Tourists on a glorious spring day in 2003, my husband and I took a short metro ride to the outskirts of Rome to Ostia Antica, the ruins of a once great port city. For several hours we roamed this large, preserved site of antiquity.
At an intersection on one of the many cobblestone streets, I was suddenly riveted in place. The plaque on the low, waist-high stones stated that this was the site of the building where St. Monica died in 387. Touching the stones, I found both prayer and tears begin to well up in me. It was a mother-to-mother link, because I was agonizing about my own “son of many tears.”
At the time, my young adult son had dropped out of college and abandoned his faith. He had a dead-end job and a live-in girlfriend, and was an alcoholic. When confronted about his excessive use of alcohol, he would always boast that he could “stop whenever he wanted.” He must have wanted to, because one warm July day in 2005 he stopped.
But then the seizures began. He was…
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