Very few people observe the rule of the Sabbath day just as very few stores are closed on Sundays. In a day when nothing but profit remains sacred, it’s hard to believe that years back, business was closed on Sunday. Whether Catholic, protestant, or secular, the culture recognized the uniqueness of Sunday as a day of rest.
While the culture is recently interested about, being “productive” on Sunday, we Catholics should still respect the Lord’s day.
Here are seven reasons why you should rest on Sunday.
1. God commands it
The first and most important reason for resting on Sundays is because God commands it. In Exodus 20, God gives his people ten commandments that summarize the moral law. Among these is a commandment to “remember the sabbath day to keep it holy.”
How is the Sabbath to be kept holy? By resting.
Six days you shall labor, 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, you, or your son, or your daughter, your manservant, or your maidservant, or your cattle, or the sojourner who is within your gates.
Mother Church also instructs the faithful to rest on Sundays, including a commandment to rest as the first of her six precepts.
“The first precept (“You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor”) requires the faithful to sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord as well as the principal liturgical feasts honoring the mysteries of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the saints; in the first place, by participating in the Eucharistic celebration, in which the Christian community is gathered, and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days” (CCC #2042).
In other words, go to Mass and then enjoy some leisure.
2. God rested
When you think of resting on Sundays, you may immediately begin to think of reasons why it is impractical. Perhaps you don’t feel tired, or maybe you have too much to get done to take a day off, or maybe you simply don’t want to.
Whatever the reasons you come up with, though, your excuses are exploded by the fact that God rested on the seventh day and if anyone does not need to take a break, it is him.
Think about it, God has unlimited energy. Creating the universe, magnificent and complex at it is, was not taxing for him. He could have created a million universes without breaking a sweat. And yet he rested.
3. You need time with family and friends
This modern world is fueled by technology and has left us more isolated than ever before. The lack of face-to-face, personal interaction has left families fragmented and many people are painfully lonely.
When is the last time you shared a meal with your family, wife, and children or close relatives? Big Sunday meals with the family after Mass used to be a highlight of every Catholic week. They still should be.
Sundays, if properly respected, offer a unique opportunity to spend time with those we love, whether that is family or friends.
4. You actually need it
Whether you think so or not, you need to rest on Sundays. Unlike God, you do not have unlimited creative energy. It is a scientific fact that the human brain and body can only take so much activity without deteriorating dramatically. The vast majority of us are overworked and stressed out, teetering on the brink of burnout. In fact, business is a badge of honor in some circles.
Stress is hard on the body, and the rest is absolutely essential to productivity.
According to St. Thomas, “Without work, it is impossible to have fun.” This could easily be reversed: Without fun (rest), it is impossible to work effectively. You need a day off to recuperate before tackling a new work week.
5. It is important for Prayer and spiritual reading
The saints tell us that prayer is absolutely essential to salvation. Spiritual reading, too, offers us an opportunity to hear God speaking in return. These two activities should be weekly habits for every Catholic.
Yet, despite their critical importance, many of us are so busy that we feel we simply do not have time to pray, read, or meditate as we want to. That’s why Sundays are so important. They offer us the space we need to commune with our Lord, both literally in the Holy Eucharist, but also in restful times of prayer and meditation on the truths of the Faith.
6. Take a naps
Sundays are all about rest, and there’s no better way to celebrate this fact than taking a good nap.
7. Do things you enjoy
Creativity is part of being made in the image of God. It is fascinating that cultures of the past had far less of what we would consider free time, and yet everything they made from tools to blankets to clothing was made beautiful with intricate patterns and decorations. These days, we have countless conveniences that give us incredible amounts of free time, but rather than creating, we consume.
It is important for men to have a creative outlet. The options are endless—writing, woodworking, gardening, model building, working on engines, leather-working, and a lot more. Again, Sunday offers a unique opportunity to work with our hands, doing something we enjoy for its own sake.