Behold, the Bridegroom comes at ,
and blessed is the servant whom He shall find watching;
and again, unworthy is the servant whom He shall find heedless.
Beware, therefore, O my soul, do not be weighted down with sleep,
lest you be given up to death,
and lest you be shut out of the Kingdom!
But rouse yourself, crying: “Holy, holy, holy, are You, O our God!”
Through the Theotokos have mercy on us!
Some words from Fr. Alexander Schmemann:
Midnight is the moment when the old day comes to its end and a new day begins. It is thus the symbol of the time in which we live as Christians. For, on the one hand, the Church is still in this world, sharing in its weaknesses and tragedies. Yet, on the other hand, her true being is not of this world, for she is the Bride of Christ and her mission is to announce and to reveal the coming of the Kingdom and of the new day. Her life is a perpetual watching and expectation, a vigil pointed at the dawn of this new day. But we know how strong is still our attachment to the "old day," to the world with its passions and sins. We know how deeply we still belong to "this world." We have seen the light, 'We know Christ, we have heard about the peace and joy of the new life in Him, and yet the world holds us in its slavery. This weakness, this constant betrayal of Christ, this incapacity to give the totality of our love to the only true object of love are wonderfully expressed in the exapostilarion of these three days:
"Thy Bridal Chamber I see adorned, O my Savior And I have no wedding garment that I may enter, O Giver of life, enlighten the vesture of my soul And save me."
How often do live my life unprepared for the Bridegroom? He could come at any moment- am I prepared to meet him? My soul often sleeps. How grateful I am for Great Lent and Holy Week, times absolutely focused on rousing my soul and finding the freedom from sin that only Christ can give!