It is very hard to explain to non-Catholics why we ask saints for their intercession. Just as I ask my friends on Earth to pray for me, I ask the same of my friends in Heaven. St. Monica had a son who gave her much heartache. She is the patron saint of patience. She knows what I am going through. She experienced it. Yes, I can pray to Jesus - of course I do! But do you ever just feel the need to pick up the phone and call a friend? Does that mean that you don't have faith in Jesus or feel that he doesn't hear your prayers? Of course not. Sometimes I just need to talk to someone who has been where I am. No, my son is not dissolute and immoral, but he does try my patience in ways that would sanctify me if I would let them. Talking to St. Monica helps me. That she takes my prayers to Jesus in the same way that my parents take them to Jesus is the icing on the cake.
Last night a woman at dance, a former Catholic who now UNDERSTANDS the Bible for the first time, accused me of praying to Mary. I very kindly informed her that I do no such thing. She insisted that I do. "I still remember the prayer!" she informed me. "Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at..." I smiled and said, "See? I ask my mother in Heaven to pray for me, just ask I ask my mother on Earth to pray for me." But what about the other part? I remember the other part! "Hail, Mary, full of grace! The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb." Oh, that part? I asked her. That part that is 100% scriptural? I am failing to see the problem. I need to emphasize that the discussion that we had was perfectly polite and that she was actually quite pleased that I knew why I do what I do as a Catholic, as she had had no clue as a child why she did what she did (and she has concluded that this is due to some fundamental flaw in the Catholic Church). I was treading very carefully, although I had some serious questions to ask when she was telling me how she had to leave the Baptist Church because some of its teachings were questionable to her. She is now sure that she believes the true teachings of Christ. I *really* wanted to ask her how she could be so sure, but, like I said, I had no desire to be confrontational. Sigh.
I am way off track. Back to St. Monica. It's a St. Monica kind of day. My Catholic friends will understand.
Dear St. Monica, troubled wife and mother, many sorrows pierced your heart during your lifetime. Yet, you never despaired or lost faith. With confidence, persistence, and profound faith, you prayed daily for the conversion of your beloved husband, Patricius, and your beloved son, Augustine; your prayers were answered. Grant me that same fortitude, patience, and trust in the Lord. Intercede for me, dear St. Monica, that God may favorably hear my plea for (Mention your intention here.) and grant me the grace to accept His Will in all things, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.