Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Early Hours of the Day

1. Waking up in the morning is like being raised to life again. Sleep, which is necessary for the restoration of energy, is an image of death. During those hours of sleep it was as if you did not exist any longer. Your mind was unconscious, your limbs inactive. Now God gives you life once more and the strength to live it. Your first thoughts, therefore, should be directed towards Him. When the sun rises, all creation sings hymns of praise to God. The flowers shake the night-dew from their petals and send up their perfume to their Creator. The birds drawing their heads from beneath their warm wings, sing their morning canticles. Now, man is master of the universe. Therefore he should gather together these perfumes and these voices and offer them to God along with the homage and adoration of his whole being.

2. Unfortunately, there are many who never give the slightest thought to God when they rise in the morning. Or perhaps they think that a quick, mechanical sign of the cross satisfies all their religious obligations. A good Christian could not behave in this fashion. He kneels to say his morning prayers, and raises his mind and heart to God in acts of thanksgiving, reparation and love. Only in this way can he begin the day with peace and confidence, knowing that during it he will have continual need of God's assistance. If hitherto you have not behaved like this, make up your mind to begin every day in future by offering yourself to God along with all your work, plans, and worries. This offering will be a wonderful spiritual advantage throughout the day.

3. If possible, it is desirable to begin the day by visiting Jesus. He is always in the tabernacle waiting patiently and lovingly for us to visit Him. Why could we not spend at least one half-hour with Him? There are twenty-four hours in the day. Must we spend them in sleep, work, amusement and conversation without ever pausing to speak with Jesus? What about Mass and Holy Communion? It is true that we are not obliged to go to Mass on weekdays, nor have we a strict obligation to recieve Holy Communion except during the Paschal period. But a genuine Christian should not be satisfied with doing only what is commanded under pain of mortal sin. He should love Jesus so much that he will experience an urgent need of communication with Him. He should be ready to sacrifice a little of his early-morning sleep for the purpose of receiving Jesus in Holy Communion. There is no surer way of being able to resist the temptations of the day and of acquiring peace of spirit. The practice of daily Communion can transform a man's life.