St. Ambrose spoke these words to a mother begging him to help guide her wayward son. The bishop, realizing the young man was not ready to receive instruction, denied her request but encouraged the woman, whom we now know as St. Monica, to keep praying for her son.
St. Monica is the patron Saint of alcoholics, conversions, mothers, and wives. Her steadfastness in faith is not only an example for us but a great source of grace.
Monica was no stranger to suffering. Before the seventeen years she spent praying for her son, she had already endured years of praying for the conversion of her husband and her mother-in-law. I wish we had her diary, but we don’t. We know parts of her story from what we read in her son’s diary.
In his Confessions, St. Augustine of Hippo writes:
From his point of view, he owes his conversion to her prayers. We would not have a Saint Augustine without Saint Monica. But I wonder, would we have a Saint Monica without Augustine? Would we have a Saint Monica without the waywardness of the son?
As a mother, I often find comfort in the story of Monica and Augustine. When my heart is riven by worry for my children, I hear God speak to me through the words of St. Ambrose, reminding me that my tears, though hidden to most, are always seen by God. These tears not only water the ground my children walk on, but they also soften my heart for the work God is doing in my own soul. For the suffering God allows to come our way will always be for good; it will be for the greater glory of God.