Of all the saints of the Church, perhaps no one is more closely associated with the loving intercession of a mother than Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430). For years, his mother, Saint Monica, prayed for the conversion of Saint Augustine, her only son; when her prayers were answered, he became not just a Christian, not just a priest and a bishop, but a saint and a doctor of the Church.
How appropriate, then, that this Prayer of Saint Augustine to the Blessed Virgin, which I have chosen for our novena this week, is ascribed to the great saint. In it, Saint Augustine proves that he understands the power of a mother's love and intercession, asking Mary to intercede before God for the pardon of our sins and the salvation of our souls.
In this month of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we should be ever mindful of the love of the Mother of God, who is our mother, too. And as we in the United States also celebrate Mother's Day, we can dedicate our novena this week to the physical and spiritual health of our own mothers, who model for us the love of Christ's mother for her Son.
(An icon of the Mary, the Mother of God, Intercessor for All Mankind. Egg tempera on wood, Central Russia, mid-1800's. Photo © Slava Gallery, LLC; used with permission.)