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Is God Going to Answer My Prayer?
Memorial of Saint Monica
Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’ While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked. Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
Opening Prayer: Prayer of St. Augustine, the son of St. Monica.
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, so that I love only what is holy. Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen.
- When God Isn’t Answering Our Prayers: St. Monica spent years and years praying for the conversion of her husband and son while they continued to live a pagan life of licentiousness and debauchery, far from grace. Like the foolish virgins in this parable, St. Monica may have been tempted to become drowsy and fall asleep. Yet, she persevered. She stayed awake and kept vigil, never losing her confidence that God would answer her prayer.
- Stay Awake: As Christ tells us in this parable, “you never know neither the day nor the hour” when a moment of grace will enter a stone-cold heart. St. Monica’s local bishop would often console her, saying, “God’s time will come. Go now, it is not possible that the son of so many tears should perish.” Her prayers, authentic Christian witness, and love for her husband and son ultimately won out. She was at her husband’s bedside when he converted before dying, and she saw her son’s conversion before her own death. Because of her unwavering trust in God, her lit lamp never faltered.
- Some Things Are Reserved Only for the Lord: St. Monica did not allow the chiding and antagonism of her husband and son to take away her oil of faithful prayer. If they had succeeded, they would have ultimately robbed themselves of the graces they needed from that prayer. She loved them wholeheartedly, and she also loved her Lord. And the Lord blessed her vigilance and patience by welcoming her into the banquet of saints in heaven.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, it is hard for me at times to continue praying when I don’t think you are answering. Give me the fortitude and courage of St. Monica to continue praying and witnessing to you in my life so that my loved ones may one day light their own lamps with oil to see and love you. I believe that my prayer will not be left unanswered and that all will happen in your timing.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will take some extra time to pray fervently for the soul I have grown weary praying for.
For Further Reflection: Reflect on the first reading for the day (1Thessalonians 4:1-8), keeping St. Monica’s life in mind and her constant prayer for her son’s conversion from a life of immorality.
Lisa Small was consecrated to God within Regnum Christi in 2001, is the Communications Director for the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi in North America, and is the National Formation Director for the Regnum Christi Mission Corps.