Religion & Spirituality:Spirituality
The Ladder of Divine Ascent - Chapter XX: On Bodily Vigil, Part II
All that was to be redeemed had also then to be assumed in the Incarnation. All that is human and all that is part of the human experience must be embraced by Christ in order that it might be healed by his grace.
We are shown this in a very simple way in regards to one of our basic appetites as human beings - sleep. Like any other appetite, it must be ordered rightly; otherwise, it can end up stealing half of our life. Rather than being drawn into the rest of contemplation, we are often pulled into something much less helpful. Instead of engaging He who is Reality, Life and Love, we often seek to escape these things and enter into sleep or the myriad of ways that we can escape reality.
Therefore, when it comes to prayer, we are often embattled. Sleep can come upon us quickly or we can be drawn to direct or attention to the work of our hands. The Evil One can stimulate the mind at just the right time to pull us away from the comfort and consolation of God into conversation, food, sleep, etc. We must understand that we are engaged in a spiritual battle. When the devil sees us engaging in spiritual warfare, when he sees us developing the discipline of prayer, he will immediately seek to afflicted us with temptations and fantasies the moment the prayer is finished. He will try to snatch away from us the first fruits of the soul.
We can understand, then, why John tells us that bodily vigil leads to spiritual vigil or alertness. We need to be alert not to protect ourselves from the things of this world, but from the darkness that would enter into our hearts if we do not guard them.
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