Many people end up feeling lost and without purpose as they make their way through this life. They spend all their time chasing after temporal things such as a successful career, a person, the approval of others, etc. Once those things lead to disappointment or disappear, they’re left in despair. Instead of being anchored in a relationship with God, they end up like a ship adrift at sea—without direction and in danger of capsizing in the midst of the storm.
The Christian virtue of Hope keeps us oriented toward our final destiny—to dwell in the household of God. St. Monica, a saint known for her perseverance and her saintly son, is a perfect example of a person filled with hope, even when faced with what seemed to be a hopeless situation.
Christian parents have had to face the difficulty of watching their child wander away from living as a disciple of Christ since its beginning. As Jesus told us, “From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three” (Luke 12:52). Saint Monica was no exception, with her husband and son living lives so contrary to Christianity. She prayed incessantly for years on end for the conversion of her family members.
As Augustine grew into adulthood, he became more interested in the works of philosophers and heretics than in true Christianity. He even lived with a woman and had a child out of wedlock. It wasn’t until he was well into adulthood and met St. Ambrose that his conversion began. How it must have pained her to watch him live such a life! There’s no doubt that the Lord answered her fervent prayers and brought about his conversion and sainthood.
It would have been very easy in such a situation to despair, yet her hope and trust in God led her to persevere instead. Ask God to increase the virtue of hope in you today so that you can also hope as St. Monica did.