February 28, 2020

Pastoral Ministries / Gabriela Ross

Taking time and thanking God that it’s Sunday

“If you could speak to God with complete honesty right now, and share your needs with him, what would you say?” Slowly letting out a breath, a word came to mind without much effort. “Rest. I need rest.” It’s amazing how one sentence from a homily can put life in perspective.

We all have busy seasons in life. Then there are those rare moments where time stops, and we really soak in the life we’re living.

More often than not, we seem comfortable in the routine of productivity that has us saying “busy but good” when someone asks how we’re doing, and “thank God it’s Friday” at the end of each week. Maybe we forget that God rested on the seventh day of creation and commanded us to do the same (the Third Commandment, Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2168).

What if, as Catholics, we looked forward to Sunday the way our culture looks forward to Friday? What would it look like to have a truly restful, rejuvenating holy day each week? And what would that look like in our very real, mostly messy, often hectic family life? These are some ideas:

• Make the most of Mass: Reflect on the readings prayerfully ahead of time. If that’s not an option, read along during Mass and take to heart what you hear. Had a family interruption? Take five minutes at home to reflect on the readings you missed. Commit to hearing God’s word on the Lord’s day.

• Pray: Speak to God from the heart and share your needs. Give thanks for what he has done for you this past week. Ask what he wants from you. Listen to what he has to say.

• Eat a good meal: Give thanks for God’s bounty and build relationships by wasting time with family, friends and those who are lonely. Have a meal that you prepare, enjoy and clean up together. Good food, good conversation, no time limit, no agenda.

• Make a gift of yourself: Call a friend or family member who is homebound. Knit a scarf for someone in need. Make your famous cookies for the family who is going through hard times. Paint something beautiful, write a poem, decorate your home for hospitality, go for a walk with a loved one and offer to just listen.

• Play: God rejoiced over his creation on the seventh day! Do something fun and creative! Play board games or cards, football or Frisbee, read a great book, go to the park, blow bubbles, go hiking, watch birds, play an instrument, listen to a symphony orchestra! Include the whole family—read a children’s book that your kiddos act out and laugh with them as everyone gets a little silly. Set out simple ingredients and have a “Master Chef” competition where you try each other’s creations and act like you are on TV the whole time. Whatever you do, and whatever works for you, awaken your soul to beauty and joy.

• Obey: Sunday is holy. Make an effort to honor God in your thoughts, words and actions (every day, but restart intentionally on Sundays). Live the Ten Commandments. Seek peace and reconciliation with God, neighbor and family. Invite the Holy Spirit to rekindle your faith.

• Rest: Because you need it. Real life, honest to goodness, actual rest. Take a nap. Sit on the front porch (or by a window if it’s freezing outside). Rest in silence from this loud, busy life. Unplug while you rest. Go to bed early.

What would you add? Make a list! And have a restful Sunday.

(Gabriela Ross is the coordinator of the archdiocesan Office of Marriage and Family Life in the Pastoral Ministries Secretariat. She can be reached at gross@archindy.org.)

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