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Be Confident: God is Listening

Archbishop Listecki reflects on the conversion of St Augustine, who went on to become one of the greatest thinkers in the history of the Church.

Archbishop Listecki


Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee
 

 

In 1967, I was in my first year of college seminary. I had registered for a Latin author’s class called “The Confessions of Saint Augustine.” The “Confessions” was the first piece of western literature where an author presented a psychological, in-depth self-analysis of a soul’s journey. In the piece, Augustine traced his spiritual journey. The class not only challenged one’s ability in Latin translation, but also contributed to one’s spiritual insight. It posed reflective questions confronting all who seek the Lord. St. Augustine was definitely one of the greatest thinkers in the history of the Church, as well as western civilization.
 
While studying St. Augustine’s journey, it was evident that he, like many, did not start as a friend of the Church. Instead, he mocked, ridiculed and turned his back on the Church’s teachings. But, there was an invisible force constantly placing the truth before him. That invisible force was the continuous prayer for his conversion, which was articulated before God by his mother, St. Monica. Her persistence and demands before God eventually manifested itself in the conversion of her son, and resulted in his dedication to serve our Lord and His Church.
 
There are many parents and grandparents who worry about their children and grandchildren. Like St. Monica, they are people who believe and know the great treasure of faith. They see their children who no longer practice their faith, and are afraid that their children are denying themselves the strength and grace that comes from living one’s faith. In St. Monica, they have a champion who trusted in God, and never ceased in praying for her children. Like St. Monica, the parents and grandparents must pray for their children. This example of faithfulness cannot be denied by their sons and daughters. So, be confident! God will hear those prayers.
 
One of the most touching presentations in the “Confessions” is St. Augustine with his mother, Monica, who is dying in the port town of Ostia. For many of us who have been present when our loved ones are dying, being at the bedside of a mother, father, grandfather, grandmother or a sibling, the truth of the situation is obvious. Death is near. Words, which trivialize the seriousness of the situation, cannot be spoken. The person is dying, this is it, and we must face the inevitable. And, so it was with Monica and her son Augustine. He was worried that she would die, and they would not be able to return her home. She said to her son, “Bury my body whenever you will; let not care of it cause you any concern. One thing only I ask you, that you remember me at the altar of the Lord wherever you may be.” This is a woman of faith.
 
Many of us sometimes forget to keep our loved ones in prayer. After death, our relationship continues. We can pray for our loved ones, and they, in turn, can place our petitions before God. Why would we deny them or ourselves that relationship?
 
Today, August 28, is the feast of St. Augustine. If the very first responsibility of parents is to assist their children to heaven, then Monica fulfilled her responsibility. St. Monica’s feast day is August 27, and she was there to welcome her son, Augustine, home.
 
Our Church is being attacked from within and without. Sin has consequences. Many will present the current scandals as a legal, social or psychological crisis. For people of faith, it is a spiritual crisis. Taking a page from St. Monica, it is only through prayer that a true conversion of the heart may occur. This is Christ’s Church, and some of those in leadership have wounded the body of the Church. Many of the faithful have had their confidence shaken, but I know that the Holy Spirit will guide us through these difficult times, which have happened because some have forgotten that the Lord wants us to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

Note: This blog originally appeared as the August 28, 2018 "Love One Another" email sent to Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Milwaukee by Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki. If you are interested in signing up for these email messages, please click here.

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Darlene A. hefter
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I would love it if someone can get for me the mailing address of my cousin Fr. Charles Wester who is 85 years old and is retired and left St. Francis Home, Fond du Lac, Wi and now i do not know where he is. He married us back in 1963 .

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