We are a group of mothers coming together to lift up our children of all ages. Many of us have children who are struggling to embrace their Catholic faith or have left the church entirely. Like St. Monica, we pray for their joyful return to full unity with the Catholic Church. We are not a support group or a self-help group. We believe that by coming together weekly, uniting our hearts and voices, we can bring strength and joy to each other. We want to encounter God through prayer for ourselves and our children. We want to grow in humility and holiness.
“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” [Matthew 18:19-20]
“Prayer is raising one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.” [Catechism of the Catholic Church #2559]
The Conversion of Heart
The reason we are here is to intercede for a conversion of heart. Not just our children’s or our spouses or even our extended family but our own conversion of heart needs to be in place [Catechism of the Catholic Church #2608] prior to approaching God in prayer. We all must have a sincere desire to change our lives first from the worldly ways to the spiritual ways in order to intercede properly for others.
There is a need to always approach God in a humble manner. A prayer said in humility is worth more than all the boastful prayers.”Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.” [Catechism #2559] But when we pray, do we speak from the height of our pride and will, or “out of the depths” of a humble and contrite heart? [Ps 130:1] He who humbles himself will be exalted; [Cf. Lk 18:9-14] humility is the foundation of prayer. Only when we humbly acknowledge that “we do not know how to pray as we ought,” [Rom 8:26] are we ready to receive freely the gift of prayer. “Man is a beggar before God.” [St. Augustine, Sermo 56, 6, 9: PL 38, 381] [2613, 2763] [C.C.C. # 2559]. Jesus said, “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words.” [C.C.C. # 2608; Mt. 6:7]
SIMPLICITY OF WORDS
So, when we pray together we do so with the simplicity of a child. We express simple words that come from the heart. We do not judge or compare one another’s prayers.
The entire purpose of Millions of Monicas is to ask for the intercession of our loved ones’ spiritual needs. Scripture states: “What will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life?” [Mt. 16:26] One day, all physical gains shall come to an end; spiritual gains shall last an eternity. Therefore, we at Millions of Monicas feel that our sole purpose is to intercede regarding the Spiritual needs in our supplication to God.
St. Monica was an amazing woman of patience and perseverance. When we pray together for the needs that relate to our spiritual growth as well as our loved ones, i.e. having a holy marriage, bringing a child back to faith, presenting wholeness in a relationship, we present our petitions without ceasing. We will have small groups in order to provide an intimacy in our prayers for one another and our personal intercessions. This helps us to truly persevere, not just for a day, but for weeks and for months; each of us knowing the prayers of our hearts have kindred spirits as we present our needs together until, in confidence, we receive what God desires for us. “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” [Mt. 7:7-8]
Millions of Monicas encourage fasting as part of our prayer lives together. When Nehemiah prayed for his people, he said, “When I heard these words I sat down and wept, and mourned for days, fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” [Neh. 1:4] Before beginning His ministry, Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights. [Mt. 4:2] The prophet Anna, the daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher never left the temple where Jesus was presented as the Divine Infant. She fasted and prayed night and day. [Lk. 2:37] In the Acts of the Apostles, we read that when the first Christians were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit told them that Barnabas and Saul were being commissioned to do the Lord’s work. [Acts 13:2-3] In many instances, fasting, in addition to prayer, has obtained blessings that otherwise would not have been received from God. [Prior to fasting, members should consult their family physician to ensure that this will not have an adverse effect on their health, especially when it concerns the very young, the elderly, the sick, those who are physically handicapped and those on medication.] It is just one more supplication to our Lord in earnest for our loved ones.
Performing Works of Mercy is another form of pleasing prayer in the eyes of God and one we encourage as well in Millions of Monicas. Sacrificing may consist of abstaining periodically from food or addictive habits like social media, making a greater effort to refrain from a certain sin, giving more generously to the Church or another worthy cause, and similar actions.