The Catholic Church is celebrating the Year of Faith. So I signed up for a daily dose of catechism. This one popped up a few weeks ago.
If Sunday is disregarded or abolished, only workdays are left in the week. Man, who was created for joy, degenerates into a workhorse and a mindless consumer. We must learn on earth how to celebrate properly, or else we will not know what to do in heaven. Heaven is an endless Sunday.
It’s referring to the Third (or Fourth, if you are a Protestant) Commandment. The biblical text is as follows:
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Six days you shall labor, and do all your work;
but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God;
in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son,
or your daughter, your manservant,
or your maidservant or your cattle,
or the sojourner who is within your gates;
for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
and rested the seventh day;
therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it.
The verse from Exodus references Genesis and the creation story:
And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.
Oh man, I have so many thoughts on how this is (not) working in my life. The last two weeks since this posted I have been chewing on it, with a side of my mom’s recent comment that we’re a pretty busy family, and my months long obsession with finding the exact right trailer for my family, which ate up a fair amount of weekends.
On Sundays, we go to church. We’re home by 10:30. And then it’s play time. Or shop time. Or clean the house because folks are coming for dinner time. It is rarely ever rest time.
And am I joy-full on Sundays? As I’m playing or shopping or cleaning and cooking, am I mindful of God and His day?
Sometimes, like when we head straight down to the beach after Mass, and have a lovely day playing in God’s ocean. On those days there is always a time when I utter a prayer of thanksgiving for the weather and the sun and the salty sea water.
Sometimes, like last Sunday, when I sit next to my dad and watch my kids play with their grandma in the pool. On those days I am filled with the joy of loving family and memory-making.
And sometimes, when I have managed to get every single chore done by Saturday so that Shea can lay on the couch and watch his Bills in peace and quiet while I write or read or watch a movie with the kids, I am joyfully grateful for the rest.
But those Sabbaths happen far too infrequently. Too many Sundays are spent at the mall, where I can score $100 worth of clothes for $60. I feel victory and satisfaction, but not joy. And I am certainly not mindful of God while I am bargain hunting.
Then I realized this: every car we have bought as a couple has been purchased on a Sunday, which means we have haggled and hassled and played good cop-bad cop on the Sabbath. I’m trying to screw you before you can screw me mode is neither joyful nor restful, and it’s impossible at those times to be mindful of anyone but your own self.
So the truth is, too many of our Sabbaths have been rushed and crammed and cranky and mindless.
My spirit is itchy, which means we are out of Alignment and need a change.
I want to be better at honoring this Commandment. What can we do in our family to both honor the Commandment and instill in our kids the wonderful knowledge that God, in His wisdom and love, has commanded us to rest and be joyful.
I want Heaven to be an endless day on the beach at Coronado. Not endless hours of haggling with a used car salesman.
So if you’ve got thoughts, I’ve got ears. How do you keep and bless this day in your homes?