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Prayer – Don’t Give Up!

Posted Aug 28, 2017

The most familiar type of prayer to most of us is the petition. In fact, outside of memorized prayers, probably the first thing we learned to do was to ask God for something. However our petitions often seem to go unanswered. We pray for peace in the world, an end to abortion, to be healed of a disease, or to have child start going to Church again. Yet, war, abortion, sickness, and wayward children are still present in the
world.

St. Monica is known as one of the great petitioners in the Catholic faith. Married to a pagan husband and mother of St. Augustine, she is best known as the person who prayed for years and years for the conversion of her son and her husband to the Christian faith. Her prayers were answered when her husband became a Christian the year before he died and her son who became a doctor of the Church, one of the greatest theologians in the history of the Christian Church, and a saint. Why was she successful and we so often don’t seem to be? 

St. Monica’s prayers were effective in bringing about salvation because she was following Christ. St. Monica’s prayer was part of how she lived her life. Despite suffering, rejection, and being ignored she never stopped working for what she prayed for. In one comical story, St. Monica followed her son to Rome, and he found out and secretly left for another city. That was how persistent she was, she not only prayed she was moved by her prayer to seek to bring about what she asked for. What I think is interesting about St. Monica is this: If her prayers for the conversion of her family had never been granted she would still have prayed for them and tried to convert them until the day she died, because she prayed out of love for them.

St. Monica teaches us that we petition God out of love for those around us. This means that we petition God for good changes but then we must act on those prayers and seek to bring God’s love and healing and peace to those around us. When enough of us do this for a long enough time change and conversion happens. When we give our lives over to petition and acting to bring them about: Wars end, hatred turns to love, children are received rather than rejected, and wayward family members encounter the love of Christ.

Peace, Fr. Todd