Today in the life of the Church we celebrate St. Monnica. Monnica is the mother of Augustine of Hippo and was one of the major influences in that saint’s life. She is also responsible, in part, to converting St. Augustine to Christianity.
While traveling back home to North Africa, in 387 A.D. with Augustine and his younger brother Monnica became critically ill and died. She died at the Roman port of Ostia while waiting for a ship to carry her and her two sons back to Africa. As she faded in and out of consciousness it was clear that she was going to die in a foreign land–something that was of great concern for her sons. She told them not to worry about where she was going to die: “Nothing is far from God, and I need have no fear that he will not know where to find me, when he comes to raise me to life at the end of the world.”
Nothing is far from God. HE will know where to find me when the time comes. What a wonderfully simple and true set of thoughts. But, perhaps how difficult are these thoughts for us to grasp in the 21st century. In this age of technical advances which seem to make our world smaller and smaller–where one can Skype with relatives half way around the world; when we can literally see the edges of the universe itself–I think it is easy to lose sight of just how BIG God truly is.
Monnica’s statement of faith that, “nothing is far from God” comes as a reminder that we are always in the sight, and in the LOVE of God. Her reassurance to her two sons, stricken with grief over the impending death of their mother, serves as reassurance perhaps to us today. When we feel alone or desperate about the stresses and strains of our lives…when we feel unlovable or separated from friends and family…or when the grind of our daily lives makes it seem as if God is nowhere to be found, perhaps these wise and holy words from Monnica will come to us. Nothing is far from God. God is everywhere at every moment, with us, loving us, rooting for us. And, my brothers and sisters, THAT is Good News indeed.
In the name of our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to whom praise and honor and glory be given in heaven and earth from now until the age of ages. Amen.