As he drew near to the gate of the city, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.
Today is the Memorial for St. Monica, who was the mother of St. Augustine. She is best known for her persevering prayer for his conversion. She is known as the patron saint of all mothers.
In his early days, St. Augustine was a very sinful man. It grieved the heart of his devout mother and she stormed heaven with her prayers continually. After many years her prayers were answered. Augustine finally repented of his evil ways and submitted to baptism. St. Monica died content that her son was in the hands of God.
In today's Gospel a widow receives her son back to life. It is a literal rendering of what St. Monica experienced in the spiritual. Her son who was dead was now alive. How can we who have children gone astray experience the same?
First of all, we must acknowledge that each person has his/her own free will. God will not force Himself on anyone regardless of how hard we plead. But He does continue to pour out His Spirit upon these wayward souls, urging them to come to Him. There really is something to be said for such prayer. St. John tells us if any one sees his brother committing what is not a deadly sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not deadly, (1 Jn. 5:16). St. James tells us the prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects, (Jms. 5:16). Our Lord promised us that if we continue to ask, seek, and knock, we will receive the thing we are asking for.
If you've been praying for a son or daughter who has been straying from the Lord, don't give up. With St. Monica as your example, continue to pray. You may even ask St. Monica to intercede on your behalf since we know she has such power in prayer. As we continue in prayer, let us trust that we, too, will see the glory of God!