Augustine of North Africa
Few people have the kind of far-reaching influence for the cause of Christ as the man famously called, “Augustine of Hippo” (modern-day Algeria). To this great defender of the faith, we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude. Augustine’s spiritual depth and insight shines bright in his timeless works , “The Confessions” and “The City of God”. And yet, one may confidently make the argument that this beautiful life may have never been known, nor would these great works have come to existence without the relentless, passionate prayers of Monica, Augustine’s mother.
Clinging to a Desperate Faith
Monica’s heart was burdened deeply for her son. Aware of his pursuit of sinful pleasures, she never wavered in her pursuit of God on behalf of her son. Her many emotional appeals that Augustine would choose to turn to Christ were often met with rejection. Though having to endure many sleepless nights while her pillow lie soaked in a mother’s tears, she clung to a desperate faith in the God who not only hears our prayers, but who deeply feels our pain.
A Bright Shining Sun Leading Unto the Perfect Day
Many, many years had come and gone while Augustine experienced the vanities of life. However, even while in the very throes of his pleasure-seeking, Augustine was ever conscience of his depravity and inability to change himself. And on one faithful day, while in his garden feeling a peculiar torment of soul, Augustine began to read Paul’s epistle to the Romans. He immediately began to experience the blessedness of the peace of God through the soul’s gaze upon the excellency of Christ. The news of her son’s conversion filled Monica’s heart like the bright shining sun that leads unto the perfect day (Pr. 4:18).
Even as we acknowledge and celebrate the grace of God in the life of a very towering theologian and apologist of Christian history, may we be also careful to remember Monica, an unsung hero who dared to hope against all hope (Rom. 4:18)