REFLECTION FOR TODAY
August 26, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
“Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Matt. 24:42-44
The solemn warning of Jesus in our gospel reference of today to stay awake contrast the response of two types of servants in carrying out their responsibilities in the absence of a visible authority figure. Jesus emphatically calls us to stay awake because it is easy to fall asleep, spiritually speaking.
So, are you more often awake and attentive to His presence? Or are you most often asleep and therefore unaware of His presence? Our gospel reference above must be understood as referring to our passing from this life. Let’s see this passionate exhortation from Jesus to be a clear warning to always be ready to meet Him in our individual judgment upon our passing from this life.
Jesus continues to invite us to become increasingly aware of the countless ways He speaks to us each day. The goal of the Christian life must be to continually be at prayer. This does not mean that we are necessarily “saying” prayers all the time, throughout the day. Rather, it means that we form a spiritual habit of becoming continually attentive to the promptings of grace given to us throughout our lives.
God wants to lead us always. He wants to inspire us with His grace all day. He wants us to have one eye on the things that occupy our day and the other eye upon Him, allowing Him to gently lead us through everything. Sometimes we can fall into the trap of thinking that God is only concerned about the big decisions of life. But the truth is that God is most clearly found in the details of life, even the smallest ones.
By staying awake Jesus wants us to go beyond our immediate circle. He created us to see ourselves as part of the large community of brothers and sister who take care of one another as the good servant did. Staying wake also means reaching out of our comfort zone to love the people we can see and pray for those we can’t see. It entails we become continuously awake and attentive to God’s gentle promptings of grace.
How do we become attentive to God as He speaks to us and guides us every moment of every day? It is done by forming a spiritual habit of ongoing prayer. We begin by setting aside time for prayer every day, time in which all we do is pray. We set aside all distractions and begin by offering prayers, meditating upon scripture, attending the Mass, speaking from our hearts, etc. But from there, this special time of prayer, set aside exclusively for God, must begin to influence us throughout the day.
Reflect, today, upon this clear and concise exhortation from our Lord. “Stay awake!” Let those words resonate within you. Hear them as a call to form this holy habit of prayer throughout the day. If you do so, God will slowly take over your life and lead you every day into His holy will. And through you, God will be able to extend His love and mercy to many who are in your life and beyond.
Lord, You desire me to live my day, every day, in such a way that I am continually attentive to You. Please help me to form a holy habit of listening to You and responding to all that You say to me always. My life is Yours, dear Lord. Lead me continually by Your gentle Hand of grace. Jesus, I trust in You.