Continued from yesterday...
Chapter 8. The Principal Duties of the Day
We devote 7 or 8 hours a day to sleep, that is a third part of our lives. Few Christians derive from their rest the merit they might easily obtain. These 7 or 8 hours of every day are for many lost hours, and in some cases the occasion of sins of slothfulness.
What a pity to lose 8 hours every day!
Some sleep too little, some too much, some yield to excessive laziness in arising.
The following suggestions will enable us to transform these 8 hour's sleep into 8 hours of prayer and merit.
a) Our sleep is a sacred duty imposed on us by God, and its fulfillment ought to be an act of obedience to God.
b) We ought to say our night prayers slowly and devoutly, asking for a good night's rest.
c) Let us offer our sleep to Our Lord in union with His sleep during His life on Earth. Bear in mind that every action united to the acts of Our Lord has an indescribable value. Priests, before beginning their Office, unite it with the prayer of Jesus when on Earth.
d) Let us offer every breath we draw, every beating of our hearts during the night as so many acts of love for God. Thousands of acts of love every night!
e) Our dear Angel Guardian is with us all night, watching over us, just as a tender mother watches over her sick child. Say a few loving words to this dear Angel before closing your eyes.
f) Good Christians sprinkle holy water every night over their persons and bed as defense against the devil.
g) If we cannot sleep, let us offer this weariness in honor of the three hours Jesus Christ passed on the hard bed of the Cross. Let us go on repeating the Name of Jesus, and this will help us to get the desired rest.
h) Regarding rising, we ought to form the habit of getting up immediately when our clock strikes or when we are called. The habit of jumping up quickly makes rising more easy. Laziness or delay in getting up makes it more difficult. It is also a bad beginning for the day, a beginning claimed by the devil.
i) When dressing, we should accustom ourselves to repeat frequently the Holy Name of Jesus. These first moments of the day are most precious, and we should offer them to God. This habit will guarantee us the help and protection of God during all the day.
An amusing fact is told of a young woman who was rather lazy and slow in getting up. On being called one morning she turned over again and said, "I am tired this morning; I will sleep a bit longer." She heard a voice, as of one lying beside her, which said, "Do, do, and I will remain with you."
Recognizing the devil, she bounded from her bed and was never again inclined to sloth when arising.
We may well apply this fact to ourselves, for it is quite certain that if we are lazy and slothful, the devil is really beside us and snatches the first fruits of the day from God.
How many thousand Catholics could easily hear Holy Mass and receive its indescribable graces if they were less lazy in getting up!
Frequently, too, laziness in arising makes us hurry over our morning prayers or even neglect them entirely. This is a very grave fault and may cause disastrous consequences. No one should dare to omit or say hurriedly his morning prayers....
From An Easy Way to Become a Saint
by E. D. M. (1949)
The Catholic Printing Press
With Ecclesiastical Approbation
13th June 1949