This past week we celebrated the feast days of St. Monica and St. Augustine. These two incredible saints were vital to me early on in my reconversion. St. Augustine’s Confession’s met me in College when I was completely lost, but not yet searching. We were required to read his book in a religion class freshman year. Freshman me was not ready for this book. After many intriguing discussions in class, I set it aside carefully on my bookshelf with full confidence that it was a book I would read in the future.
Sure enough, I kept track of that book all this time.
Shortly after becoming pregnant with Cooper I picked it back up. Instantly I was struck by St. Monica, Augustine’s mom. There isn’t a ton written about her, but St. Augustine’s account of her motherly affection captivated me, and I knew I wanted to get to know her. I prayed for her motherly intercession in my own life – that she would adopt me as a daughter and pray for me in the same way she prayed for St. Augustine. I clung to her sorrowful, heartfelt prayers, and to the words that St. Ambrose spoke to her in regards to her sons soul,
“It cannot be that the son of those tears should perish.”
And now in my own journey as a wife and mother I am continually inspired by both her and her son.
I searched for you outside myself, while all along you were within me. You were in me, but I was not in You.St. Augustine
These two saints were the first to inspire my journey of prayer. Previously, I’d only recite memorized prayer or shallow prayer asking for something. I’d always be upset by God’s lack of response. But over the years I have come to realize that prayer in the beginning is immature and angsty.
We cry out in our time of need, expecting relief. But prayer, to be truly fruitful, needs to be rooted in God. Which means we need to get to know Him. We need to study scripture and listen to His voice. We need to study the saints and understand how He answered them. We need to sit in silence and listen.
Many people will say, “but I prayed about it.” There are a few questions that need to be asked about your prayer:
- Are you rooted in scripture? Have you listened to the word of God?
- Are you waiting to hear what you want?
- Do you trust Him?
Prayer is conversation based on a relationship. We all must start somewhere but we have to dig deeper. We need to learn who God is to know what He would say.
Pray with the courage that He hear’s you and is working for your good. Pray with the peace that He is with you and will deliver you. And don’t forget our Blessed Mother. Especially when deep in sin, cry out to her. She will help bear Christ within you.