by Ken Rolheiser
Night visions and staying wide awake

It may be 4:00 a.m. but there we are, wide awake! As wide awake as Katy Perry. Not unusual, since Canadians, according to Global News 2012, have “shocking” sleep habits:

“…half of us have trouble getting to sleep; about a third of us aren’t getting enough sleep; of those who do sleep, only half find the sleep refreshing…” 

In the way of analogy our spiritual lives find us less than wide awake and far from peace. We can find a solution to our problems in prayer. In an interview Katy Perry said, "My mom has prayed for me my entire life, hoping I’d come back to God." It happened while in Asia with her mom.

“I went to Mass with my mom…She hadn’t sung those songs in 40 years and watching her made me cry. It’s so beautiful and humbling to re-centre in a place where it’s not about anything else but reconnecting with the Divine.”

Perry’s song “Wide Awake” reflects some of this spiritual reawakening:
 “Yeah, I was in the dark
I was falling hard…
Yeah, I am born again
Out of the lion's den…
I am trying to hold on
God knows that I tried
Seeing the bright side
But I'm not blind anymore
I'm wide awake”

You and I need a light of clarity in our dark nights. Like Daniel’s vision:
“As I watched, thrones were set in place,
  and the One who is Ancient of Days took his throne.
His clothing was as white as snow;
  the hair of his head was like pure wool.
His throne was fiery flames.
…ten thousand stood attending him.
The court sat in judgement,
  and the books were opened…

 As I watched in the night visions, I saw one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven... to him was given dominion and glory and kingship…” (Daniel 7:9-14).

In the Transfiguration Peter, James and John saw Jesus’ clothing become white as light. Moses and Elijah joined him, and the Father’s voice announced, “This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour. Listen to him” (Matthew 17:1-8).

A short time later, Peter denied Jesus three times after his arrest. When you and I struggle with inner demons and temptations that assail us, we need to remember the visions we have seen in our dark nights.

Imagine Dragons in their song “Demons” captures our vulnerability to and our helplessness against temptation: “I wanna shelter you / But with the beast inside / There's nowhere we can hide…
Don't wanna let you down
But I am hell bound…
It's dark inside
It's where my demons hide…
Your eyes, they shine so bright
I wanna save that light”.

Indeed, we are lost unless we turn to the light of Christ. Jesus wants to shelter us and save that light he has planted within us through Baptism and the Spirit.

Prayer is the answer! Trappist Monk Jean-Baptiste Chautard oversaw his community’s finances. After exhausting all avenues to raise money, he went to a nearby shrine and presented his appeal to God and Mary.

As he left, a stranger hailed him, “Are you a Trappist? Can I be of assistance to you?” And the stranger’s generosity saved the monastery.

"Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you" (Ephesians 5:14).

 (558 words)