In the Catholic Church calendar, we remember St. Monica on August 27 and St. Augustine of Hippo on August 28. They both lived in the 4th Century in Northern Africa and Italy.
St Monica is the patron saint of mothers. She had a great influence on people in her life: through her prayers and humble example her pagan husband and her cantankerous mother-in-law became Christians. Augustine was her renegade, sinful son and was converted eventually through the prayers of Monica and the teachings of St. Ambrose, the bishop of Milan. Augustine became the bishop of Hippo and one of the greatest Fathers of the Church.
In his writings Augustine admits that before he was baptized , he prayed” Lord make me pure, but not yet.” That is a prayer that all of us can appreciate. Like Augustine, who knew what God wanted from him and who was caught up in the life he was leading, we are hesitant in giving our lives to God. We fear that God may take us up on our offer to Him! We don’t fully trust God.
There is a Christian website that is very helpful for men to grow in the ways of trusting God through prayer and self denial. It is intended for married men but is also very helpful for single men. Here are some sentences from this website, www.e5men.org.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for her. [Ephesians 5:21]
The e5 Man fasts for his bride as a way to imitate Jesus as described by Saint Paul in his letter to the Ephesians, chapter 5 (for which the e5 is named). e5 Men fast in unison on bread and water for at least one 24 hour day per month – preferably the 1st Wednesday of the month.
Jesus made a bodily sacrifice on the cross for his bride the church to present her to God the Father “without spot or wrinkle.” (Eph 5, 27) By fasting for our earthly bride and joining our sufferings to Christ’s we intercede for grace for our brides. At the same time our act of bodily love in union with
Christ accelerates our own conversion.
By making this sacrifice for the women in our lives we live out the essence of the gospel through a very particular act of self denial. To lay down one’s body out of love for another is the central message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Membership is not limited to married men. For single men, their fast may be dedicated to their future bride (known or unknown). For widowers or those unlikely to get married, the beneficiary of their fasts may be for a daughter, a sister, or a granddaughter, a former girl friend or any woman who might be in great need. For the consecrated celibate man the benefit of their fast can be for the benefit of the community they serve or for consecrated celibate women, or for the Church at large.”
Please check out www.e5men.org , a great support for Catholic men to grow in the ways of prayer and self-denial for the love of the women in their lives. St Monica and St Augustine would approve!!