Title: Saint Monica and the Power of Persistent Prayer
Authors: Mike Aquilina and Mark W. Sullivan
Page Count: 128
Current Price: $12.95
If when you read this book, you are not called to action, then you’re not really reading it. Time and again I have read a page or two and have taken the authors up on their gentle prodding challenges to reach out and touch someone else. I knew this book would touch the deepest places of my heart because my husband is an atheist and my step-son Aaron is no longer living with us. Now, tell me why didn’t I read this earlier? Fear probably. But, with God and St. Monica, there is nothing to fear. Through this book I have learned to emulate St. Monica’s actions and demeanor:
She was a woman who possessed the kind of virtue that won respect without demanding it…She would never confront him (St. Augustine, her son) when he was angry. Nor however, would she fail to speak up. She would wait until he was calm and then make her point. (pp 22-23)
Isn’t that something to strive for in our relationships with husband and children (in this case my step-son)?
The set up of the book is really insightful and impactful. There is a topic, tied in with a meditation from St. Augustine’s writings mainly, and then a resolution with prayer. It’s the resolution and prayer that are really the action items while the meditations are just the gems and food for thought that help you sink your teeth into what it all means.
For example, the chapter that really touched me was Chapter 3: Stay Close. It’s about
respect[ing] each child’s ability to think outside the box…even when the box is one we made for them and furnished with love. (p. 52)
As I read this, it had been only a couple of weeks since Aaron left. I knew that I had access to him on Facebook and via cell phone, but would he return the attempts I made to reach out? I was sitting in that holding pattern since he’d walked out the door. Until I read these words:
We have wondrous options for regular communication. We should use them, prayerfully, as a means of encouragement. We should use them to express our love. Our communications need not, and should not be a constant moral harangue or overtly religious witness. We can accomplish a lot by our simple constancy and our genuine care. We can serve as the fixed point in a turbulent world. we’re there to catch them when they’re ready to fall. (p. 53)
Immediately after reading this, I felt called to action and sent a simple text to Aaron letting him know that I was thinking of him and praying for him especially during communion at mass. I said that I loved him and missed him and wished him a good night. He didn’t respond right away, but I wasn’t expecting that. It took him a few days, and I received a short but positive response. That was a little over a week ago. Just last night, unprompted, I received a text from him saying that he appreciates all of my prayers.
Thank you St. Monica for your persistent prayer for your son, St. Augustine and for interceding on my behalf for my step-son Aaron. Hold him close to you as I will in prayer.
There’s something to this saint and I am SO glad that I jumped past my fear, humbled myself and learned from her. Love and persistence. Self refining and remaining steadfast in prayer. Sounds simple doesn’t it? I highly recommend this book, if not for the prayers following each reflection that read like something I would pray as a mother from my own words; get it for the small nudges and calls to action that can bring about positive change in the most strained and distant relationships.
This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Saint Monica and the Power of Persistent Prayer. The Catholic Company is the best resource for all your seasonal needs such as First Communion gifts as well as ideas and gifts for the special papal Year of Faith.