Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Some Notes on Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy

When I was little, my parents observed Sabbath rest. I remember *only once* my Dad asked me to clean a bookshelf on a Sunday afternoon. I said, "But Dad, I'm not supposed to do work on Sundays!" And he quipped, "You can do work on Sunday only if you didn't get done what you were supposed to do on Saturday."  It was one minor chore- I knew what he meant.

We all know that the national chain Chik-fil-a keeps it doors closed on Sundays, and guess what? It seems to be working. "They say our chicken tastes better on Mondays..."  Did you know that they make more per store than other fast food chains (except Dunkin Donuts!!), and they have stayed consistent with their policy in every new store opened, in every location?  Yum! Love me some CFA. :)

Recently, I have had on my mind the topic of the Sabbath.  I have had a hard time going to Mass every single Sunday this past year.  It is common practice for our entire family to go to Mass every week. Stephen hasn't missed a Sunday this year.  I have missed a few due to pregnancy sickness & exhaustion, as well as some 'mental health days.'  But you know what? God gives us Sabbath rest as a gift, because he knows that we humans need it! And it gives us grace! :) But the important thing to remember with all of this is that Sundays and Mass attendance should not be seen as miserable or a terrible duty.

I think that - despite those days when we are too sick to attend Mass- we need to think about Sabbath rest in terms of Mass attendance as first priority. It is a grave, nay even mortal sin, to miss Mass. It is spiritual food and it is the best way to stay healthy spiritually.  If you receive communion, you have a Sunday obligation to be at Mass. Let's think about putting the effort we normally put into work, instead into the act of going to Mass.

Channel the energy you would normally use for work, and put that energy into getting up, getting dressed, and driving to Mass.

Additionally, we also need to think about what it means to observe this Sabbath rest all day long on Sundays.

However, we take little allowances, we make excuses, we make compromises.

I'm pretty sure God doesn't see work on Sundays as glorifying the fourth commandment.

How could we observe the Sabbath without "doing the work I was supposed to do yesterday"?

I know that I always get the most done when I make a list.

Instead of making a to-do list, make a "my rest" list.  Write it down. Follow it to a t.

It might look like this:

-Attend Mass
-Practice drawing
-Go for a walk
-Take a nap
-Cook a good meal
-Play a family game
-Go for a drive/swim/bike ride
-Read a good book
-Listen to peaceful music

Write down some things you might find relaxing.  Other than Mass attendance, how would you be able to enjoy your day of rest, as well as giving glory to your Heavenly Father?

You might also make a "to-don't list" that might look like this:

-Don't cut the grass
-Don't do laundry
-Don't do the ironing
-Don't go shopping
-Don't check Facebook
-the dishes/sweeping are mandatory, but make it easy on yourself

Take a rest from your daily routine, and I guarantee you will feel mightily rested on Monday, and refreshed, and in my experience, you'll get even more done and be more productive on Monday-- because God rewards the righteous, as it says in the Proverbs, "The way of the lazy is a hedge of thorns, but the path of the righteous is made a highway."

A few tips:

-Let's say you find yourself sorting laundry out of habit on a Sunday afternoon. Maybe this will help: consider that the night before Sunday (Saturday after sundown) is also considered Sabbath.  That means once the sun goes down on Sunday, if you need to get your laundry done before Monday, you can do it then.
-Remember that with that, you shouldn't do work on Saturday night!
-If you are abstaining from something for religious reasons, remember that Sundays are a day of rest and a day of feasting (particularly, during the season of Lent)
-If you are using Sabbath rest to be lazy, consider that watching sports, avoiding dishes, and sleeping in do not count as Sabbath, because those things are not honoring to God! These things are done out of the desires of the flesh!:)
-Most importantly, make your priority: spirit over flesh. Live by the spirit, not by legalistic rules. Trust your conscience and try to live a holy life. Decisions will flow out from that first posture. :)
-Try to enjoy Sundays- they're a gift from God, not a miserable duty as some would have you believe!

May God bless you.

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