Dear Jesus, why is it that I sleep? Why do I feel fatigue of body and soul, and compassion for my own tiredness? Day and night I fight for You. I never complain or show fear; my arms and mind are strong. I work with conviction and abandonment of self, giving my all to You. Yet when I am sick with fatigue or fever, all my courage leaves me. I lay in hopelessness and misery. Why is it then, and only then, that selfish thoughts overcome me? I dramatize my pains in the eyes of others and the eyes of my own heart. So terrible are my temptations then, that I will show my temper and seek all luxury. It is these unseen evils, that I do not understand, which overcome my own strength; for it is in itself my own strength failing. Therefore, sweet Master, please let this be a sign to me of Your peace and compassion. When I feel such things coming upon me, I will submit myself to rest in Your love.
I wrote this prayer for a book I was writing a long time ago... but the moral of this prayer is still important to me and my discernment. I've always had a strong sense of respectability, and an admiration for nobility and strength. At the same time, the bold men I read about in story books all have this weakness... the need for sleep and the beating of sickness and injury. It occurred to me that when one is weakened physically, he is often weakened spiritually and mentally as well. It is at these times that trust in God and understanding of our humanity is most important. It is at these times, when we are physically incapacitated, that we are able to examine our spiritual fortitude and trust. Who would not desire to suffer for Christ just to show Him fidelity in the face of danger?
A Poor Clare lives in poverty and suffering. Her unceasing prayer and work brings on fatigue, sickness, and inside challenges. Like Christ, who died to show His great love for us, these inner and outer trials are a Poor Clare's way of showing that her love is true and deeper than herself. Like the sleeping soldier, who overcame himself and stated his trust in God, a Poor Clare also has this opportunity to forget herself for Christ. Always, this faith bears greater fruits than spiritual and physical comfort. God's love and truth and rest are greater than any we could seek. A Poor Clare comes to love her work and prayer and sufferings and poverty... because she knows that these are the things that bring her tighter and tighter with her heavenly spouse... closer and closer to the source of all love and goodness.