I’ve spent the past few days running around away from home – errands, baking day at the parish, van repairs, and waiting for rides from friends to get me where I need to go. This morning, I woke up knowing there was nowhere to be and nothing to do but the homey tasks that bring me joy. Compared to the busy streets in town, my long dirt road feels soft and alive under my feet, and all the light is green-tinted with the glow of summer leaves. Even the clouds have rolled away this morning, as if my land is determined to remind me of all it’s bright beauty.
I want to sleep away the day, outside under the monarda, but I’ve been gathering homestead chores during my busy days. There’s much to do, so I’m asking the Seven Sleepers to share the day with me.
The Sleepers were awaiting martyrdom in the 3rd century when Decius the Emperor was persecuting Christians. These seven hid in a cave and prayed as the emperor’s men searched for them. God cast the seven into a deep sleep, and when the emperor’s men discover the sleepers, they sealed up the cave and left the saints to suffocate or starve to death.
Instead, the sleepers had the world’s longest nap. They woke up, refreshed and ready for martyrdom in the 5th century. Decius was long dead and their native Ephesus was embroiled in a Christian controversy over the resurrection of the body. So the Seven Sleepers cleared up the controversy and then fell into the sleep of death full of peace and joy.
They’re the patrons of insomnia, restlessness, and of course, over sleeping. So I’ve asked them to keep me in line today. Let me sit quietly under the monarda for a while, but not for too long! Their feast day is on June (or July in the old calendar) 27th in the West and August 4th in the East.
I like the old calendar, pre-Vatican II, so we’ll be doing something to celebrate at the end of the month. But for today, I’m just asking the Sleepers to help me stave off sleepiness a little bit longer.