I’m at work on an interesting project — a foreword for a devotional book relating to the lives of St. Monica and St. Augustine. While I can’t say too much about the book at this point, suffice it to say that I’ve been thinking quite a lot about this saintly mother/son combo the past few days as I’ve poured over the manuscript.
As a mother, and especially a mother of sons, I can’t help but feel a special kinship with St. Monica. As my own boys mature and become more independent, she’s a regular “go to” intercessor for me. And a recent viewing of the wonderful film Restless Heart has reshaped a few of my previously held perceptions about this patroness of housewives and disappointing children. I now see in her a strength of spirit that supersedes my previously held sense of her as a spiritual (I hate to say it) nag.
I’ll also admit that I’ve never really been able to relate to St. Augustine as well as I have in the past few years as I’ve watch my babies grow into independent men with minds of their own. It’s been a goal of mine to respect their privacy as much as possible in my writing efforts over the past few years, so I won’t dwell on this more than to say I can now see things a bit more clearly from his vantage point too.
So if someone asked me, “Are you Augustine, Monica, both or neither?” I’d quickly respond with a fervant, “Monica!” I’ve always been goodie-two-shoes, so St. Augustine’s circuitous path to salvation is really not one to which I can relate. But some of my closest friends and some folks I greatly admire would definitely fall more into the Augustine camp than Monica’s. And some of you out there are probably equal parts of both saints — you have a path through life that’s led you to a kinship with both of their spirits. And likely too, we’ve got some folks who’d answer my question with a resounding, “Neither!”, and that’s fair too.
So now, I put the question to you. ”Are you Augustine, Monica, both or neither?” Why?