How to Battle Spiritual Drowsiness

The days are getting shorter, and you may find yourself getting sleepy earlier and earlier. Or maybe with your busy life, you find yourself battling drowsiness all year round.

Recently on St. Joseph’s Workshop, Fr. Matthew Spencer, OSJ discussed a trial in which a juror was dismissed because he kept falling asleep – and how we may be more like that drowsy juror than we think. Fr. Matthew said:

“The Wall Street Journal is saying that this is a growing problem. Juries cannot find people who are willing to stay awake for the course of a trial – especially when it comes to these difficult financial schemes and things like this.

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It’s interesting to me, because when I first read this I was thinking about Jesus. Why? Because one of the most important messages He is giving us is to stay awake, be prepared. And we heard it in the weeks leading up to that first Sunday of Advent – continually in the Gospels, Jesus is telling me and you to stay awake. And in our society, sometimes we can be like jurors. Overwhelmed with information and the complexity of situations and circumstances.

Your life is complex, I understand. It may not be the same as a Turkish banker trying to evade sanctions, but it is complicated. And it can be so difficult to live our lives in this way that we become sleepy, and drowsy. That is to say, we might be wide awake, but we become sleepy toward those things that Christ wants us to be careful of and aware of. We can be unaware of those important things going on in our lives spiritually.

Here’s what I think. You and I have this blessed, privileged season of Advent. That’s what this is, this time. It’s a time to prepare for the coming of Jesus, and it’s a time for us to be aware of what He is doing in our lives. But it’s also a time to evaluate how we are balancing things in our own life.

Maybe we’re not sitting on a jury, and maybe we’re not facing these complex financial situations. But am I letting the complications of life desensitize me to Jesus’ presence? Am I aware that Christ wants to have an impact in my life, and wants to be with me, but I’m not even recognizing Him because I’m so spiritually drowsy that I just don’t see Him?

It’s happening to so many of us, that we’re missing Jesus right before us. It may be a simple example when we look at our juries and say this is what is going on, but I look at it from the spiritual perspective and say that you and I have to wake up. We have to stay woke, to avoid missing these significant things that are going on in the world and around us – and especially the ways that we may cooperate with sin, or not practice charity the way we’re supposed to.

Just as I need to make quality time for my spouse, just as I need to make quality time for my children, or for my brothers in community – whatever your particular vocation might be – we also have to make time for Jesus in our life. And that is a big part of what Advent is all about. Making more time for Jesus. Not just on December 25th, but right now.

So how is it going in your journey toward Christmas? We’re halfway through Advent, and I’m wondering whether you have seen a change or not, whether you’ve been doing things better in your life. Or are things pretty much how they were a couple weeks ago before we even started?

Here’s an idea for you. Tonight I’m going out to hear Confessions for poor sinners out there in the world. Me being among them. You and I know that we all need God’s mercy in our life. And I love this time of year, I love being involved in penance services and hearing Confessions of so many people. But it makes me want to remind you that Confession should be an important part of your preparation for Christmas.

Maybe you forgot about that, or maybe you haven’t made it a priority. But let me just encourage you in that. Maybe you’re still afraid to go to Confession because it’s been too long, because it’s been too hard in the past. I want to encourage you – don’t put it off.

Don’t put it off, because Jesus loves you, and Jesus wants to show His mercy to you through the priest in the Confessional. And He wants to support you and strengthen you along this journey towards Christmas. He wants to help you out so you can experience His love. He wants you to know that He loves you, and that happens in such a palpable, concrete way inside of Confession.”

Listen to the full discussion below:

St. Joseph’s Workshop with Fr. Matthew Spencer airs weekdays at 7:00 p.m. Eastern/4:00 p.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio®.

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Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at relevantradio.com and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.