On one level the readings assigned to the seven observances of Night Prayer seem to be assigned just for the mention of night or sleep. Don’t be deceived by these little mentions and simple-seeming assignments. There is depth in these small morsels of Scripture.
In the likely first letter of Saint Paul reminds his listeners away from the dangers of overconfidence in the face of the coming of the Lord Jesus. As the last chapter of the letter, he cautions believers to be alert, virtuous, and sober.
The Church assigns two verses for Monday’s Compline, declining to mention that the apostle counsels being wide awake:
For God did not destine us for wrath, but to gain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live together with him.(1 Thessalonians 5:9-10, NABRE)
Certainly, the human need for rest is not incompatible with awareness of the seriousness of the disciple’s life. We rest so as to strengthen our bodies as well as our minds. God knows that sleep brings the opportunity for perspective, and sometimes dreams. The human being is made to rest. It is as much a part of our nature as the desire for God. Returning to a state of peace, rejecting wrath, and seeking a graced union with the Lord: this is our task at the end of any day.