The Sleep of Sin
“Joyous today were the Watchers, that the Wakeful came to wake us! Who would pass this night in slumber, in which all the world was watching? Since Adam brought into the world the sleep of death by sins, the Wakeful came down that that He might awake us from the deep sleep of sin. Watch not we as usurers, who thinking on money put to interest, watch at night so oft, to reckon up their capitol, and interest. Wakeful and cautious is the thief, who in the earth hath buried and concealed his sleep. His wakefulness all comes to this, that he may cause much wakefulness to those that sleep. …
“For whoever is like this clear One, wakeful and powerful in darkness, him in this darkness visible a light unseen surrounds! The bad man that in daylight stands, yet as a son of darkness deals; though with light clad outwardly, inside is with darkness girt. Be we not deceived, beloved, by the fact that we are watching!” ~St. Ephraim the Syrian
The convoluted and archaic language makes this quite difficult to understand, especially if you have limited experience with the spiritual. Let’s see if we can break it down into something understandable.
The “watchers” mentioned in the early part of the quote could also be called “the seekers”, namely those of us who seek spiritual enlightenment. The Wakeful (note the capitalization) clearly represents a holy being, a Light Being or Angel. St. Ephraim is calling this being “Wakeful” meaning that he is one who awakens us from our spiritual sleep, from the sleep of illusion, the sleep of sin. This sleep is the sleep in which we accept the physical, material world at face value. We don’t question it’s reality, we don’t question it’s permanence, we don’t ask,”is there something more?”. This is the sleep of the spirit and soul. The spirit and soul are in a dormant state, a kind of coma, when we come into the material world, and the Wakeful one try to awaken us from that sleep. St. Ephraim goes on to warn that those of us who spend too much time collecting and counting our money, in other words, those who become too attached to the material, make it harder for us to awaken, or be awakened by the efforts of the Wakeful.
The line about the thief is particularly confusing. We generally think of a thief as a bad guy, but in this case, the thief seems to be a good guy. The thief is one who steals our “sleep” or awakens us from that spiritual coma, and is therefore someone to be welcomed.
We are then warned that it is easy to be confused about who is a dark being, and who is one of light. We are told that even in the darkest night, a person of Light shines with an inner glow that can be seen or sensed by others who are awakened. On the other hand, an evil person, a materialist, or even a demon or devil, can stand in bright light making him appear to be a Light Being, but inside he is full of darkness. It is this ability of a dark one to seem to be a Light Being that fooled Eve and other into doing wrong because they thought they were talking to an angel. One must learn to see beyond external appearances, and look deep inside to see if the person is truly one of light or one of darkness.
Fortunately for us, we live in the age of the Sun of Righteousness, so we need not wait for a Wakeful one to come wake us, we can turn to the spiritual sun and let that spiritual light awaken and nourish the soul. In fact, the only thing a Wakeful being can do is to turn us toward that sun The Light that awakensa the soul always comes from that sun.