At Matins this morning, Saint Ambrose gave the following commentary on the Gospel of the Day:
At that time : Jesus said unto his disciples: Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves. And the rest.
Homily by S. Ambrose, Bishop Bk. 7 on Luke 11
This is another instance of the teaching that prayer is to be offered at all times, not only by day, but also by night. For behold, the man who sought out his friend at midnight and asked three loaves of him and persisted in his request, was not denied his prayer. What are these three loaves, except the food of the heavenly mystery? And if you love the Lord your God, you will be able to obtain it, and not only for yourself, but for others as well. For what greater friend have we than he who gave his body for us?
From him David asked bread at midnight, and received it. He asked when he said, At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto. thee. Thus he gained those loaves which he has set before us to eat. He asked when he said, Every night wash I my bed. Nor was he afraid of disturbing his friend’s sleep, because he knew him to be always watchful. And therefore, mindful of the Scriptures, let us be instant in prayer day and night, and let us ask pardon for our sins.
If David praised God seven times a day, and was always present at the morning and evening sacrifice, he who was so holy and so occupied with the needs of his kingdom, what must we do, who have greater need than he had to beseech God, since we fall so often through weakness of mind and flesh; what must we do, to avoid being starved of that bread of life, that bread that strengthens man’s heart; when we are wearied by our journey and exhausted by worldly duties and the winding path of earthly life? The Lord teaches us to be watchful, not only at midnight, but at practically every moment. For he comes at evening, and at the second watch, and at the third, and is apt to knock. Then, Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching.