A Day Provided For the Salvation of Our Soul

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Recently I have had the great privilege of joining the talented group of writers over at OnePeterFive (1P5), a Catholic website founded and published by Steve Skojec. Regular contributors to the site include Dr. Peter Kwasniewski and Father Thomas Kocik (New Liturgical Movement), Patrick Archbold (NCRegister and Creative Minority Report), Father Richard Heilman (Church Militant Field Manual, Knights of Divine Mercy), Andrew Bieszad, the afore mentioned Steve Skojec (Crisis, CatholicVote) and yours truly, just to name a few. The mission statement, 1P5’s raison d’être, is quite simple:

“OnePeterFive exists as a place to begin rebuilding the Catholic ethos. We’re not just here to zero in on the problems, but to offer concrete solutions. We want to restore Catholic culture, rebuild the Church as a patron of the arts, reinvigorate the family and the traditions that keep it strong, reform the liturgy, support vocations, dust off the old devotions and make them relevant again. We want to help infuse the world with beautiful music, inspiring art, families that pray together, parishes centered around the Eucharist, strong communities, and a new generation of Catholics who can effectively bring the Gospel message to a world hostile to that message.”

If you are not familiar yet with 1P5 please go check out the site (here). The below post was my inaugural contribution and addresses the spiritual necessity for Christians to faithfully observe Sunday.

A Day Provided for the Salvation of Our Soul

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 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…for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. (Ex 20:8-11)

The practice of keeping the Sabbath holy, which is simply our obedient response to God’s command, must be recovered if we are to regain our spiritual footing. Put simply, man needs Sunday. In the Gospel of Saint Mark Our Lord teaches that the “Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mk 2:27). While most Catholics understand the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday, the additional call for rest is often forgotten or misunderstood. This inherent need for a dedicated day of rest is both natural and supernatural in purpose. As explained by Saint Thomas Aquinas:

We hope for rest from three things: from the labors of the present life, from the struggles of temptations, and from the servitude of the devil. Christ promised this rest to all those who will come to Him: “Come to Me, all ye that labor and are burdened, and I will refresh you…”

A continued recovery of Sunday and its divinely ordained purpose is made all the more difficult by what we could call the heresy of “the weekend”. In the pursuit of leisure and recreation, an increasingly irreligious culture often views Sunday as little more than the second half of the weekend. This is even the case among many Catholics who, having fulfilled their obligation to hear Mass, see the remainder of the day as their own.

In his 1998 Apostolic Letter “Dies Domini” (The Lord’s Day), Pope St. John Paul II addresses this cultural shift in contemporary society:

Until quite recently, it was easier in traditionally Christian countries to keep Sunday holy because it was an almost universal practice and because, even in the organization of civil society, Sunday rest was considered a fixed part of the work schedule.

Today, however, even in those countries which give legal sanction to the festive character of Sunday, changes in socioeconomic conditions have often led to profound modifications of social behavior and hence of the character of Sunday. The custom of the “weekend” has become more widespread, a weekly period of respite, spent perhaps far from home and often involving participation in cultural, political or sporting activities which are usually held on free days.

This social and cultural phenomenon is by no means without its positive aspects…unfortunately, when Sunday loses its fundamental meaning and becomes merely part of a “weekend”, it can happen that people stay locked within a horizon so limited that they can no longer see “the heavens”…

While the Holy Father acknowledges these societal conditions, he refuses to capitulate. Instead, Saint John Paul II emphasizes the need for the faithful to recover an authentic understanding of the Lord’s Day…
(Read the rest at OnePeterFive…)

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