Saints & Blesseds Vocations That Give Hope IV

VIII.  Married Saints & Blesseds Through the Centuries by Ignatius Press 2001 (again looking for some ecclesiastical approval)

 Invasions (Goths who were fleeing the Huns), civil wars (Theodosius vs powerful usurper Magnus Maximus), internal corruption and financial desperation, and religious discord  (Trinitarian Christianity vs Arian heresy)

Monica (d387) and Patricius[1]

Monica born in 331 Tagaste North Africa, to a very pious family where Christian morality was held in high esteem.

Patricius was a pagan who had a small estate in Tagaste and belonged to the town council. He had problems with anger, violence, and infidelity. When Patricius became angry, Monica did not engage her husband in both deeds and words. When his anger subsided, she would speak to him. She did not gossip about her husband’s faults. She looked forward to when God’s mercy would engulf him, he would convert, and thus be made chaste. She also regarded the marriage contract as a legal instrument making wives slaves to their husbands.

Legal marriage, pagan belief, and teaching of Christian Church wife is not chattel. 2 Realities her own pious element, but living in a pagan understanding. Best hope to convert from inside, consents to mores of the time.

As Church develops doctrine never invents it.

NB when a person is made a saint, not everything they say or do is held to account at all times. As the marriage became understood as a sacrament, the dignity of women improved greatly, and thus the expected treatment towards them shifted.

They had three children; Augustine was the oldest when she was 23 yrs. His sister, Perpetua, would become a religious superior after the early death of her husband in Hippo. His brother was  Navigius who becomes a nominal Christian. Below is an observation by a scholar:

“William Hugh Clifford Frend has observed that Navigius “was probably the most representative member of the curial class in his family at this period . . . (being) nominally a Christian, liberal-minded, skeptical of authority and believing that happiness could be found through inquiry and quest” (1988:150 citing De Academicis). Augustine elsewhere reported his brother to have been “of delicate health.” He is encountered at Cassiciacum in Italy, to which Augustine had withdrawn before baptism, where he appears briefly within the three earliest Augustinian treatises:  De ordine (I.2,5), De Academicis (I.2,5-6), and De beata vita (I.6,7;II.14) (cf. Q 4.357-358; DECL 65-66). As Peter Brown noted, Navigius “was the only one of the group of friends at Cassiciacum who persistently refused to see the point of what his brother was saying” (1967:112) – at least as is evident in and from those treatises.”

Clyde Curry Smith[2]

Monica gave all three children a genuine Christian upbringing.

Heresies of the day included Neo-Platonism (evil failure of goodness, rather evil is a lack of goodness, not a positive existence. Parasite on good.

Evil is a privation. The lack of a good that OUGHT to be there. Privation (evil) vs negation (not necessarily evil)

 Christianity (Augustine >> Plotinus right (One & All Good), Mani wrong), Persian ideas, and Mani/Manichaeism (dualistic cosmology infinite goodness and infinite evil).

Augustine is really bright and studies and challenges these erroneous ideas.

Lucifer is a distorted creature. Not equal to God. Shows a lack of good that should be there. Not all negation is evil. I cannot fly. Duh. I cannot see (physical evil).

Sin= lack of goodness which ought to be in the will (Plotinus, focus in a way, increasing integrity or not. Not one’s fault)

=the will is acting but not in conformity with its nature.

Monica spent many hours in prayer and was generous to the poor.[3]

Monica is a saint in both Catholic & Orthodox Churches.

Patricius converts before his death, don’t know when he converts in relation to Augustine’s faith journey.

Monica endures sufferings within context of the time. Modern times presume our ways are best.

False ideology, as time progresses, man’s understanding gets better.

Elizabeth Leseur married to a hard man, after her death a holy priest.

No one is called to heroism, unfortunately reality Monica could see a better outcome to suffering. Each person has to make this call with a spiritual director. Failed to recognize grace given by God to particular people to live a life heroically though not obligated to do under Christian obedience.

Our Lord does not have to give us the consolation from suffering, but it is a great mercy to Monica to see husband and son received into the church. Great mercy. Joachim trifold generosity, merited crown in heaven sufficient satisfaction.

How generous our Lord is to those who suffer and bear humiliation.

Monica did not complain, gossip her husband. We as women necessary thing

[1] Holbock 71

[2]   accessed July 15, 2022

[3]   accessed July 15, 2022