bitterly than ever mothers wept for the bodily death of their children. In her faith and in the spiritual discernment she possessed by your gift she regarded me as dead; and you heard her, O Lord, you heard her and did not scorn those tears of hers which gushed forth and watered the ground beneath her eyes wherever she prayed. Yes, you did indeed hear her.”
It is indeed hard to imagine how many tears Monica wept for her son, since according to him she wept more bitterly than other mothers do for the death of their children. Although she thought fervent prayer was the best way to reach the desired goal -the conversion of her son – she did not stop there. Monica kept on begging a local bishop to speak to Augustine but the bishop made excuses and did not see him. Again and again, she begged the bishop to meet with Augustine. In the end the bishop impatiently replied: "Go away now; but hold on to this: it is inconceivable that he should perish, a son of tears like yours."
Lord, we give you thanks for those who have shed tears out of concern for our well-being and for their prayers and hardship in fostering our spiritual growth. Amen.