Aleteia

Why the first 30 minutes of your day are the most important

WAKING UP
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St. John Berchmans didn’t waste any time after waking up to dedicate the rest of the day to God.

Have you ever had a bad day? St. John Berchmans believed that the success of a day depended largely on how a person started the day, especially during those first 30 minutes of the morning.

In The Life of the Blessed John Berchmans by Francis Goldie, the morning schedule of Berchmans is written out in detail.

At four in the morning the bell sounded the hour of rising. John heard it with the reverence of Samuel, when the holy child recognized at the fourth call the voice of the Lord. He made the sign of the Cross, saying as he arose, “Lord, what would you have me do? My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready!” The moment he got up he prostrated himself before his crucifix … which, before going to sleep, he used to place at the foot of his bed.

This initial surrender and short prayer entrusts those first waking moments to God, looking to him for guidance. Often we are tempted to wake up grumbling and already angry at the world. With that attitude, its no wonder we end up having a bad day!

Berchmans didn’t stop there, as he was “convinced that [his other work] depends, perhaps chiefly, on the way one gets up in the morning.”

As soon as he was dressed he covered his bed, and kneeling down, poured out his soul with such ardor that one would have thought that it was the closing colloquy of a night-long prayer. He thanked his angel guardian, and the patron of the preceding day, for their protection through the day and night; he begged them to be with him all the rest of his life, and especially at the hour of his death … he [also] joined a four-fold resolution–That every thought, word, or deed that day should be purely for God’s glory; in thanksgiving for [holy communion]; to obtain a true devotion to the Blessed Virgin, and true internal humility; and that his thoughts, words, and deeds might be united with those of Christ His Lord.

All of this was done during the first 30 minutes of his day, not wasting any of his time struggling with laziness in bed.

While initially we may not be able to have the same fire that fueled the faith and determination of St. John Berchmans, we can try to follow his example in little ways. For example, instead of hitting that snooze button, try to get up from bed and pray a brief word of love to God.

If we want to be better prepared for what the day has in store for us, try to start the day on the right foot and in the grace of God.

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