In the Silent Hours of the Night, Bless the Lord

It’s 3 a.m. and there is a sliver of a moon outside.  It is so quiet.  I’ve taken to enjoying moments like this since I read an article titled “The Myth of the Eight Hour Sleep.”  Research indicates that a period of wakefulness between two sleep cycles may be natural, and literature from various periods in history backs this up.

When I first learned about segmented sleep, I immediately thought of two things:

First, I thought of Mom complaining about Dad.  ”I roll over in the middle of the night,” she laments, “and there he is with his iPhone – ” at this point she dramatizes this by scrunching her brow, placing her palm close to her face and squinting  - “staring at the little glowing screen.”  Then Dad shrugs apologetically and decides whether the mood is right for a retort about Mom’s snoring.

Second, I thought of an antiphon from the Liturgy of the Hours that accompanies Psalm 134: “In the silent hours of the night, bless the Lord.”  Segmented sleep enfleshes this antiphon, and contextualizes the longstanding tradition of early morning monastic prayer.  (I spent a summer at a Benedictine abbey where nuns gathered for optional Matins at 2 a.m.  The nuns poked fun at Mother Stephen, who would valiantly attend and inevitably slip into slumber in her stall.)

Now, when I awake without prompting in the middle of the night, I don’t fret about going back to sleep right away.  I say the antiphon.  I relish the stillness.

qhn

Lake Cayuga, 2012

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Jane Sloan

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B. Jane Sloan is a writer and high school theology teacher from Atlanta, GA. In addition to blogging for Catholic Exchange, she has been published in Our Sunday Visitor, Notre Dame Magazine and the literary journal Omnibus. Jane graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2007 with a B.A. in theology and philosophy. In 2009, she graduated with an M. Ed. from Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education. In 2009 Jane made a 500-mile pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain. She spent summer 2010 as an intern planting vegetables and baking bread at the Abbey of Regina Laudis OSB in Bethlehem, CT. In 2011 she was present among the millions at the beatification of Blessed John Paul II. She is currently working toward her M.A. in Theology. Follow her on Twitter @CE_SundayBrunch. Follow her other blog on all-natural eating at www.thesavagepalate.blogspot.com

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