St. Monica: Carrying the Family Cross

The canonized women who are mothers add to our altars a special kind of incense – a two-fold fragrance of motherhood, both natural and spiritual. The very definition of their sainthood reveals that the life of the soul was sacrosanct to them and that while they nurtured the physical life of their children, it was eternal life which they desired to impart above all. Read the rest…

The “Monica” Method: How to Evangelize Your Loved One

The next two days mark the feasts of two great saints of the Church, a mother and a son, whose lives give testimony to a sure-fire method of evangelizing those we love.

St. Monica (August 27) is the mother of St. Augustine (August 28), though Augustine was no saint when Monica began her earnest intercession. At that time he was a pagan and a member of the heretical Manichean sect. He was known to be a carouser who lived with a woman to whom he had fathered a child. A brilliant mind, he was “devoted” to his views and his lifestyle, and had no intention of converting to the Catholic faith.

St. Monica was distraught about her son’s dissolute ways and decided to do something about it. She prayed. And in the end, her prayers won the soul of her son.

What was it that made St. Monica’s prayers so effective? I think five strategies are primarily responsible. Perhaps you can implement them as you seek to evangelize those you love.

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A future good

August 27
“An inspiration urging us to give up some true good we
already possess in order to pursue a future good is suspect.”
~St. Francis de Sales
For Reflection:
Sometimes the evil one keeps us in the pursuit of what seems to be a better or a greater good. This is only to keep us from completing that which God has intended for us. Have I fallen victim to this ploy of Satan in the past? Am I being tempted to fall ploy to it now? (See tomorrow’s Grace Line for another tactic the evil one uses to keep us from fulfilling God’s will for us.)
  

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When God sends his inspirations

August 25
“When God sends his inspirations into a man’s heart, the first one
He gives is that of obedience.”
~St. Francis de Sales
For Reflection:
The first sign if something is not of God is that it is disobedient to His laws or the laws of His Church. Is there something out of order in my life? Have I rationalized it so that I think it is God’s will? Ask for the grace to be set free from the delusion.
  

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I worship Thee

August 21
 I worship Thee, sweet will of God!
And all Thy ways adore,
And every day I live I seem
To love Thee more and more.
Thou wert the end, the blessed rule
Of Jesu’s toils and tears;
Thou wert the passion of His heart
Those three and thirty years.
~Father Faber
For Reflection:
Is the will of God “the passion” of my heart?

 

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A broken heart

August 20

“A broken heart and God’s will done would be better than that
God’s will should be avoided.”

~R. H. Benson

 

For Reflection:

If I truly believe that nothing happens outside of the providence of God, and that even in the sorrows and trials of life God is working out a great good, then how can hope and confident assurance in God escape me? What sweet and holy joy can be found in the midst of pain and suffering? (See tomorrow’s Grace Line for a poetic expression of this sentiment.)

  

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Root it out

August 19

“Anything that does not lead you to God is a hindrance. Root it out and
throw it far from you.”

~St. Josemaria Escriva

 

For Reflection:

What is the biggest hindrance I am currently experiencing in my relationship with God? Am I willing to root it out and throw it far from myself? How can I take practical action?

  

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Your apostolic work with souls

August 18

“[God] allows temptation so as to give you maturity, understanding and effectiveness in your apostolic work with souls, and above all, to make you humble, very humble.”

~S. Canals

 

For Reflection:

Have I seen temptation help me to mature spiritually? To be more understanding and effective in apostolic work? To humble me? How does all of this enable me to be better attuned to the will of God?

 

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God allows temptation

August 17

“[God] allows temptation, and uses it providentially
to purify you, to make you holy, to detach you more from the things of the earth, to lead you where He is and by the route He wants you to take, so as to make you happy (in a life which may not be comfortable).”

~S. Canals

 

For Reflection:

According to this quote, why does God permit us to be tempted? List them. What temptation most assails me now? Am I cooperating with grace so that God’s reasons for the temptation can be realized in me? (See tomorrow’s Grace Line for other reasons why God allows temptation).

  

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Arm ourselves against temptation

August 16

“We are able to arm ourselves against temptation through constant mortification in our work; in the way we live charity; in guarding our external and internal senses; through prayer; by fleeing the occasions of sin; and by having our time fully occupied in the fulfillment of our obligations.”

~Francis Fernandez

 

For Reflection:

Spend a few minutes meditating on these “safeguards.” Which one can I begin to implement today?

 

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