Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ahhh, St. Monica

I used to pray to her constantly for my husband's conversion. Her perseverance was my light.

I still ask for her intercession for others ... some of them are people I don't see anymore. I'm thinking of a friend from college. We fell out of touch several years ago -- I don't think he ever got over his annoyance at my conversion, and I wonder sometimes if he would still think of my prayers for him as "condescending."

I remember that feeling so well -- bristling at someone's prayers for me. The arrogance! Who were they to decide that I needed prayers, anyway? The very fact that they were asking their version of God to "help" or "change" me struck me as extraordinarily patronizing.

So, perhaps remember that if you're praying for someone's conversion.

At some stages in the conversion process, we don't really want to hear about your prayers. 

That doesn't mean we don't need them. That we won't one day understand them. It doesn't mean we don't want your love and friendship.

It just means -- sometimes -- keeping one's mouth closed a little more often than one might like.

At the same time -- and this can be even trickier than not talking -- it means knowing when to speak up, when to speak the truth in love.  But that's really another post, which will be partially inspired by my own experience, and partially by this bit of explanation from the St. Monica entry at Women for Faith and Family:

During this anguished period of prayer for her son, Monica consulted a bishop who had himself been a Manichaean before he became a Christian. He declined to intervene with Augustine, whom, the bishop correctly observed, was not open to hearing the truth. She persisted tearfully, but he refused to intervene. Nevertheless, the bishop consoled Monica that "the child of those tears shall never perish", which she took as a sign from God. Though he continued in his heresies for nine years, Monica followed Augustine to Rome and then to Milan, in an effort to rescue her son from his errors. In Milan she met Ambrose, who helped lead Augustine into the true faith.

Monica's earthly anguish was prolonged, but God was leading. He always does.

1 comment:

claire said...

These are good thoughts. Thank you.