After a long, tiresome day, often the last thing we think of is thanking God for what transpired. Yet, the spirit in which we fall asleep can impact subsequent days and if we fall asleep angry or bitter, we will likely wake up angry and bitter.
St. Ignatius of Loyola has some advice in this regard. He suggests in his Spiritual Exercises to perform a general examination of the day before retiring. Before delving into the various sins or failings of the past day, he advises the soul to express gratitude to God.
Ignatius writes, “The first Point is to give thanks to God our Lord for the benefits received.”
This is important, as it forces us to look at our lives in a positive way, from God’s perspective. While we may have struggled throughout the day and thought it was horrible, God sees things differently. He allows all sorts of things to occur for our ultimate good and salvation. It is up to us to recognize his providential hand and let him be the driving force in our lives.
This profound advice is reminiscent of an iconic scene from the movie White Christmas starring Bing Crosby. During the movie two characters are discussing the best way to fall asleep, especially when a person’s spirit is restless.
Bing Crosby’s character goes on to provide his solution by singing a song.
When I’m worried and I can’t sleep,I count my blessings instead of sheep,And I fall asleep counting my blessings.When my bankroll is getting small,I think of when I had none at all,And I fall asleep counting my blessings.
This type of attitude can refresh us at the end of a long day and remind us that everything happens for a reason. It also reassures us that God is in control and desires our ultimate good, as he said to the prophet Jeremiah.
For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
Try to end your day in a spirit of thanksgiving, allowing the peace of love of God wash over you, sending you off to a restful night of slumber.
Want to sleep peacefully? Pray this prayer of the night
The Jesuit trick to healing past hurts