Conquer yourself each day from the very first moment, getting up on the dot, at a fixed time, without yielding a single minute to laziness (Josemaria Escriva).
If every day presents the opportunity for a new beginning, then waking up is the first call to action. It’s the pacesetter for the rest of the day. It’s when you get to choose whether to obey the flesh (just a few more minutes of rest) or the spirit (let me rise to greet the day).
Am I being dramatic?
Maybe. Maybe not.
If you’re like me, that “few more minutes of rest” often turns into a few more hours. I sleep away the time I could be leveraging to work on my DEEP and keep moving towards my goals.
Having often read from Josemaria’s classic work, The Way, his advice is always present: “If, with God’s help, you conquer yourself, you will be well ahead for the rest of the day. It’s so discouraging to find oneself beaten at the first skirmish!”
He passed on in 1975, but before he left the world he left an indelible mark on it. Escriva founded the Opus Dei organization for personal spiritual growth. He was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2002.
True to form, Escriva and Opus Dei are “reviled by some and venerated by millions more.” It’s not my aim to give an opinion on the politics of either, but this much I do know: The sure way to avoid criticism is to stand for nothing.
What does interest me is how he came to decide to dedicate himself to a definite path.
Josemaria Escriva’s Roadturn
In the winter of 1918, his hometown was buried in snow. Escriva had just turned 16, and his youthful energy had him out for a walk while most of the residents of Logrono, Spain, stayed indoors.
Escriva noticed that someone else had braved the frozen path as well… someone walking barefoot. The young man stood staring at the trail. He knew the prints belonged to a Carmelite monk. And one thought nagged him from then on: “Others give of themselves and suffer hardship for the sake of the Gospel, what can I do?”
He went on to the seminary in San Carlos, where he would go daily to the basilica and ask “What is it that you want and that I don’t know?”
He went on to counsel, care for, and influence thousands (millions) of others. Though I know Escriva only through his little book, and I don’t necessarily subscribe to everything he wrote, I love his ability to stir up determination and fortitude.
For much of his life, his job was to coach other priests in how to live a truly religious life.
How can you get out of bed in the morning?
Getting up in the morning is a battle that’s been fought from the beginning. Why leave the sure comfort of a warm bed for the sure duties waiting in the sometimes cold world?
One thing I’ve noted is that my ability to get out of bed quickly is related to what I think is waiting for me. If it’s a fishing trip to the lake, I’ve no problem rolling out before daylight.
And when I worked as a city firefighter, the sound of the station bell sounding out an alarm never failed to get me to roll out fast.
There’s not always a pressing reason to get up, though. Some days the chores ahead seem dull and unpleasant. My will to act gives in to procrastination and laziness. I roll over like the proverbial “door on a hinge” to drift back into resignation.
Escriva’s view of the morning battle can be a real help:
The heroic minute. It is the time fixed for getting up. Without hesitation: a supernatural reflection and… up! The heroic minute: here you have a mortification that strengthens your will and does no harm to your body.
See the morning as your first test of the day. Will you get into gear or will you fail to act on your own behalf? Will you carry out your plans, or will you let them remain on the back burner?
It’s up to you.
For help with getting from where you are to where you’ve always wanted to be, sign up for The DEEP training. It’s free, it’s powerful, and it’s time.