Stop Sleep-Walking Your Life: Keep Awake!


Stop Sleep-Walking Your Life: Keep Awake!

When I hear the call “And what I say to you I say to all: Keep Awake” (Mark 13:37), as we enter the Advent season, I recall the story of awakening that I read some time ago.

One bright Sunday morning, David’s mother hurries into her son’s bedroom and wakes him up. “Dave, it’s Sunday. Time to get up! Time to get up and go to church! Get up!” David mumbles from under the covers, “I don’t want to go.” “What do you mean you don’t want to go?” says the mother. “That’s silly. Now get up and get dressed and go to church!” David goes, “No, I don’t want to go and I’ll give you two reasons why I don’t want to go.” He sits up on the bed and continues, “First, I don’t like them and second, they don’t like me.” His mother replies, “Now, that’s just plain nonsense. You’ve got to go to church and I’ll give you two reasons why you must. First, you’re now forty years old and, second, you’re the pastor!”

What an awakening! The Advent season calls us to reawaken who we truly are and what our purpose in life is. We are not meant to live our lives “sleep-waking”, but rather “keep awake” discerning with an open mind, heart and will God’s call.

It seems like many charismatic figures had an encounter that changed their lives or awakening that helped them to discover and discern God’s call to Mission in their lives. It was an extraordinary gift that we would call “charisma”. And they had the courage to embrace that gift and answer the call. The particular call varied according to the specific time and place where God’s Mission was revealed.

When Benedict went to Rome for his studies and found his companions’ living dissolute and immoral lives and experiencing his teachers unchristian and corrupt, it led him to abandon his studies in Rome to pursue a spiritual life. It was a call to a monastic life. It was his awakening.

Ignatius was gravely wounded in a battle with the French.  While recuperating he experienced a conversion. Reading the lives of Jesus and the saints made Ignatius happy and aroused desires to do great things. Ignatius realized that these feelings were clues to God’s direction for him. He experienced God as a communicator. His call was to “find God in all things”, to dedicate himself to the “greater glory of God” and the good of all humanity. It was his awakening.

Often, we refer to Eugene’s Good Friday experience as a moment of his conversion. However, this cannot be seen as an isolated event, but rather as a part, a phase of his journey of conversion. Nevertheless, it was an experience that influenced the rest of his life, a moment of a conscious turning from being self-focused to God-focused. This was the moment when young Eugene became an adult, with a clear sense of purpose and direction in life. He dedicated himself to missionary life for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, especially the poor and most abandoned. It was his awakening…

So, “And what I say to you I say to all: Keep Awake” (Mark 13:37)

By Jarek Pachocki, OMI
OMI Lacombe Canada – Vocation Director
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