Today is the feast of St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine.  She is the model of caring and concern for one’s child.  St. Paul uses this tender image in our first reading: “We were gentle among you, as a nursing mother cares for her children.  With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our very selves as well, so dearly beloved had you become to us.”

This makes me think of C.S. Lewis’ description of love in The Four Loves:  friendship, erotic/romantic love, self-donating (agape) love, and parental love.  I think caring love, is a combination of God’s love for us (agape, which means total self-giving), and parental love, as when a parent gets up in the night to calm and soothe a frightened child, or lets their food get cold while tending the little one in the high chair.  May St. Monica ask that God inspire us to giving such caring love.

So what will “caring love” look like for me today?

—Fr. Robert Braunreuther, S.J., a Jesuit of the New England province,  assists in University Ministry at Loyola University Chicago, where he is also minister of the Arrupe House Jesuit community.