“Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not undergo the test.”
This line hit me hard during the Palm Sunday Gospel. Why are you sleeping, Jesus asked the disciples. He too asks us that question.
Why are you spiritually sleeping?
Spiritual sleep can take a lot of different forms. Maybe you aren’t praying regularly. Maybe your heart isn’t as into your faith as it was. Maybe you’ve grown bored with Mass. Maybe you’re apathetic about your sins. Maybe you’ve lost the vigor to serve, give, or answer God’s call. Maybe your rote prayers have lost their meaning and reverence.
But the key to that question is the first word: Why?
We all have times where we are spiritually sleeping. We aren’t awake to God’s work, and we have to answer the question of “why.” At the root, will be the reason behind our spiritual slumber. It may be life distractions, imbalanced focus on comfort, pleasure or material things; sin, or that we are running away from God in some way to escape some truth He is trying to tell us.
Jesus also gives us an answer to our spiritual sleep: Pray.
I was reading an article this past week on experiences of spiritual acedia and dark night of the soul, times where we experience a weariness, darkness, or absence of God’s presence and life-giving energy in our prayer. These experiences inevitably happen to anyone who has embarked on the spiritual life.
One of the big takeaways of that article is that continued perseverance in prayer, turning towards God, and being open to God helps keep us close to God in our times of darkness and spiritual slumber, and guards us from falling off the way – or as Jesus puts it – undergoing the test.
As we enter this sacred Holy Week, consider if you are in a spiritual sleep like the disciples were in some area of your relationship with God. Discern why that might be: what is leading you to this darker place? And finally, do as Jesus tells us today, pray…and keep praying…that you may not undergo the test.