Get a Good Night’s Sleep

This post is part of a series on Getting the Most Out of Mass: tips to best dispose yourself to receive the graces available during Mass (this will be specifically about Sunday Mass, but some of these ideas will also apply to daily Mass). We're in the section on preparing yourself before Mass.


What:

Go to bed early enough to be well-rested when you wake up on Sunday.

This might require giving up certain activities that would keep you up late on Saturday night.

Why:

You would get a good night’s sleep before a big interview, a big game, a big test, etc. Since Mass is the most important thing you will do in your whole life, even more so, you should try to be well-rested for Sunday mornings. The greater your mental clarity, the better you will be able to focus on and participate in the Mass. This will help you be disposed to receive the most graces, grow in holiness, draw closer in your relationship with God, and most fully live the life to which God is calling you.

Going Deeper:

Before going to bed, offer to God your sleep in preparation for Mass.

Also sacrifice to Him what you might otherwise be doing if you were to stay up. I’ve quoted Maria Trapp earlier posts from her chapter about Sundays. In it, she mentioned how Austrians of her time would specifically go to bed early to prepare for Sunday.

Saturday night is a quiet night. There are no parties. People stay at home, getting attuned to Sunday. They go to bed rather early.

Maria Trapp, Around the Year With the Trapp Family: The Labs Without A Sunday

She goes on to explain how she and her family came to realize how important these Saturday customs were as a preparation for Sunday. Later, she described her experience when they moved to America.

As we got more used to being in America and as our English progressed, we made a startling discovery Saturday night in America! It was so utterly different from what we were used to. Everybody seemed to be out. The stores were open until ten, and people went shopping. Practically everybody seemed to go to a show or a dance or a party on Saturday night. And finally we discovered the consequence of the American Saturday night: the American Sunday morning. Towns abandoned, streets empty, everybody sleeping until the last minute and then whizzing in his car around the corner to the eleven o’clock Sunday service.

Ibid

Fr. Mike Schmitz has a great video about getting enough sleep. In the video, he mentions that before going to bed, Pope St. John XXIII would pray an act of faith that by going to sleep at a reasonable time, he trusted God to provide for all the things he would have otherwise stayed up to try to work on. It was something like “Lord, it is your Church; You take care of it. I’m going to sleep.”

Early to Bed, Early to Rise

I remember, in my early young adult years, regularly staying up late on Saturday nights, trying to squeeze as much fun out of them as possible. I also remember (or perhaps don’t remember) many sleepy Sunday Masses.

The more I’ve come to understand the importance of Sunday Mass, the more I’ve been okay excusing myself from social events or other activities that would keep me up too late. The more I see the Mass as the most important part of my week, the more willing I am to sacrifice other activities so that I can better participate in Sunday Mass.

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