So we are called to pray and even sacrifice for our children and their future vocations, it is part of our christion motherhood. Within christian motherhood there is always spiritual motherhood.
St Monica understands only too well this questioning, this temptation to doubt the efficacy of it all. In St Monica's case she was blessed to have a Bishop, a saint in fact, St Ambrose to give his paternal wisdom and advice.
"With bitter tears she cried on God to help her; her grief seemed greater than she could bear. At last the night came, and with it peace. As she slept, exhausted with weeping, she had a dream which brought her a strange sense of hope and comfort. It seemed to her that she was standing on a narrow rule or plank of wood, her heart weighed down with sorrow as it had been all through the day.
Suddenly there came towards her a young man radiant and fair of face. Smiling at her, he asked the cause of her tears. " I am weeping," she answered, " for the loss of my son." " Grieve no more, then," he replied, " for, look, your son is standing there beside you." Monica turned her head. It was true; Augustine stood at her side on the plank of wood. " Be of good cheer," continued the stranger, " for where you are there shall he be also."
Then Monica awoke; the words were ringing in her ears; it seemed to her that God had spoken. In the morning she went straight to Augustine and told him of her dream. " Perhaps," suggested her son, anxious to turn it to his own advantage," it means that you will come to see things as I do " No said Monica firmly, " for he did not say, Where he is you shall be, but, Where you are there he shall be. Augustine was even more struck by the earnestness of his mother's answer than by the dream itself, though he pretended to make light of both.
Not long after Monica went to see a certain holy Bishop (St Ambrose), that she might beg him to use his influence with Augustine to bring him back to the truth. The wise old man listened attentively to her story. " Let him alone for the present, but pray much," was his advice, " for as yet he is obstinate and puffed up with these new ideas. If what you tell me of your son is true, he will read for himself, and will find out his error."
Then, seeing the anguish of the poor mother, he told her that he himself in his youth had been led away by the Manicheans, and had even been employed in transcribing their works. It was that which had saved him; for, as he wrote, the truth became clear to him; he had seen how much their doctrines were to be avoided.
Then, as Monica wept for disappointment for she had counted greatly on his help a sudden pity seized him. " Go thy ways, and God bless thee," he cried. " It is impossible that a son of such tears should perish." Monica s dream and the words of the Bishop were like rays of light in the darkness. She drew fresh hope from them and redoubled her prayers."
It is always beautiful to see examples of mothers turning their children back towards the faith to then in that joy, see that child embrace a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. A famous modern example of this would be Father John Corapi. He attributes his conversion to his mother's prayers. He is truly a modern St Augustine!
Here is our feastday cake for our family that we made today, it's symbolism tells us that through St Monica's prayerful tears, she raised up a bishop, she raised up a saint!
To see how this was made see my posting over at Catholic Cuisine.