Do you know why God rested on the seventh day? Because he had created man and woman who would help with his work! At least that’s according to one wit. Ordinarily we interpret God’s “rest” as a model for us. Jewish people rest on Saturday. Christians shifted this rest to Sunday because it was the day Jesus rose from the dead. This first day of the week is our “Lord’s Day.” Rev. Andrew Greeley wrote, “If we have not had experiences through the weekend that deepened our faith, that heightened our religious sensitivity that bring a little bit more of tranquility and serenity into our lives, then religiously speaking, the weekend has been a waste.”
Special days that break our daily routine are essential for our physical and mental well-being. There are more facets to life than work. That is why our creator, who knows us better than we know ourselves, mandated a sabbath rest. Sabbath is a “sanctuary in time” when we ponder the great truths of existence, celebrate at Mass the Paschal Mystery that saved us, and just enjoy being alive. Sabbath rest foreshadows our eternal rest with God.
Our culture has mostly transformed Sunday into just another weekday. This homogenized week deprives us of sabbath, a God-given gift to be fully human. We can reclaim Sunday by making it special again. How? By resisting Sunday sales and the temptation to catch up on work. Let’s use Sunday’s fourteen or so hours to do something fun: go birding or biking, walk in a park or swim in a lake, read that book we’ve been meaning to read, go to a good movie, play a game or a musical instrument. Sunday is a day to get to know family members better and enjoy them, to visit relatives and friends, and to engage in acts of mercy that we might not have time for during the week. Other ways to make Sunday different: Instead of going to Mass on Saturday garbed in everyday clothes, go on Sunday dressed up in our “Sunday best.” Prepare a delicious home-cooked meal or a picnic and invite others. Place a lovely bouquet in the house. Listen to favorite music. Pray extra. When circumstances prevent a Sunday sabbath, we can take “mini-sabbaths.”
How do you tap into the power of Sunday rest to enrich your life and be all that you can be?