Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Tossing and Turning
Sister, is there a patron saint of people who have trouble falling asleep at night?
There is a patron saint for sleep disorders. That would be St. Dymphna, the patron saint of crazy people, and by extrapolation all sorts of problems and disorders, including sleepwalking and therefore, sleep problems.
I don't think St. Dymphna is the girl for you.
I think we have to figure out why you are not falling asleep. Whatever is it, I'm sure there is a patron saint for it.
Fear of the dark? St. Giles. I really can't quite determine why that happened to St. Giles. He was a hermit. But he was also a miracle worker and many people sought him out. He hid farther and farther in the forest and so deprived himself that God sent him a deer for milk. That's her in the picture there. One day the king and his hunters tried to shoot that deer, but they missed and hit Giles leaving him forever crippled. In the picture there, it's just his hand with an arrow or something sticking out of it. I think he got hit in the leg.
After that, the king and Giles became great friends and more and more people found Giles until he had a whole monastery going and so many sick people came that a hospital sprang up.
I don't know where the fear of the night comes in there. Maybe since he was so deep in the woods.
Maybe you have some kind of physical pain that's keeping you awake. My mother is having this chronic neck pain that is wrecking her sleep. For neck pain, we look to St. Blaise. If the pain is in your leg, you can look to St. Giles.
The most common cause of insomnia is worry. There are two heavy hitters in the worry department: the patron saints against doubt, St. Joseph and St. Thomas, forever known as "Doubting Thomas", poor guy.
There are even specific saints for what you may be worried about. Losing your hair? St. Cosmos and Damian, the patron saints of hairdressers. Worried about money? The Infant of Prague. Rotten husband? St. Rita Unruly teens? St. Monica.
And when you figure it all out and are sleeping peacefully, you can call on the patron saint of sweet dreams, St. Raphael. Or, if you finally fall asleep only to be plagued by nightmares, that's St. Raphael, too. Either way, he'll help you.
Just yesterday we were talking about the myriad of saints and how much that is to think about and why we love our saints so much. I think somewhere in there a reader mentioned that even Catholics can choose to ignore the saints if they wish.
Absolutely true! Jesus has a few choice words about worry:
"But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?"