04 March 2006

Sabbath Rest

In today's first reading from Isaiah, we are reminded to keep holy the Sabbath, to honor it, to delight in it. We are to refrain from our own pursuits -- be they good or bad. It is easy to forget that Sunday is a day of rest when no one around us is "resting." In many cultures businesses are closed, mass transit is non-existent or very limited, and families are together. In the United States, we have managed to mar the sacredness of the Sabbath rest. The "more is better" mantra of our nation's work ethic has carried itself from the work week into the weekend.

To believe that rest is just as important as work takes an act of faith. We do not earn money for resting; we do not impress our employers by how well we rest; we do not earn a promotion by logging hours of resting. We do, however, give honor to the Lord by resting on the Sabbath. Our leisure, our time spent with family, friends, community, etc., is just as pleasing to the Lord as our labor.

"The devout heart has no less love when it turns to external duties than when it prays. In such hearts, their silence and their speech, their action and their contemplation, their work and their rest equally sing the canticle hymn of their dilection."
St. Francis de Sales

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