An all too familiar conversation I have with parents is one around the faithfulness of one or more of their children. This is not a conversation of judgment or even disappointment. It is a conversation of heartbreak and sadness. Often this a parent who Loves Christ and the Church. A parent who takes seriously their parental call to share the faith, especially with their child. A parent who knows that worldly success and happiness, while important, is not the true, final, or eternal measure. This is a parent who deeply loves their childand desires to spend eternity with Christ and their children. And the conversation is rooted in earnest parental concern. Sometimes there is a sense of self-doubt or self-incrimination: “What did I do wrong?” Sometimes, in fact, they did everything right. But your child, this child, is still a human person with freewill and free choice. And sometimes they choose other perceived goods than the Eternal Good of Christ lived in Christ’s Church. Much could be, and perhaps should be, said in these moments. But typically my response is simple. Listen… to the pain, the hardship, the sorrow. Encourage them in their faith. Direct them to Christ who hears our cries, especially that of mothers and fathers for their children – young and old.
St Monica is among the most famous grieving mothers. For 32-years, she prayed, fasted, cried over her son Augustine who lived an utterly worldly life. But God heard her cries and responded to her tears. Augustine eventually chose Christ and the Church, even becoming a bishop and great Spiritual Father with a pastoral heart. I often encourage parents to turn to St Monica for intercession and her son, Saint Augustine. Here is a prayer.
Chaplet Prayer for Saint Monica (Free Chaplets at the church entrances.)
This chaplet comprises a medal and 32 beads --- one for each year St. Monica wept and prayed for the conversion and salvation of her son, Augustine. There are two beads on the pendant, and six groups of five beads (one large and four small).
Begin on the medal with the prayer of St. Monica:
"O holy Monica, by your burning tears and unceasing prayers, you did save your son from eternal damnation. Obtain for us the grace ever to comprehend what is most conducive to the salvation of our children, so that we may effectively restrain them from the way of sin and lead them by that of virtue and piety to heaven!"
On the first pendant bead, pray: Our Father
On the second pendant bead, pray: Come, Holy Spirit
On the loop: For each group of five, on the large bead, pray one of the petitions below (#1-6), followed by Hail Mary on each of the four small beads:
1) I join my tears to yours --- against the spirit of Despair, toward the spirit of Hope --- Saint Monica, pray for me (us) in the Holy Name of Jesus! 4 Hail Marys...
2) I join my tears to yours --- against the spirit of Anger, toward the spirit of Love --- Saint Monica, pray for me in the Holy Name of Jesus! 4 Hail Marys...
3) I join my tears to yours --- against the spirit of Blame, toward the spirit of Forgiveness --- Saint Monica, pray for me in the Holy Name of Jesus! 4 Hail Marys...
4) I join my tears to yours --- against the spirit of Suspicion, toward the spirit of Trust --- Saint Monica pray for me in the Holy Name of Jesus! 4 Hail Marys...
5) I join my tears to yours --- against the spirit of Doubt, toward the spirit of Faith --- Saint Monica, pray for me in the Holy Name of Jesus! 4 Hail Marys...
6) I join my tears to yours --- against the spirit of Fear, toward the spirit of Peace --- Saint Monica, pray for me in the Holy Name of Jesus! 4 Hail Marys...
Returning to pendant, on the first bead pray:
"Saint Monica, Exemplary mother of the great Augustine, you perseveringly pursued your wayward son not with wild threats but with prayerful cries to heaven. Intercede for all mothers in our day so that they may learn to draw their children to God. Teach them how to remain close to their children, even the prodigal sons and daughters who have sadly gone astray."
On the next pendant bead, pray:
"O great Saint Augustine, take our children under your protection! To our efforts in their behalf, join your intercession for them with God. Exert all your influence and, with the compassion of your loving heart, intercede with the Most Holy Trinity for them. Permit not that our children, sanctified in the waters of baptism, should through mortal sin be banished from the presence of God and suffer eternal punishment."
On the medal: "Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Eternal Father, have mercy on us and on our children! Lord, graciously hear us! Amen."
Holy Family, Calling All Children to Remain Faithful, Pray for us.
~ Fr Jeremy M. Gries