St. Monica, a praying mother

St. Monica (1465), by Gozzoli

St. Monica (1465), by Benozzo Gozzoli. (WikiPaintings.org)

I’ve slowly been trying to read through St. Augustine's Confessions in the original Latin for a while now. I’ve had to lay it down recently, but I hope to pick it up again soon. I am pushed for time today, but it being the memorial of St. Monica, Augustine’s pious mother, I wanted to share briefly. This is a passage from the Confessions that was especially poignant to me, having been a wayward son myself, and having a loving mother who prays for me without ceasing.

Woe is me! And dare I say that you were silent, my God, while I wandered further from you? Were you not then silent to me? And whose, but yours, were those words, which through my mother, your faithful one, you sang in my ears? These to me seemed only womanly advice, which would be embarrassing to obey. But they were yours, and I did not know. I thought you were silent and only she had spoken, but you were speaking to me; and in her, it was you who were being disdained by me, by me, her son, the son of your handmaid, your servant.

—St. Augustine, Confessions, II.3

[I am pretty sure this is my own translation, but I honestly don’t remember for sure (I posted it on my Facebook wall a couple of years ago). Tomorrow is St. Augustine’s memorial, and I hope to be able to share a little more.]

11 thoughts on “St. Monica, a praying mother

  1. What a coincidence that just yesterday i browsed online and decided to order Confessions translated by R.S.Pine Coffin. And today i read your post referring to St.Monica and Confessions. A sign?

    • Even more of a coincidence, yesterday was St. Monica’s and today is St. Augustine’s feast day. 🙂 What brought you to order it? Maybe it was a spiritual recommendation from the author himself. 😉 Pine-Coffin’s translation is pretty good. I read it with my students a couple of years ago.

      • Given my present state of mind, I wanted to read some heart-changing Christian literature and my search led to this book. I wasn’t aware of the feasts then. Now I know 🙂

        I went with Pine-Coffin’s translation because my online search led me to believe that he had simplified the Confessions. Confessions in its original style are too heavy for me for the moment. 🙂

  2. I wonder if Saint Augustine realized that his journey had clear parallels to Marian theology and the Church? And it’s not just Saint Augustine either. In my recent readings in Methodism, I am once again reminded of just how vital Susanna Wesley was to her children. It’s a definite theological truth that has been lost or thrown aside by far too many Christians.

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