Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Falling Asleep

I have to admit. I have a bit of a problem. But I will start with a story to illustrate my point.

A priest told me about a group of cloistered sisters. One of the sisters worked as an extern, meaning she was the contact between the sisters and the outside world. But she nevertheless had a lot of free time so she would find herself in the main chapel with all the people who would wander in and out to pray or look around. The priest told me that so often when he would come into to celebrate Mass for the sisters, he would find her sound asleep before the Blessed Sacrament. But you knew she was so holy. Her face just beamed holiness. Yet there she would be, asleep before the Blessed Sacrament.

Now perhaps you know my problem. I have been known to fall asleep during my holy hour. Maybe I should say I have a reputation.

When I was with the Missionaries of Charity in Milan, it was hot. In the afternoons after pranzo we would do a holy hour. Now I was good at resting after pranzo so that I was ready for this holy hour but one day I was just too tired and it was too hot. As we were praying the rosary I just kind of knocked out. Head back, leaned over to the side, dead asleep. I woke up somewhere after the rosary. The funny part came as we were leaving chapel and one of the sisters turned to me and said, Buona Notte, aka Good Night!

photo by mimk

But just the other day I was praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament at the Angelicum as I was assigned for an hour of exposition. And of course, being that it was right after pranzo, I was out like a light. The sad thing is it just happens. I do not even really remember waking up or going to sleep. I just tend to realize the hour has gone so quickly. As a returned to class that afternoon, two sisters looked over at me and just smiled. They knew! There I was konked out again.

Why am I writing about this? Good question. Partly for humor, partly a reality check. I am not advocating sleep during prayer but do not let it get you down. Our whole life is a work in progress. So is that darn holy hour. But it's a good place to continue to work and grow.

But I encourage you to find that time of prayer during the day. In the seminary it's almost assumed everyone does one. Every religious order does. So if you are not, why not start today, even if that means a holy half hour or a holy 15. It's a real chance to prepare for seminary if that might just be your direction in life.

And if it is any consolation, St. Therese would often fall asleep while at prayer and said that God loves her just has much as she does when she is asleep. And it has been added, sometimes children are in fact more lovable when they are sleep. :)


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