Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Today, Aug. 27, we remember St. Monica, and tomorrow we will remember her son, St. Augustine: Their testimonies can be of great consolation and help for many families also of our time.
Monica, born in Tagaste, in present-day Algeria (in Souk-Arhas), of a Christian family, lived in an exemplary way her mission of wife and mother, helping her husband Patricius to discover, little by little, the beauty of faith in Christ and the strength of evangelical love, capable of overcoming evil with good.
After his death, which occurred prematurely, Monica dedicated herself with courage to the care of her three children, two boys and a girl, among them St. Augustine, who in the beginning made her suffer with his rather rebellious temperament.
As Augustine himself would say later, his mother gave him birth twice; the second time required a long spiritual labor, made up of prayer and tears, but crowned in the end by the joy of seeing him not only embrace the faith and receive baptism, but also dedicate himself entirely to the service of Christ.
How many difficulties there are also today in family relationships and how many mothers are anguished because their children choose mistaken ways!
Monica, a wise and solid woman in the faith, invites them not to be discouraged, but to persevere in their mission of wives and mothers, maintaining firm their confidence in God and clinging with perseverance to prayer.
As to Augustine, his whole life was an impassioned search for truth. In the end, not without a long interior storm, he discovered in Christ the ultimate and full meaning of his life and of the whole of human history. In adolescence, attracted by earthly beauty, he "fell upon" it -- as he says honestly (Confessions 10, 27-38) -- selfishly and possessively with behavior that caused some sorrow in his pious mother.
But through a toilsome journey, thanks also to her prayers, Augustine opened himself ever more to the fullness of truth and love, to the point of conversion, which occurred in Milan, under the guidance of the bishop, St. Ambrose.
Thus he remains as model of the way to God, supreme truth and good. "Late have I loved you," he wrote in his famous book of the Confessions, "O beauty so ancient and so new .... For behold you were within me, and I outside; and I sought you outside .... You were with me and I was not with you ... You called and cried to me and broke open my deafness: And you sent forth your beams and shone upon me and chased away my blindness" (ibid.).
May St. Augustine obtain for us also the gift of a sincere and profound encounter with Christ, an encounter above all also for all those young people who, thirsty for happiness, seek it in mistaken ways and get lost in dead ends.
St. Monica and St. Augustine invite us to turn with confidence to Mary, seat of wisdom. To her we entrust Christian parents so that, like Monica, they will support their children on their way with their example and prayer.
To the virgin mother of God, we commend young people so that, as Augustine, they will always tend to the fullness of truth and love, which is Christ: He alone can satisfy the profound needs of the human heart.
Pope Benedict XVI - Angelus message given at Castel Gandolfo on 27 August 2006
[Translation by ZENIT]
Monday, 28 August 2006
Pope Benedict on Saints Monica and Augustine
I don't usually post the Pope's messages because they are available in so many other places on the Internet. But I have just read yesterday's Angelus message, courtesy of Zenit and it is such a fine example of simple pastoral preaching that I couldn't resist putting it here. I think I will print off some copies for my parishioners.