“Happy those servants the master finds awake when he comes.”

When not joyfully goading the one and a half million young pilgrims at World Youth Day last weekend in Poland to resist being couch potatoes with their lives, Pope Francis was more earnestly adjuring them not to live life in a haze. “Little by little, without even realising it we start to nod off, to grow drowsy. This is a great form of paralysis… going through life asleep, or on tranquillizers, in a haze.” This isn’t though a useful reminder just for the young but for us all. It is what Jesus encourages us and then warns us about in today’s Gospel. As Jesus’ disciples if we lose that “restlessness present in the human heart” which, like the attentive servants of the Gospel, keeps us expectant of our Master’s return, if we forget in the routines and pressures of life the focus on His presence to us through the Holy Spirit in a periodic recollection through the day, then we will lose sight of Him even as His “gaze remains constant, even when it is not met”. That would be a tragedy both for ourselves and for others in whom we should be searching for Christ, attentive to Him even as we try to assist them in their lives. I hope August affords you some time to take stock therefore of your state of alertness or drowsiness in the living of vocation and life! Certainly, that is what I hope for in these weeks I have away until the end of the month. The Pope urged the young to pray thus to stay awake: “It will do us good to pray every morning: ‘Lord, I thank you for loving me; I am sure that you love me; help me to be in love with my own life!’”            Fr Michael