March 8, 2009


This morning was the most sleepy I had ever offered Mass. I felt fortunate just to get through it, though I couldn't resist the Roman Canon today because of the sacrifice of Abraham in the first reading.

Later last night I was in a difficult conversation with another friar, which always keeps me awake. Then, at midnight EST, the bus from the afternoon wedding returned to the front of church, releasing its horde of revelers, many of whom hung out loudly for another hour and a half. A couple of hours later, thanks to Daylight Saving Time, it was time to get up and open the church. Trying to pray and lead prayer in this state reminded me of one of my favorite passages from The Sign of Jonas:

On and off since Easter I have been playing a new game called insomnia. It goes like this: you lie down in your dormitory cell and listen first to one monk and then another monk begin to snore without, however, going to sleep yourself. Then you count the quarter hours by the tower clock and console yourself with the exact knowledge of the amount of sleep you are missing. The fun does not really begin until you get up at 2 a.m. and try to keep awake in choir. All day long you wander around the monastery bumping into the walls.

Insomnia can become a form of contemplation. You just lie there, inert, helpless, alone, in the dark, and let yourself be crushed by the inscrutable tyranny of time. The plank bed becomes an altar and you lie there without trying to understand any longer in what sense you can be called a sacrifice. Outside in the world, where it is night, perhaps there is someone who sees that something he has done is horrible. He is most unexpectedly sorry and finds himself able to pray.... [4.28.47]


4narnia said...

hi Fr. C!
hope you get a good (and peaceful) nights rest tonight. i can relate to some of what you post about feeling sleepy today. usually that hour (whether in the spring or fall) doesn't have a big effect on me. but, it did this year! maybe because of the really busy weekend there at Sacred Heart on friday and saturday with the five funeral Masses; morning prayer; daily Masses; the 5:00 pm Mass; Stations of the Cross and the first saturday nocturnal adoration! i know there was more for you with the two weddings! i had a difficult time getting up for the 7:45 am Mass at St. Theresa's this morning, but i made it-it doesn't help that it's dark out in the mornings again, though! i was pretty tired all day long today. PEACE!
~tara t~

ben in denver said...

I knew I had corrupted my 7 year old yesterday when I heard him say, "I hate daylight saving time, it's just a big lie."

I was so pleased to learn a few years back that there is a monastery on Mt. Athos where the office is prayed according to the movements of the sun, and not the clock.