Thursday, March 8, 2012

Keep Holy the Sabbath

As part of my Lenten journey, I've been participating in a Catholic scripture study over the Gospel of Mark.  There are many things that I have already learned from the study, and we're only three weeks into it, but one of the most important things I learned over this last week is God's intention for setting aside the Sabbath.  I knew you were supposed to rest, what I didn't know until now was why you were supposed to rest. 

You see, the Sabbath day is supposed to be a foretaste of Heaven.  This is why our Sabbath day is supposed to start with the community joining together in celebration and worship of God.  This is why we are not supposed to work on that day - so that we can experience the peace and joy that come from a perfect union with God and neighbor.  We are to cook ahead of time so that we are not troubled by worries about what we will eat or drink, just as in Heaven we will not have those worries, either. 

Activities on the Sabbath should focus on building our relationship with God and with our neighbor.  It is a good time for activities that can be done as a family or with friends, such as going to a park, an art gallery, hiking, or even gardening.  Visiting the elderly, the sick, or those in prison is also a good use of the time we are given.  

Before I started this scripture study, I thought I understood what this commandment was all about.  After all, the body does need rest and taking a day off from working once a week is good for the mind and the body.  However, this kind of thinking led me to wasting a great opportunity to experience what God really wants for me.  I would "rest" by playing video games or engaging in solitary pleasures that didn't bring me closer to God or to others, and defeat the real purpose behind the day.  Now that I understand what it's really supposed to be, I'm going to try harder to live the Sabbath day the way it was meant to be lived - a little taste of Heaven.

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