I do not often wake in the night, but that was not always so. Many years ago I assigned myself certain rules for nocturnal wakefulness. I am not allowed to worry, especially about the wakefulness itself. My goal is to rest, even when sleep is impossible. I permit no negative thoughts, because problems seem worse, if not impossible to solve, in the dark. Silently, of course, I sing hymns, quote scripture, or pray—unafraid of falling asleep on Someone Who will be annoyed with me. Because I have been told to “pray without ceasing,” I must be able to pray in my sleep. But if I’m too tired to concentrate on anything uplifting, I fall headlong in God’s wide arms. This is possible only because I have envisioned them. God’s arms are as soft as velvet and go on forever. Everything I see with closed eyes is a charcoal color, except for the hopeful twinkling of stars. How can I do anything but enjoy them? I never get up unless I am ill or a family member needs me. Waking in the night, when nothing is wrong, is annoying at most and a time for spiritual renewal at its undisturbed best.

Helen Losse, Passager, issue 39, 2004.


Whenever we fall into discouragement, let us stir up our faith and entrust ourselves to the arms of the heavenly Father, who is always ready to receive whoever sincerely comes to him.

-from Padre Pio’s Spiritual Direction for Every Day