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Monday, November 14, 2022

Monday Morning: Another Week to Serve the Lord

Give up a glass of wine with dinner?
My thoughts are all over the place this morning -- this very early morning. Sleep and I have become strangers. Last week I had multiple four-hour nights. It reminded me of Fr. John Hardon, that zealous Jesuit beloved by so many, who rarely slept more than four hours a night. His superior had to order him to do that.

When I ask myself why I'm having sleep issues again, I remember how negligent I am at voluntary penance. I generally practice temperance, but fasting? Give up that Hershey kiss or that glass of Merlot with dinner? Well...maybe I can give it up for the next thirty minutes.
So God takes care of my penitential desert by giving me some involuntary sacrifices -- like making sleep a short-term visitor. The upside is that I get a lot of praying done (and sometimes blog posts) in the wee hours when it's dark and quiet. And 3:00 a.m. is a great time for stargazing. "Good morning, Orion!"
The heavens show forth the glory of God, and the firmament declares the work of his hands. (Psalm 19:1)
A quiet early morning is also a great time to read and contemplate. Outside of the sacraments, few things can help the Christian to grow more in the spiritual life than good books. Butler's Lives of the Saints accompanies me most mornings and I'm amazed at the multitude of friends in heaven whom I have yet to meet, those lesser known heroes of God, like St. Peter of Alcantara, the Franciscan friar whose "union with God was habitual." Please intercede for me, St. Peter that I might practice the presence of God every waking hour!

So many holy spiritual writers give me good advice and shame me for my lukewarm relationship with my Lord and God. For example, what do my distractions at prayer tell me?
Flies do not fly around boiling water, but only around tepid water...distractions arise from my great tepidity. (Humility of Heart)
Ouch! How can I change?
Keep constantly before you the model I have offered you. Like Mary, leave your solitude only infrequently and deal only with virtuous men. (Imitation of Mary)
The Lord has given me another day of life. Praise Him for his goodness and generosity! And now, since I'm up so early I can make it to the 7:00 a.m. Traditional Latin Mass in Front Royal.

May we all have a blessed Monday and a week of drawing ever closer to the Lord. May Jesus Christ be praised now and forever!


  1. I guess I am in the same boat as you, waking up in the middle of the night, tossing and turning, but I as well find I get a lot of my prayers done before I doze off for a few minutes. Never thought of it as penance, but it could be since I too am less than enthusiastic about fasting and bodily mortification!

  2. Probable You need two wine glasses? So many times when i have cold feet, I wake up. Probable is the our of Christ resurrection ando the Lord want yo pray some special prayer for that hours, who knows

  3. Miss Mary Ann, thank you for posting. I am so bad at penance as well. So, when I am beset with health issues, or struggles, I have come to appreciate them as a sort of "assigned penance", lol. I try very hard to accept them graciously and not complain, as, viewed in that way, they are a tremendous gift!

  4. I have stopped drinking these last weeks - second time this year - and am trying to get down to one meal daily: dinner is the target.

    My sleep has improved dramatically and my energy now too as I’m on fire still at 11pm doing my work- my inbox’s now down to single digits.

    I was down to two meals daily as I don’t hunger in morning anymore as fifty plus adult… so it’s just getting through lunch which is hard due to 1) habit including just chewing and going through motions and 2) business lunch meetings in which case I would try to skip dinner.

    God knows it’s physically possible: note than enough fat reserves to power me ahead. Or any of us really. I also looked up the effects of fasting and further intrigued to learn body starts to purge the dreck of our systems pretty quickly.

    Leave it to Jesus 2000 years ago to give us direction on optimal diet plan and only now “experts” with microscopes “discovering” what was revealed to us so now it’s legitimate…

  5. Mary Ann, which version of Imitation of Mary do you read ?

  6. Alexander De Rouville

  7. Thank you, Mary Ann, for the info on Imitation of Mary !
    I rummaged thru my bookcases and found an unread copy of the volume you linked to .
    Price back then was $7.75 from the Franciscan Monastery.
    I also found an old copy ($3.45 ) ( unread by me ) of Scupolis Spiritual Combat as well.
    And several copies of Kempis Imitation of Christ.
    Our priest in Sundays sermon encouraged spiritual reading.
    With your sharing about your reading, I am well stocked now.
    These books would be sitting on my shelves collecting more dust if not for you and Fr. SSPX.
    And thank you for your essay on peace of mind.
    It’s really what I need right now.