Memorial of Saint Monica

1Cor 1:1-9
; Ps145:2-7; Mt 24:42-51

Saint Monica loved her son and wanted him to enjoy a new life in Christ.  She prayed with a great heart and with many tears for Augustine to be converted.  Anyone who has come to know and love the Lord has a burning desire that all come to know and love the Lord.  Such a missionary desire flows out of a life filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit and overflowing with the fruits of the Holy Spirit.  Indeed Saint Monica could never fully enjoy the abundant life in Christ until she could share that life with her son.  Saints have but one regret that is really two regrets, that growth in prayer didn’t happen earlier and that this new life could not be shared among all people.  Saint Monica lived long enough to sing a new song of praise and join with her son to rejoice in their king.  She was adorned with victory because her son came to know the love that God has for his people.

The God of the Psalmist is unsearchable.  No matter how deeply or how extensively we search for the Great and Wondrous LORD, what we find is that the LORD is unsearchable.  Unsearchable in the sense that no matter how we search we cannot fully find because the mystery of God is still mystery, even after we find him or he finds us.  What matters most is that God finds us, not that we find God.  Eventually we learn that the only regret that a saint has is that conversion and holiness did not come earlier.  We also delight in the LORD that any moment without him is a true waste of time, and all the time that has already been wasted causes true regret.  His greatness is unsearchable,  as today’s psalm proclaims.  Once we encounter the splendor and glorious majesty of the LORD, we discourse of his power and his terrible deeds and declare his greatness.  Indeed, with all the Saints in glory we publish the fame of his abundant goodness and joyfully sing of his justice.  We taste that the Lord is good and we hunger and thirst for more of his goodness.  He touches us and we burn for his peace, to be consumed by the fire of his love.  Mystics of every age speak the same language of the “I know not what” that has so captivated and consumed them.

In his introduction to this first letter to the Corinthians, Saint Paul echoes the teaching of the Church that all who are in fellowship with Jesus Christ are called to a life of holiness.  This is the same teaching that Saint Augustine eventually came to,  and it is the explicit teaching of the Second Vatican Council.  The call to holiness is universal.  Saint Paul greets those who are “called to be holy…irreproachable on the day of the Lord Jesus Christ.”  Such an adventure begins with the bestowal of grace in Christ Jesus.  We, the unworthy,  are freely given that which we could never give to ourselves, grace and peace.  This gift of the Father through the Son and in the Holy Spirit is all that we need to become enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge.  With this maturation process unfolding in the mystery of our lives, we wait for the final coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The life of a saint is by no means boring; holiness is high adventure.  Gradually, we no longer recognize ourselves; we begin to see the face of the Lord on one another’s face and in the mirror that is Christ we can see no longer ourselves but him.  Such a lifelong conversion happens suddenly and unexpectedly so that we do not become too self-focused and caught up in vain glory.

The summons to holiness is too often put off, until another day.  We do not want to face the truth of our own lack of holiness and failure in virtue.  If we are honest we can admit that conversion was “too late”, and Saint Matthew tells us of the command to “stay awake!”  We are now in touch with the urgency of grace and mercy.  When we are awakened to the love of God in Christ through the Holy Spirit we are like a servant who has learned the precious lesson of today’s parable: “You know not the day nor the hour!”  Indeed the primary conversion is the conversion to urgency.  Once converted, we cannot wait for the Lord’s return; we long to spread the good news and to hasten the coming of the Lord by our lives of sacrifice and prayer!  We just can’t wait any longer.  Indeed, the pleas of the martyrs under the altar of God in the New Temple is “how long oh Lord?”  This becomes our plea as we wait for the redemption of our bodies.  The urgency with which we pray overcomes our years of waiting and pining that it is too late.  Indeed, it is never too late for the Lord Jesus to work wonders and uncover the true beauty and brightness of our converted and transformed nature.  Such a holy longing grows in us each time we enter into the mysteries of the Eucharist, and, as Saint Augustine first said, “We become what we eat!”