Saturday, July 18, 2015

Rest on the Lord’s Day is the key to peace all week and for the whole of life, here and hereafter

By Father Kevin M. Cusick

“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”

You know what it is to suffer. Think about all the reasons why you experience being restless, listless, unsatisfied, and wearied. All of these moments prove that peace is lacking. Have you begun to believe that there is no other way? That you must resign yourself to living this way? Have you given up on anything more for yourself in this world?

I have a question for you to ask yourself: is my life on Sunday any different from the way I live on the other days of the week? If not, why?

Yes, many of you are very faithful to attending Mass on Sundays or its vigil and this is very good because by it you keep the Lord’s Day holy, obeying the commandments without which we cannot get to heaven.

But there is more. Attending Mass satisfies only one part of that which God expects on the day each week consecrated to Him above all others.

We are different from every other thing and being God created because we are able to imitate Him, be like Him, reflect and love Him. God rested on the seventh day from all His labor and we imitate Him by doing so ourselves as much as our circumstances permit.

Imitating God, reflecting His life by the way we live brings peace because it is when we stop and reflect upon life itself and enjoy our relationships with our families that we are blessed with peace. The peace of Christ does not mean simply avoiding servile work, which the Commandments require of us as much as we are capable, but there is more. Until we stop and admire, reflect and cherish all that God has made, above all ourselves, we cannot live assured of the love which gives us rest: resting in God.

How does Sunday rest change my life the rest of the week? Reflecting upon the Lord, his gifts, our relationships by pausing the daily schedule in order to do so gives us an experiential reference point to which we continue to refer throughout our experiences of  the rest of the week and in all of life as a mountaintop experience which orients us from here to eternity. Too, our identity as authentic Christians is not possible without this way of living which sets us apart and blesses us. How else do we look ahead to our own share in heavenly glory without the evidence of our lives and of the presence of the Lord in them?

For just a moment each week we pause and take time away from all those things which will not last in order to remind ourselves and others that we live most fully every day by looking forward to those things which last eternally. Participation in God's rest now is none other than anticipating heaven itself where His rest is already complete, infinite and loving because it is the communion of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The gift of joy is not possible without proper and regular nourishment of our relationship with Christ; Sunday is the primary moment for this because commanded and exemplified by God Himself. Not for this reason only do we rest on Sundays but, above all, we do so for the sake of celebrating the Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ which must permeate our entire celebration of Sunday or its vigil: at Mass, in recreation or meals together with our families, all made possible by rest from our labors.

The Risen Christ gives Himself to us in the celebration of His victory over sin and death in the Eucharist at every Mass. The memorial of His Passiom and death always concludes with His Resurrection.

The number one reason people suffer is lack of peace; the number one reason for lack of peace is lack of God. Keep the Lord's Day holy. 

From the Catechism:

- Just as God "rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done," human life has a rhythm of work and rest. The institution of the Lord's Day helps everyone enjoy adequate rest and leisure to cultivate their familial, cultural, social, and religious lives. CCC 2184

- The institution of Sunday helps all "to be allowed sufficient rest and leisure to cultivate their familial, cultural, social, and religious lives" (GS 67 § 3). CCC 2194

- "Observe the sabbath day, to keep it holy" (Deut 5:12). "The seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord" (Ex 31:15). CCC 2189

- God's action is the model for human action. If God "rested and was refreshed" on the seventh day, man too ought to "rest" and should let others, especially the poor, "be refreshed." The sabbath brings everyday work to a halt and provides a respite. It is a day of protest against the servitude of work and the worship of money. CCC 2172
- 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

- God himself created the visible world in all its richness, diversity and order. Scripture presents the work of the Creator symbolically as a succession of six days of divine "work", concluded by the "rest" of the seventh day. On the subject of creation, the sacred text teaches the truths revealed by God for our salvation, permitting us to "recognize the inner nature, the value and the ordering of the whole of creation to the praise of God." CCC 337

No comments: