Reclaiming Sabbath

With only a few weeks of Lent remaining, I want to offer a suggestion for our faith journeys that will carry us beyond Lent: reclaiming Sabbath. Despite the promise of technology to make us more efficient and give us more free time, we are busier than ever, and it is becoming more of a challenge to disengage and find time for rest, renewal, silence, quiet, and time simply to be with God. Not only have we lost the spirit of Sabbath, but we, as a society, have lost the value of rest that renews. Instead, we proudly wear our busy-ness as badges of honor.
It seems we have gotten away from the practice of Sabbath in our lives. Sometimes our institutions do not help this practice of Sabbath by hosting non-faith related events on Sundays, such as sporting games, meetings, or fundraisers. All of these are good things and can be meaningful activities for us to participate in. However, if we never take a day or even a shorter time period to give our time to Christ, Sunday becomes like every other day where the fullness of our schedules keeps us from doing what the Sabbath is meant to do: open our time to God so he might renew us and guide us.
Let us embrace St. John Paul II’s words on Sabbath rest:

I would strongly urge everyone to rediscover Sunday: Do not be afraid to give your time to Christ! Yes, let us open our time to Christ, that he may cast light upon it and give it direction. He is the One who knows the secret of time and the secret of eternity, and he gives us “his day” as an ever new gift of his love. The rediscovery of this day is a grace which we must implore, not only so that we may live the demands of faith to the full, but also so that we may respond concretely to the deepest human yearnings. Time given to Christ is never time lost, but is rather time gained, so that our relationships and indeed our whole life may become more profoundly human. (On Keeping the Lord’s Day Holy)

I invite us to turn to Jesus and ask him to help us answer:

  • How might we reclaim the practice of the Sabbath in our personal lives?
  • How might we reclaim the Sabbath within our Catholic institutions so that we can help each other embrace Sabbath moments in our lives?

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