[T]roubled night have been counted off for me. When I lie down I say, ‘When shall I arise?’ then the night drags on; I am filled with restlessness until the dawn (Jb 7:3-4).
7 Feb 2021. 5th Sunday Ordinary Time. Cycle B-2021. Jb 7:1-4, 6-7 + 1Cor 9:16-19, 22-23 + Mk 1:29-39
Sometimes, at night, I struggled to sleep. When I saw illustrations of counting sheep as an attempt to fight sleeplessness, I wondered if anybody trying to sleep actually did that. Maybe the idea was more poetic than pragmatic. The word sheep rhymed with the word sleep. To count sheep in order to catch sleep may have worked for somebody, but did not work for me.
Although some bouts of sleeplessness may be due to occasional mental anxiety, the sleeplessness I am writing about is due to chronic physical malady.
I remembered falling asleep while praying the Rosary, or during Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Replicating the situation in sleepless nights, I prayed the Rosary, flipping the beads just like counting sheep, until I dosed off to sleep.
I remembered, likewise, the prophet Samuel who, at one night when he was a boy under the service of the priest Eli, he was roused from sleep three times. Thinking that the priest Eli was calling for him, he rose to go to Eli. After the second time that Eli denied calling for Samuel, the priest thought that God might be the One calling for the boy. He suggested that when another call came, the boy would respond, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant listens’ (1Sm 3:3-10).
Whenever praying to exhaustion did not still get me to sleep, instead of twisting and turning, I considered that God may be calling me to get up to do something for Him. I used unproductive sleep hours to do productive reflection for the glory of the LORD. When I got exhausted, I fell asleep. Even with the little sleep time I got, I got rested. VSS
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