Ever wonder from where we get the word “sabbatical”? We hear of people going on a “sabbatical” meaning that after many years of working in a job they are now taking time off, sometimes with pay, to refresh themselves – bodies, minds or spirits or to learn new things.
Observing “Sabbath” or taking a “sabbatical” could mean taking a few minutes to pause in the day, or keeping holy the Sabbath day, or a year off for letting ourselves or nature “lie fallow” (I remember when I lived in Couva noticing how a cane field, every two or three years, was dug up, left to lie fallow for a whole year to catch itself and then new “ratoons” were planted); or a time for celebration every significant number of years.
From our very earliest days we learned that the third commandment is: Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labour, 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 (Exodus 20:8-10).
“…the seventh day must be a day of complete rest consecrated to the Lord” (Ex 31:15).
We, present-day Catholics, are bombarded by noise and the lures of technology, yet we are called to experience Sabbath.
The section in the Catechism of the Catholic Church that refers to the third commandment is very relevant for us today. I quote some of the articles found there and emphasise important aspects. I suggest reading these articles and pondering them, discussing them with family, friends and church members.
#2184 – Just as God “rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done,” human life has a rhythm of work and rest. The institution of the Lord’s Day helps everyone enjoy adequate rest and leisure to cultivate their familial, cultural, social, and religious lives.
#2191 The Church celebrates the day of Christ’s Resurrection on the “eighth day,” Sunday, which is rightly called the Lord’s Day.
#2192 “Sunday . . . is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church” (CIC, can. 1246 § 1). “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass” (CIC, can. 1247).
#2193 “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound . . . to abstain from those labours and business concerns which impede the worship to be rendered to God, the joy which is proper to the Lord’s Day, or the proper relaxation of mind and body” (CIC, can. 1247).
#2195 Every Christian should avoid making unnecessary demands on others that would hinder them from observing the Lord’s Day.
Because Sunday, the Lord’s day, is a special day, in keeping with its spirit we do things differently to the rest of the week. We create space for “sufficient rest and leisure to cultivate familial, cultural, social, and religious lives”.
As well as attending Eucharist, here are some other suggestions:
*Turn off the TV and the cell phone and rest in the silence, especially the inner silence where God speaks to you
* Spend time with your children and enjoy them – play with them, read to them.
* Contemplate nature for a few minutes – a flower, a tree, the mountains, the sea, the waves – they are all free and God-given. Thank God for this beauty of creation.
*Go on an outing – a “lime” with friends or family to some nature place – the Hollows, the zoo, the beach,
* Go on an outing with parishioners, socialise with them and pray together.
* Reduce to an absolute minimum the work to be done, either housework or on the computer
* Listen to good music, music that lifts up the heart, with clean lyrics and good melody. Turn down the volume.
* Play a game of cricket with family or friends
* Do something special with the Sunday meal. Eat at the table with a tablecloth, pray before and after the meal, light a candle to remind you that Jesus is the light of the world. Turn off the TV.
*Read the gospel together and allow each family member to share a few thoughts on it.
Say the family rosary together,
*Watch a good family movie together
* Find a quiet moment to thank God for all God’s blessings to you and the family.
Enjoy life in a wholesome manner.
What about trying some of these! – Sr Marie Young HF for Archdiocesan Catechetical Office