Religion & Spirituality:Spirituality
The Ladder of Divine Ascent - Chapter XX: On Bodily Vigil, Part I
The healing of the soul! So often we lose sight of the meaning of the spiritual life and the disciplines that we embrace. We often look at them as being punitive or requiring us to give up something that we enjoy or take pleasure in. We can lose sight very quickly of the presence of God even in the practice of prayer.
This came forward when we discussed this evening something such as vigils. Rarely is the practice of vigil (breaking one’s sleep to rise and pray at night) ever discussed as a valuable exercise for those not only living in a monastery. To order our appetite for sleep and to break the night for prayer is seen as nonsensical or something that could jeopardize one’s health and well-being or one’s capacity to work.
What we find in the spiritual tradition, however, is a far different vision. Bodily vigil leads to spiritual vigil; that is, spiritual vigilance or alertness. Arising during the quiet of the night, humbled in mind and body, one is able to enter into the deep silence of prayer and receive more freely what God desires to give us. Not experiencing the impediment of worldly distractions or the distractions of a multitude of thoughts we are able to open the mind and the heart to God fully. And in doing so we can also experience the deepest healing.
We begin to lose the desire to escape from reality in the things of this world or in sleep. The opening of the mind and the heart to God through deep prayer can bring about the repairing even of the deepest trauma caused by our own sin or the sins of others. God can pass freely into the deepest recesses of the human heart that learns how to become vulnerable to Him over time through the experience of His love and compassion. Trust emerges and with it hope.
Text of chat during the group:
It is Free