St. Augustine & St. Monica
This was the third week in our Sinners and Saints sermon series, and this week we talked about St. Augustine and his mother, St. Monica. St. Augustine lived in the 4th century CE, and he was born in what is modern day Algeria to a pagan/non-Christian father and a devout Catholic mother named Monica. Growing up his mother prayed constantly that Jesus would save her son. But the more she prayed, the further Augustine drifted from Christianity. Augustine loved to party and chase after women. Over time though, through the witness of Bishop Ambrose and his mother Monica, he began to believe intellectually in the truth of Christianity, but he was not ready to commit to Christ in his heart. In his internal struggle, he did not want to give up the thrilling life he lived. And so he prayed a prayer to God, where he basically said, “Grant me chastity, make me a faithful servant, just not yet.”
One day Augustine was out in his garden, and he heard a child next door to him, who was playing a game, cry out- “Take, read. Take, read.” Augustine saw that has a sign, and he opened his Bible and it randomly fell to Romans 13, where he read the words: “Let’s behave appropriately as people who live in the day, not in partying and getting drunk, not in sleeping around and obscene behavior, not in fighting and obsession. Instead, dress yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ, and don’t plan to indulge your selfish desires.” From that moment forward, Augustine realized that now was the time to become a disciple of Jesus, and he determined to be a faithful follower of Jesus. He ended up being one of the most influential theologians in Western Christianity.
Like Augustine, we all clothe ourselves in things that distance us from God. We may be like Augustine and struggle with partying too much and inappropriate relations. Some of us may struggle with lethargy, while others struggle with a restless heart chasing after things of this world. Some of us may struggle with jealousy, greed, anger, and/or pride. The good news is that Jesus desires to save us from the sins that cause us to struggle. Furthermore, Jesus has the power to save us from these clothes of darkness. When we “put on” Jesus Christ, Jesus protects us from the elements and temptations of the world, like clothes protect us from the elements of the weather. Clothes are also a way that we show the world who we authentically are and who we are trying to be. When we clothe ourselves with Christ, we start to become who God created us to be. St. Monica was a great example of someone who put on Christ. She prayed for her wayward son and pagan husband every day, and she shared Christ’s love with them every day. She prayed for Augustine’s salvation for 17 years, and her faithful witness led both of them to eventually become Christians.
How can we put on the clothes of Christ? First, we remember our baptism, for in baptism we take off our old life and old clothes and put on Christ. Second, we pray. We pray for God’s help to shed the clothes that distance us from God, and we ask God to clothe us with Christ each day. Our life is better and we are better people, making our world a better place, when we clothe ourselves with Christ.
Monday- Romans 13:11-4
Tuesday- Judges 13:2-8
Wednesday- John 14:6-15
Thursday- Galatians 4:1-12a
Friday- Psalm 115:1-18
Questions to Consider and Discuss
1. What clothes of darkness that you wear are distancing you from Christ right now?
2. What does it mean for you to clothe yourself with Christ this week?