I often talk about the importance of prayer in our daily lives. There has been so much said to discount the power of prayer in our lives and to make us believe that our prayers do not really accomplish anything. I will admit that it is easy to become discouraged in prayer, but still I encourage everyone to remain steadfast in prayer. Our daily prayer life brings us closer to God. It is our prayer that brings about conversion in our own lives and fosters conversion in those around us.
The memorials of two saints this past week serve to remind us of the power of prayer in our lives. On Wednesday we celebrated the feast of St. Monica. Monica grew in North Africa as a citizen of the Roman Empire. As a wife and mother, she lived a simple life of prayer. She had found great joy and fulfillment in her own life through her relationship with Christ, but she also carried a great sadness for a long time because her son had not found this same joy. She could see that her son was brilliant and had great potential, and yet he had no interest in seeking Christ in his life. She spent many years praying for her son that he would find this same joy that had made such a difference in her life.
We know that Monica's prayers were not in vain, because the day after her feast, we celebrated the feast of her son, St. Augustine. Augustine did eventually find Christ in his life and was baptized into the Church. After his baptism, he became a priest and later a bishop. He was named a doctor of the Church, and his writing even today is an inspiration to many.
Each of us knows someone we would like to see enter into a deeper relationship with Christ. St. Augustine reminds us that the grace of God is always at work in each of our lives, even when we are not aware of it. No one walks alone. St. Monica reminds us that the greatest thing we can do to bring about conversion in our world is to remain steadfast in our own prayers and set an example with our lives.