Saturday, September 17, 2011

Falling In Love With The Sabbath

We do not use the Sabbath merely as a "breather" to gather strength for our coming labors. We work during the week for the sake of creating our Sabbath rest.

The difference between the work we do the rest of the week and the rest we do on the Sabbath lies in the object toward which each is directed. With our labor during the week, we seek to change and improve the world. With our rest, we seek to change and improve ourselves and to renew our relationship with God, family, and community and truly feel how much we have to be grateful for. - Senator Joe Lieberman, The Gift of Rest: Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbath

I am really loving the Sabbath right now.

At the moment, my window is open to the night sounds. The soft chirping of the crickets rise above the occasional sound of a car. My work is done for the day and I've prepared my home for the Sabbath.

I can't quite explain how good it feels to be so intentional about all of this. I know my life will have ups and downs and at times I won't have an entire day to rest because of various reasons. But I know that I will try to protect this day in a way I never have before. Like a newly discovered treasure, I wish to keep it sacred and precious; not wanting to toss it aside. I may dally with meaningless diversions at other times, but the Sabbath has now become the meat of the week, the delicious, flavorful Prime Rib that makes the other days of Ground Chuck bearable.

Since "confessions" has been an ongoing theme, I'll share yet another. I don't spend enough time with God. As much as I love and honor Him, I don't yet spend much time in prayer. It wasn't always like this. I used to be involved in deep Scripture study and prayer when I was involved in the non-denominational churches and even after returning to the Catholic Church, faithfully prayed the Rosary and started to discover various prayers, which I loved. (The Sacred Heart of Jesus is one.)

I'm not sure if there was any one main reason, but over the past year, I became busy with other projects and started to decrease my time in prayer. If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you've seen me start several projects and then stop. There have been a few I've continued, but often I have a multitude of ideas but then lose interest after launching them. I've heard this is a weakness for creative folks.

But honoring the Sabbath is starting to turn me around. I have been looking forward to tomorrow all week. It's Wednesday, only three more days and then the Sabbath!

I have tasted the serene fruit of the Sabbath and now want more. I want to connect with my heavenly Father, focus on what is truly important, reconnect with my husband and allow my mind to take a break from all the concerns and worries from the week. I want to give one day to God to thank Him for everything He has done for me. I want to return to work on Mondays without dread or a feeling of weariness. It's quite amazing to me that taking the steps to make sure I don't do physical work on Sunday and setting aside my computer would make such a huge difference in my life, but it has.

I hope to discover more things tomorrow. I know that tonight I was ready to complain to my husband about something work-related and then stopped myself. I thought, "Tomorrow is the Sabbath. Jewish people take a break from even thinking about their jobs. I think I'm going to follow their lead." So I even started my "Sabbath thinking" early and decided to not even mention work and certainly won't tomorrow. In fact, if I think of it at all, it will be in gratitude to God for giving me a good job.

I'll be interested in anyone else's experience with honoring the Sabbath. It's becoming a bit of an obsession now with me and it would be interesting to see if anyone else has experienced a difference in their life such as becoming more peaceful or gaining a spiritual insight they didn't have before.

I'll keep you posted. :-)

1 comment:

Nicole said...

From the Holy Council of Florence, On Union with the Greeks and conversion of non-Christians:

"Since experience shows that social communication between converts renders them weaker in our faith, and has been found to damage much their salvation, this Holy Synod exhorts local ordinaries to exercise care and zeal that they are married to born-Christians, in so far as this seems to promote an increase of the faith. Converts should be forbidden, under pain of severe penalties, to bury the dead according to the Jewish custom or to observe in any way the sabbath and other solemnities and rites of their old sect. Rather, they should frequent our Churches and sermons, like other Catholics, and conform themselves in everything to Christian customs. Those who show contempt for the above should be delated to the diocesan bishops or inquisitors of heresy by their parish priests, or by others who are entrusted by law or ancient custom with inquiring into such matters, or by anyone else at all. Let them be so punished, with the aid of the secular arm if need be, as to give an example to others."

and The Bull of Union with the Copts:

"It firmly believes, professes and teaches that the legal prescriptions of the Old Testament or the Mosaic Law, which are divided into ceremonies, holy sacrifices and sacraments, because they were instituted to signify something in the future, although they were adequate for the Divine cult of that age, once our Lord Jesus Christ Who was signified by them, had come, came to an end, and the sacraments of the New Testament had their beginning. Whoever, after the passion, places his hope in the legal prescriptions and submits himself to them as necessary for salvation and as if faith in Christ without them could not save, sins mortally. It does not deny that from Christ's Passion until the promulgation of the Gospel they could have been retained, provided they were in no way believed to be necessary for salvation. But it asserts that after the promulgation of the Gospel they cannot be observed without loss of eternal salvation. Therefore, it denounces all who after that time observe circumcision, the sabbath and other legal prescriptions as strangers to the faith of Christ and unable to share in eternal salvation, unless they recoil at some time from these errors. Therefore it strictly orders all who glory in the name of Christian, not to practise circumcision either before or after Baptism, since whether or not they place their hope in it, it cannot possibly be observed without loss of eternal salvation."

I personally take that as good reason to shun the observance of the Jewish Sabbath.

-- Nicole