Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sanctifying your Sunday - how do you do it?

How much do you work on Sunday? We are commanded to make Sunday a day of rest to honour the Lord, to make it holy and set apart for the praise of God, His work of creation, and His saving actions on behalf of Israel. That means no slave labour, like cleaning toilets, shoveling ditches and getting down on your hands and knees to scrub the kitchen floor until it shines, doesn't it?

Seriously, what do you take it to mean? Do you throw a load of laundry in the washer and dryer on Sunday? Or do you set the day aside for spiritual reading and reserve your servile work for the dinner duties? The Baltimore Catechism tells us that family needs or important social service can legitimately excuse us from the obligation of Sunday rest, but it also says that we have to give everyone a public example of prayer, respect, and joy to defend our traditions as a precious contribution to the spiritual life of society. (I guess that means I can't wash and wax my car on Sunday after all!)

So if Sunday is your only day off and after Mass you get home, look around and think how much housework you can get done between now and dinner time, do you do it? Or are you content to relax with a good book by one of the saints while the laundry crawls its way to the corner and hides there until tomorrow?

I used to think it was fine to spend my Sundays doing one of my favourite hobbies - landscaping and gardening - until a friend pointed out that I was setting a bad example for others who may not understand that I loved pushing a wheelbarrow full of rich topsoil and spending the afternoon arranging rocks and pulling weeds. Of course, I responded to my friend that I loved landscaping and considered it a form of relaxation. But to the casual observer, she pointed out, especially to one who knows I am Catholic, they might think I have no consideration for the Lord's Day by working like that outside in my yard for all to see. Ever since then, I have been careful not to set a bad example for others (of course, sometimes I fail miserably), and I have tried not to do excessive housework on Sunday.

Of course, as I sit and type this, I know that tomorrow I will have a lot of housework to catch up on...

8 comments:

Angela Messenger said...

We go to Mass on Sunday and I put off the heavy housework until Monday (my day off.)I try to do a little spiritual reading and just be present to my husband - it's our only common day off together.

I think that gardening (as opposed to lawn mowing) is not servile work if you enjoy that. I have to wonder if giving up gardening might be a tad scrupulous?

paramedicgirl said...

Oh, I didn't give up gardening, Angela! I just don't save it for Sundays anymore. I still do all my own landscaping, but I reserve Sunday for family activities now, not just for "me" activities.

Karin said...

I really wish my hubby where more religious...as it stands now, becuase of the work he is in (culinary) he is working all Sundays. So there is no rest for him (sadly).
The kids and I attend Mass on Sundays and then attempt to take it easier (no heavy manuel labor) but as a mom there always seems that there is something that requires my attention, even on Sunday.
Did I mention I really wished my husband would get out of the culinary field, it really would make a world of difference!!!

AquinaSavio: said...

Sunday is always a day of relaxation for us. It is very rare that any of us do any work on Sundays. I do some homework and just hang out with my family and friends.

Shirley said...

I have to confess, I did some really heavy work on Sunday- lugging 18 ft. rails and nailing them to posts (all by myself)so that I can finish the corral and bring my mares home. My husband is working away for 2 weeks,and my mares have to be home today- so sincee I couldn't postpone the labour, I offered it up to Jesus. Actually, it was a good way to clear my mind of the memory of the guitar-pickin' Gloria clap-clap version of the Gloria we had at Mass (sigh).

paramedicgirl said...

Actually, it was a good way to clear my mind of the memory of the guitar-pickin' Gloria clap-clap version of the Gloria we had at Mass (sigh).

That's what you got where you moved to???? I've only heard about that "Gloria." Thankfully I've never had to witness one.

Angela Messenger said...

PM Girl - that makes perfect sense!

Shirley said...

"I've only heard about that "Gloria.""
Count your blessings. Actually, I'm not the only one at that church who doesn't participate-I've seen men with their arms crossed and quite a few who just stand quietly with heads bowed-makes me want to join the "music ministry" and throw a little Gregorian chant at them. One lady I talked to said, "oh but the youth like it, and we have to do whatever it takes to keep them coming to church". Well, I totally disagree with that- that is like a child running the household and having nothing but sugary treats in the cupboard- just cause the kids like it doesn't mean it is a good thing. This parish should do their homework on the number of youths worldwide who want to see the return of the TLM.