Midterms. Finals. Papers. Oh, my! Being a recent college graduate, I can definitely recall the painful experience of pulling an “all-nighter”: eyes swelling, body shaking, head about to explode. The night becomes unbearable from cramming so much information in so little time. If only there was more time! As a student brother, I still find myself pulling all-nighters. (In fact, I just did it last night for my midterm this morning!)
But I am in good company. It was said that St. Dominic “spent whole nights almost without sleep, so untiring was his desire to study.” St. Dominic was able to pull all-nighters because he was motivated to study. He wasn’t motivated to stay awake studying because of wasting too much time at parties on the weekends or because of worry for his job security. St. Dominic desired to study because he desired to know the Truth. It was in this way of learning the Truth that our Holy Father delighted to spend his nights.
When I end up having to pull an all-nighter, I often think about the image of St. Dominic’s eighth way of prayer. It is a striking image that reminds me of why I am spending my time in study in the first place. The image is of St. Dominic reading a book: this is the “book of Charity… it teaches everything.” As the holy saint raises his eyes to give them rest from reading, he checks the time in front of him: not the time that has passed, but the time remaining, waiting to be filled with the quiet of prayerful study.
“Wholly refreshed and, in great interior peace, he then returned to his book,” strengthened and renewed by his communion with the crucified Lord through the wood of his desk.
Image: Eighth Way of Prayer