Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans recently instructed the Catholic schools of the archdiocese to stop scheduling activities, especially sporting events, on Sundays. His stated intention is to redirect the lives of his flock toward worship on Sundays and family activities close to home. So far, his directive is meeting with cooperation and even some relief among the Catholics of his diocese.
The Archbishop explained his decision by saying:
“It’s rooted in the fact that people have a number of obligations and commitments. Our society is fast-paced...In living such a hectic life, people neglect sometimes, not purposefully, the very basics of faith and family.” (via The Advocate)Upon re-reading the first few books of the Old Testament recently, it was striking how frequently God the Father emphasized that we are to keep holy the Sabbath. A quiet, family-centered Sunday was the norm in our culture for a very long time, up until about 40 years ago when things started to descend into a 7 day frenzy of constant activity. Recently I've been trying to scale back activities on Sunday and the spiritual benefits have become increasingly evident. It actually hasn't even been that difficult. Just knowing that there will be no shopping or running errands on Sunday makes the day more peaceful without much more effort.
The good that comes from setting aside one day a week in order to worship God and to nourish family life seems like it should be self-evident But, sometimes we really don't know what is good for us and even if we do know, we're not always sure how to do it. It's a little bit like children who don't want to take their regular nap. They resist the nap because they don't want to miss out on anything and it doesn't seem necessary. But, then when they're sleep deprived they become restless and irritable and they spiral into a melt down.
God's plan for us is always for the good. Try keeping the Sabbath as a day of rest. Guarantee you'll be the better for it.