Gospel Meditation – Spiritual wakefulness

December 3, 2023 – 1st Sunday of Advent

Lately I’ve been listening to a science-based podcast on healthy daily living. The host frequently discusses the wide range of health benefits of sleep. So, each night I’m trying to get more, and better, slumber, and it’s helping me feel energized. So, why in the world should we follow Christ’s advice this week? “Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house will come … lest he find you asleep.” Isn’t sleep, especially at midnight and cockcrow, a good thing?

Of course, it is. But the wakefulness the Lord calls us to is a deep, personal orientation to Him. A nightly vigil is therefore a metaphor for this, but it’s not just that. We should give up real sleep in order to pray, too. This difficult practice is a time-tested way to foster wakefulness of heart. When we give up sleep to pray, it focuses us. We learn that life is not an endless series of days. You and I belong to the Lord — awake or asleep, in life and in death. Sooner or later, even our need for our physical sleep will pass away. And our attentiveness to God — that is, whether we are awaiting Him to meet us — will be all that matters. 

May I challenge us this week and this Advent to intentionally give up at least one hour of sleep each week for prayer? Stay up later, wake up in the middle of the night, or an hour earlier, and pray. Will we be a bit more tired the next day? Yes. But we’ll be amazed at the spiritual wakefulness that results, too.       

— Father John Muir


— Father John Muir ©LPi

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