Praying for Patience: St. Monica’s Example of Perseverance and Praying with Expectant Faith

Praying for Patience

Nothing is far from God.

St. Monica

The Patron Saint of Patience
The first thing that I learned about St. Monica is that she’s the mother of St. Augustine. The second thing that I learned about her is that she’s the patron Saint of patience, and it wasn’t hard to figure out why. She was always patient with the people around her, especially her family, and especially when they ridiculed her for her faith. St. Monica was patient with her prayers, knowing that they would be answered according to God’s perfect timing. She prayed avidly and unceasingly for the conversion of her son, and although it took decades, she eventually saw the fruits of her prayers. St. Monica’s life was far from easy, but she remained patient and steadfast in her faith through it all.

St. Monica’s Life
Monica’s parents arranged an unusual marriage for their Catholic daughter and a young pagan man. Patricius had a bad temper and harassed Monica because of her faith, but he still respected her as his wife. Monica’s bitter mother-in-law, who was as hot-headed as Patricius also lived with them. Instead of growing frustrated with them, Monica prayed for her husband and her mother-in-law. Because of her prayers, her husband and mother-in-law became Christians shortly before their deaths.

Augustine, her most well-known child, had a wild and immoral childhood. When he went to school in Carthage at the age of 17, he took on the Manichean heresy, which caused him to believe that “all flesh is evil.” When he told his mother this at the dinner table, she raised her voice at him and drove him away. After this, Monica heard in a vision that her son would return to the faith. Always praying and fasting for her son, Monica stayed as close to Augustine as she could, following him to Milan and Rome. Finally, when he was 29, Augustine was baptized by Bishop Ambrose in 387. Because of Monica’s fervent prayers, Augustine became not only a Christian, but also a great Saint.

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Praying for Conversions with St. Monica
What I love the most about St. Monica is that through arguments and spiritual warfare, she never lost hope. She remained steadfast in her prayers for her family despite all odds. She prayed with expectant faith, not merely wishing, but fiercely believing that the Lord would bring her loved ones back to him.

Click here to read How to Pray with Expectant Faith!

A prayer intention that became near and dear to my heart lately is conversions. I’ve always wanted to help people fall in love with Jesus and his Church, and I realized that, at least for now, the best way that I can do this is through prayer. For the past several months, I’ve been praying for conversions, particularly of loved ones. As I prayed, I found myself thinking of St. Monica, and recently, I finally started asking for her intercession. There’s nothing I want more than to be united in the Eucharist with everyone I love, but I often doubt that will happen. Knowing that the Lord wants to answer my prayers, when I feel myself doubting, I take a deep breath and say, “Lord, I believe that [name] will come back to you.” I’ve asked St. Monica to pray with me, and she encourages me to keep praying.

If you’re trying to grow in patience, look to St. Monica as an example and ask to share in her patience. If you’re praying to a loved one to return to the Church or to come to Jesus for the first time, ask for St. Monica’s intercession. When it becomes frustrating and praying for conversions seems futile, remember that St. Monica was there. She lived through that, persevered in prayer, and lived to see her son surrender his life to Jesus. When you feel like giving up, ask St. Monica to join you in praying for conversions and imagine you and your loved one together in Heaven praising God forever. Please know that I’m praying for your conversion intentions, too.

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