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SANTA MONICA

Madre de San Agustín

Martirologio Romano: Memoria de santa Mónica, que, muy joven todavía, fue dada en matrimonio a Patricio, del que tuvo hijos, entre los cuales se cuenta a Agustín, por cuya conversión derramó abundantes lágrimas y oró mucho a Dios. Al tiempo de partir para África, ardiendo en deseos de la vida celestial, murió en la ciudad de Ostia del Tíber (387).

Etimológicamente: Mónica = Aquella que disfruta de la soledad, es de origen griego.

Fecha de canonización: Información no disponible, la antigüedad de los documentos y de las técnicas usadas para archivarlos, la acción del clima, y en muchas ocasiones del mismo ser humano, han impedido que tengamos esta concreta información el día de hoy. Si sabemos que fue canonizado antes de la creación de la Congregación para la causa de los Santos, y que su culto fue aprobado por el Obispo de Roma, el Papa.

Hoy celebramos a Santa Mónica, que con su testimonio logró convertir a su marido, a su suegra y a su hijo, San Agustín, quién también, es un gran santo de la Iglesia.

Santa Mónica fue una mujer con una gran fe y nos entregó un testimonio de fidelidad y confianza en Dios, por lo que alcanzó la santidad cumpliendo con su vocación de esposa y madre.

Un poco de historia

Mónica, la madre de San Agustín, nació en Tagaste (África del Norte) a unos 100 km de la ciudad de Cartago en el año 332.

Formación

Sus padres encomendaron la formación de sus hijas a una mujer muy religiosa y estricta en disciplina. Ella no las dejaba tomar bebidas entre horas (aunque aquellas tierras son de clima muy caliente) pues les decía: «Ahora cada vez que tengan sed van a tomar bebidas para calmarla. Y después que sean mayores y tengan las llaves de la pieza donde está el vino, tomarán licor y esto les hará mucho daño.» Mónica le obedeció los primeros años pero, después ya mayor, empezó a ir a escondidas al depósito y cada vez que tenía sed tomaba un vaso de vino. Más sucedió que un día regañó fuertemente a un obrero y éste por defenderse le gritó ¡Borracha! Esto le impresionó profundamente y nunca lo olvidó en toda su vida, y se propuso no volver a tomar jamás bebidas alcohólicas. Pocos meses después fue bautizada (en ese tiempo bautizaban a la gente ya entrada en años) y desde su bautismo su conversión fue admirable.

Su esposo

Ella deseaba dedicarse a la vida de oración y de soledad pero sus padres dispusieron que tenía que esposarse con un hombre llamado Patricio. Este era un buen trabajador, pero de genio terrible, además mujeriego, jugador y pagano, que no tenía gusto alguno por lo espiritual. La hizo sufrir muchísimo y por treinta años ella tuvo que aguantar sus estallidos de ira ya que gritaba por el menor disgusto, pero éste jamás se atrevió a levantar su mano contra ella. Tuvieron tres hijos: dos varones y una mujer. Los dos menores fueron su alegría y consuelo, pero el mayor Agustín, la hizo sufrir por varias décadas.

La fórmula para evitar discusiones.
En aquella región del norte de África donde las personas eran sumamente agresivas, las demás esposas le preguntaban a Mónica porqué su esposo era uno de los hombres de peor genio en toda la ciudad, pero que nunca la golpeaba, y en cambio los esposos de ellas las golpeaban sin compasión. Mónica les respondió: «Es que, cuando mi esposo está de mal genio, yo me esfuerzo por estar de buen genio. Cuando él grita, yo me callo, para pelear se necesitan dos y yo no acepto entrar en pelea, pues….no peleamos».

Viuda, y con un hijo rebelde

Patricio no era católico, y aunque criticaba el mucho rezar de su esposa y su generosidad tan grande hacia los pobres, nunca se opuso a que dedique de su tiempo a estos buenos oficios. Y quizás, el ejemplo de vida de su esposa logro su conversión. Mónica rezaba y ofrecía sacrificios por su esposo y al fin alcanzó de Dios la gracia de que en el año de 371 Patricio se hiciera bautizar, y que lo mismo hiciera su suegra, mujer terriblemente colérica que por meterse demasiado en el hogar de su nuera le había amargado grandemente la vida a la pobre Mónica. Un año después de su bautizo, Patricio murió, dejando a la pobre viuda con el problema de su hijo mayor.

El muchacho difícil

Patricio y Mónica se habían dado cuenta de que Agustín era extraordinariamente inteligente, y por eso decidieron enviarle a la capital del estado, a Cartago, a estudiar filosofía, literatura y oratoria. Pero a Patricio, en aquella época, solo le interesaba que Agustín sobresaliera en los estudios, fuera reconocido y celebrado socialmente y sobresaliese en los ejercicios físicos. Nada le importaba la vida espiritual o la falta de ella de su hijo y Agustín, ni corto ni perezoso, fue alejándose cada vez más de la fe y cayendo en mayores y peores pecados y errores.

Una madre con carácter

Cuando murió su padre, Agustín tenía 17 años y empezaron a llegarle a Mónica noticias cada vez más preocupantes del comportamiento de su hijo. En una enfermedad, ante el temor a la muerte, se hizo instruir acerca de la religión y propuso hacerse católico, pero al ser sanado de la enfermedad abandonó su propósito de hacerlo. Adoptó las creencias y prácticas de una la secta Maniquea, que afirmaban que el mundo no lo había hecho Dios, sino el diablo. Y Mónica, que era bondadosa pero no cobarde, ni débil de carácter, al volver su hijo de vacaciones y escucharle argumentar falsedades contra la verdadera religión, lo echó sin más de la casa y cerró las puertas, porque bajo su techo no albergaba a enemigos de Dios.

La visión esperanzadora

Sucedió que en esos días Mónica tuvo un sueño en el que se vio en un bosque llorando por la pérdida espiritual de su hijo, Se le acercó un personaje muy resplandeciente y le dijo «tu hijo volverá contigo», y enseguida vio a Agustín junto a ella. Le narró a su hijo el sueño y él le dijo lleno de orgullo, que eso significaba que ello significaba que se iba a volver maniquea, como él. A eso ella respondió: «En el sueño no me dijeron, la madre irá a donde el hijo, sino el hijo volverá a la madre». Su respuesta tan hábil impresionó mucho a su hijo Agustín, quien más tarde consideró la visión como una inspiración del cielo. Esto sucedió en el año 437. Aún faltaban 9 años para que Agustín se convirtiera.

La célebre respuesta de un Obispo

En cierta ocasión Mónica contó a un Obispo que llevaba años y años rezando, ofreciendo sacrificios y haciendo rezar a sacerdotes y amigos por la conversión de Agustín. El obispo le respondió: «Esté tranquila, es imposible que se pierda el hijo de tantas lágrimas». Esta admirable respuesta y lo que oyó decir en el sueño, le daban consuelo y llenaban de esperanza, a pesar de que Agustín no daba la más mínima señal de arrepentimiento.

El hijo se fuga, y la madre va tras de él

A los 29 años, Agustín decide irse a Roma a dar clases. Ya era todo un maestro. Mónica se decide a seguirle para intentar alejarlo de las malas influencias pero Agustín al llegar al puerto de embarque, su hijo por medio de un engaño se embarca sin ella y se va a Roma sin ella. Pero Mónica, no dejándose derrotar tan fácilmente toma otro barco y va tras de él.

Un personaje influyente

En Milán; Mónica conoce al santo más famoso de la época en Italia, el célebre San Ambrosio, Arzobispo de la ciudad. En él encontró un verdadero padre, lleno de bondad y sabiduría que le impartió sabios. Además de Mónica, San Ambrosio también tuvo un gran impacto sobre Agustín, a quien atrajo inicialmente por su gran conocimiento y poderosa personalidad. Poco a poco comenzó a operarse un cambio notable en Agustín, escuchaba con gran atención y respeto a San Ambrosio, desarrolló por él un profundo cariño y abrió finalmente su mente y corazón a las verdades de la fe católica.

La conversión tan esperada

En el año 387, ocurrió la conversión de Agustín, se hizo instruir en la religión y en la fiesta de Pascua de Resurrección de ese año se hizo bautizar.

Puede morir tranquila

Agustín, ya convertido, dispuso volver con su madre y su hermano, a su tierra, en África, y se fueron al puerto de Ostia a esperar el barco. Pero Mónica ya había conseguido todo lo que anhelaba es esta vida, que era ver la conversión de su hijo. Ya podía morir tranquila. Y sucedió que estando ahí en una casa junto al mar, mientras madre e hijo admiraban el cielo estrellado y platicaban sobre las alegrías venideras cuando llegaran al cielo, Mónica exclamó entusiasmada: » ¿Y a mí que más me amarra a la tierra? Ya he obtenido de Dios mi gran deseo, el verte cristiano.» Poco después le invadió una fiebre, que en pocos días se agravó y le ocasionaron la muerte. Murió a los 55 años de edad del año 387.

A lo largo de los siglos, miles han encomendado a Santa Mónica a sus familiares más queridos y han conseguido conversiones admirables.

En algunas pinturas, está vestida con traje de monja, ya que por costumbre así se vestían en aquél tiempo las mujeres que se dedicaban a la vida espiritual, despreciando adornos y vestimentas vanidosas. También la vemos con un bastón de caminante, por sus muchos viajes tras del hijo de sus lágrimas. Otros la han pintado con un libro en la mano, para rememorar el momento por ella tan deseado, la conversión definitiva de su hijo, cuando por inspiración divina abrió y leyó al azar una página de la Biblia.

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