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How a Mother’s Faith Rescued Her Son and Changed the World

Chuck Colson | BreakPoint | Updated: May 13, 2024
How a Mother’s Faith Rescued Her Son and Changed the World

How a Mother’s Faith Rescued Her Son and Changed the World

BreakPoint.org

Years ago, in honor of Mother’s Day, the late Chuck Colson described the devotion, love, and faith of Monica, the mother of St. Augustine.  

A Christian, [Monica] was married to a prominent man who wasn’t a believer. He was unfaithful and even beat her at times. Monica’s response was to go to church every day and pray for his conversion. She hoped that by setting a godly example, even in the midst of her mistreatment, she might win him over. And that’s exactly what happened.  

The suffering and anguish caused by her husband paled before what Monica’s oldest son put her through. He lived a dissolute life, devoted to pleasure. He left one mistress and took up with another. His only son was born out of wedlock.  

His lack of faith and rejection of Christian truth hurt Monica even more. He belittled her beliefs and seemed to go out of his way to embrace Christianity’s competitors for the hearts and, especially, minds of his contemporaries. He later recalled how his being “dead [to] that faith and spirit which,” as he put it, “[my mother] had from you . . . O, Lord” made her weep.  

Still, Monica never gave up.  

The greatest preacher of the time, knowing of her prayers and tears for her son, told her that “it is impossible that the son of so many tears should perish.” That preacher, Bishop Ambrose of Milan, was right.  

At the age of 35, Monica’s son, Augustine, became a Christian and was baptized, along with his son, Adeodatus, by Ambrose. A few months later, on the way home to Hippo with Augustine and Adeodatus, Monica fell ill and died.  

Monica could not have known that her prayers and devotion would affect not only the life of her son but also the course of history. Her concern was that her son believe “the truth which is in Jesus.”  

This devotion to the spiritual welfare of her son is why Monica is regarded as the model for all Christian mothers. Like Susannah Wesley, her zeal for the salvation of her son had an impact far beyond anything she could have imagined. But there’s another reason why. 

Monica’s story should resonate with Breakpoint listeners and readers. Her concern was not only that her son give up his debauchery, as important as that was. Monica was determined that he embrace the truth of Christianity. She prayed that he would renounce false worldviews and put his sharp mind to the service of Christian truth. And that’s exactly what he did.  

Augustine championed the Christian worldview against the false alternatives of his day. Much of what Christians believe today was first and best articulated by Monica’s son. His writings, the Confessions and The City of God, are considered classics, not only of the Christian faith, but also of all of Western culture and civilization.  

Those books have profoundly shaped me and my ministry. While there can be only one Monica and Augustine, every Christian mother—and father, for that matter—should be concerned with their kids’ worldviews. Praying for them and teaching them to seek after Christian truth is a solemn duty on our part and a contribution they will always remember, whether it is Mother’s Day or any other day of the year. 

That was Chuck Colson. From all of us at the Colson Center to all the moms out there, happy Mother’s Day. 

For more resources to live like a Christian in this cultural moment, go to breakpoint.org. 

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Anastasiia Stiahailo
Publish Date: May 13, 2024

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of CrosswalkHeadlines.


BreakPoint is a program of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. BreakPoint commentaries offer incisive content people can't find anywhere else; content that cuts through the fog of relativism and the news cycle with truth and compassion. Founded by Chuck Colson (1931 – 2012) in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends. Today, you can get it in written and a variety of audio formats: on the web, the radio, or your favorite podcast app on the go.

John Stonestreet is President of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and radio host of BreakPoint, a daily national radio program providing thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.



How a Mother’s Faith Rescued Her Son and Changed the World