Thinking of transformation on a day when we commemorate St. Augustine of Hippo – best described as a “sinner-turned-saint”, – I am often drawn to think of his saintly mother, Monica. Until he was converted, or transformed, at age 33, Augustine’s early years were in search of the true meaning of life.
He lived a life of indulgence with intensity.
Monica, on the other hand, fervently prayed for her son. She prayed that he would find the light, the truth he was searching; that he would be converted. Yes, she prayed for his transformation; and this she did for many years.
When he was called to the academic and sophisticated world of Milan, her worries for him intensified. The lifestyle that the north African city of Hippo afforded Augustine was worrisome enough for her. How much more the lifestyle that awaited him in Milan? Surely it was not what she had prayed for all those years!
She prayed that the Divine Maker would prevent him from going to Milan.
Yet, it was precisely where she feared most that his life would finally be wasted that he found the light he had been searching for. Her feared place of death became his discovered place of life. In Milan, he found conversion; he found transformation and he has continued, to this day, almost 16 centuries later, to inspire transformation in many.
I have learned not to be afraid of stepping into the unknown but to seek transformation in every situation – from the best or the worst, the scary, the inviting and the uninviting. There is light to be discovered.