I was never a morning person. Sometimes during the summer months it would be easy to rise with the sun – the day warm and inviting. But as the summer turns to autumn, then to winter, I begin again to rely on that dastardly enemy, my alarm clock. Yet, our Lord told us to love our enemies, so let us consider three reasons why we should love our alarm clock.
First, the alarm clock calls us to serve. To serve our sisters and brothers is a fundamental part of our call as God’s beloved children. During sleep we serve no one – we do not wash each other’s feet unless we have strangely theological dreams. But waking and meeting the characters in our daily life’s story, we have countless opportunities to serve, as Christ himself came to serve. What we might see as a rude awakening in the ultimate “me-time” of sleep is also the beginning of “Thee-time” toward God and neighbor.
Second, the alarm calls us to conversion. “Conversion,” literally means to change the direction we are facing, and we physically engage in this when we rise from bed. There is a spiritual significance to this. Before alarm clocks we had, if the old cartoons are correct, roosters to wake us up, and it was through the rooster with his morning call that God’s providence called Simon Peter to conversion. As Christian life is a life of service, it is perhaps even more so a life of constant conversion from self to God. Perhaps we can see in that buzzing alarm clock a reminder of this as we start our day, for often God comes noisily into our lives to redirect our steps.
Finally, in the alarm clock we get a brief glimpse of the miracle of the resurrection. While we ask of our deceased loved ones that they “rest in peace,” let us remember that a party awaits us. The resurrection of us all, which Christ’s own resurrection inaugurated and promises, is compared to a wedding feast, and a lively one if Christ’s miracle at Cana is any indication. We are not made for “rest” in the conventional sense – we are made for celebration. Not every day in our lives can be a celebration – for many days are days of sorrow and distress – but each day contains within it the promise of that Day which will never end, when every tear will be wiped away, and we can at last rejoice in the marriage celebration of Christ, who rose for us. Let us rise therefore with him each morning.
So, what’s the practical implication? For some of us, it might be practicing that old Catholic devotion known as the “heroic minute.” Forget about the snooze button. When the alarm rings, jump out of bed like it’s on fire, and say to God, “I am ready to serve, I am ready to be converted, and I am ready for new life.” Maybe a less dramatic chain of events is in store for us – lying in bed for a few minutes in the morning saying “God, it’s a rough morning, but there are people I can serve, there is a conversion to live out, and there is a risen life in store for me.” Both are challenges. Some of us might only muster, by God’s grace, the latter. But when that old enemy comes buzzing into our lives, let us at least try to love it as God’s gift to us.