Sunday, August 27, 2006

Pope Focuses on SS. Augustine and Monica

Monica's feast is today, Augustine's is tomorrow.

From Asia News Italy:

The pope presented Monica, a Christian from Tagaste (modern-day Tunisia), who, after the death of her husband, “dedicated herself, with courage, to the care of her three sons, including Augustine who initially caused her to suffer because of his somewhat rebellious temperament. As Augustine himself would say, his mother delivered him twice; the second time called for a long spiritual labour, made of prayer and tears but finally crowned with the joy of seeing him entirely in the service of Christ.” The comparison with current reality is clear: “How many difficulties there are today too in family ties, and how many mothers are anguished because their sons take wrong roads! Monica, a wise woman and firm in her faith, invites them not to get discouraged but to persevere in their mission as spouses and mothers, keeping their faith in God firm and holding onto prayer with perseverance.” While Benedict XVI described these situations, the silence and tacit participation of many women in the public expressed their agreement.

But the life of St Augustine, who became bishop of Hippo after a chaotic youth, is also of comfort. “All his existence was an impassioned search for truth,” said the pope. “At the end, not without prolonged interior torment, he discovered in Christ the ultimate and full meaning of his own life and of the entire history of mankind. In his adolescence, drawn to earthly beauty, ‘he threw himself’ into it – as he himself admits (cfr Confess.10:27-38) – in an egotistical and possessive manner, with behaviour that caused his pious mother no mean sorrow. But by following a tiring path, also thanks to her prayers, Augustine increasingly opened up to the fullness of truth and love, to the point of his onversion, which took place in Milan under the guidance of the bishop, St Ambrose. He thus would remain as a model of the journey towards God, supreme Truth and greatest Good. ‘Late have I loved you,’ he wrote in his renowned book of Confessions, “O Beauty, so ancient and so new, late have I loved you!

And behold, you were within me and I was outside… You were with me, and I was not with you… You called, and cried out to me and broke open my deafness; you shone forth upon me and you scattered my blindness’ (ibid).May St Augustine obtain the gift of a sincere and profound encounter with Christ for all those youth who, thirsting for happiness, seek it by travelling down wrong roads and get lost in dead ends.”

“St Monica and St Augustine invite us to turn to Mary, seat of wisdom, with faith. To her, we entrust Christian parents who, like Monica, accompany by example and prayer their children’s journey. To the Virgin, Mother of God, we commend youth so that, like Augustine, they will lean ever more towards the fullness of Truth and Love that is Christ: He alone can quench the profound desires of the human heart.”