Several years ago on the 700 Club, I listened to the testimony of a big, burly truck driver about his conversion experience. He was involved in a serious traffic accident and was clinically dead. He saw himself hanging by thin strings over a smoking, sulphurous pit. A voice from above said , "The threads that are keeping you from falling into the abyss are the prayers of your mother."
Every family has probably had one or more of their children stray from the foundational teachings that were inculcated while they were at home. It is a source of great concern for parents. But prayer is the only hope, especially the prayers of a mother.
You may be familiar with this story. The son in question hated his father, who found him a disappointment. As a teen, he belonged to a gang of thieves who wandered the countryside committing unspeakable crimes. But his mother prayed for her son.
He fled his home, taking a prostitute with him, with whom he fathered an illegitimate child. Though very intelligent, he failed out of several colleges and universities. Still, his mother prayed. In fact she prayed for over 16 years for his conversion, which occurred one evening when he happened to open a Bible and read the Gospel of Matthew.
Filled with the spirit of repentance, he wrote the following testimony of his conversion:
Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new.
Late have I loved you.
You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you.
In my unlovliness, I plunged into the lovely things
which you created.
You were with me but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you;
Yet if they had not been in you, they would not have been at all.
You called...You shouted...you broke through my deafness.
You flashed..You shone..You dispelled my blindness.
You breathed your fragrance on me. I drew in breath
and now I pant for you.
I have tasted you; now I hunger and thirst for more.
You touched me and I burned for your peace...
I make no effort to conceal my wounds...You are my physician
I am your patient.
You are merciful; I stand in need of mercy!!
The errant son was St. Augustine of Hippo, who became one of the great philosophers and theologians of the Church. The mother was St. Monica. What if Monica had prayed for just 15 years, 11 months and 29 days? It was her perseverance and love that moved the heart of God. And so I encourage parents to pray for their children. God is especially touched by a mother's prayer. His Mother's prayer...Pray for us, Oh Holy Mother of God. Hear our petitions and our necessities, and deliver us from all dangers, Oh ever glorious and ever blessed Virgin Mary.