Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Remember the Sabbath

"The seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord."

We just returned from a wonderful vacation from Colorado, replete with exploring, digging, wading, swimming, collecting and just enjoying nature and family. We drove all day saturday, pulling in in time to tuck the boys into bed. Sunday was a strange day....a day of washing, folding, unpacking, grocery shopping, and organizing. We went to mass in the evening instead of at the crack of dawn, because my husband had to fly home from the opposite coast from a wedding the previous night.

Monday morning felt like it should be a saturday. Exhausted and out of our routine, coupled with the need to make doctors calls and talks with the insurance company, I felt that I had missed Sunday: a day for rest and refrehment, both physical and spiritual.

I have some vague idea to do less work on Sundays and to be more purposeful about spending time with family. But the reality is that the needs of little ones are so great and urgent that many things must still be done on Sunday. ("The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.") The CCC says, "On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are to refrain from engaging in work or activities that hinder the worship owed to God, the joy proper to the Lord's Day, the performance of the works of mercy, and the appropriate relaxation of mind and body." How do you all go about setting aside the Lord's day for your family?


Kat said...

Great topic, Tex, and something that most of us can probably relate to. I try to refrain from shopping activities on Sundays - grocery store, mall, etc. - although it doesn't always work out that way. My husband's first roommate out of college was a strict Calvinist, who believed that no one should have to work on Sundays. He and his family don't go out to restaurants or any stores on Sundays, because they don't believe that any of the people working there should have to be working on Sundays, the Lord's Day. This is hard to do in our society, but they are pretty strict about it! We don't abide by this rule since we do visit our local donut shop after Mass on Sundays, but I always think of their example when planning our Sunday activities.

sophie said...

I try to make sure we keep sunday mornings completely relaxed and with the focus on being together as a family. We go to Mass early, then come back and have a brunch (or pick up donuts or something), and just play with the kiddos. If there are chores that must be done we try to save them for later afternoon.

I also try to make our routines different on Sunday. So the kids' morning routine I tell them doesn't have to be done on SUnday, they don't have extra cleaning chores, etc. and I tell them why that is the case.

Also, I'm a big fan of the Sunday afternoon snooze on the couch while the kiddos are down for their quiet time...ah...

JMB said...

I've been pretty fortunate in that I grew up in an area that has "Blue Laws" on Sunday, that is, no retail stores are open, save for grocery stores, pharmacies, etc. So it's been pretty easy to enforce the "no shopping" on Sunday just because it's not an option. That said, I try not to do any laundry on Sundays and if possible, we go out to dinner Sunday night as a family. We go to Mass in the morning and visit with family after Mass. It makes for a nice day.

Anonymous said...

We don't shop on Sunday, and that hasn't been too hard. I don't do laundry on Sun. But my main labor is all the tasks surrounding feeding the kids (no dishwasher), and there's not much to do to avoid that, esp. with a few food allergies in the mix. I had a Baptist friend who didn't cook on Sun. for her 4 boys--it was strictly a cold cut type day--but it took a good bit of planning.

Recently, we've started a habit of having the kids make something with Daddy after Mass, usually pancakes or scratch biscuits. The kids love it, esp. since we don't have many "traditions."


B-Mama said...

I, too, have felt the need to make my Sundays more reverent, holy, and relaxed. Often lately they've felt like the weekend "leftovers" day--one on which to travel home, unwind, and get back into the swing of things for the week ahead. We normally try not to schedule too many things on Sundays--mainly Mass, lunch, and an afternoon of spending time together. Our Sunday dinner is usually spaghetti and meatballs--an easy fix for mom!

Anonymous said...

We are one month into "tech-free" Sundays and it has been wonderful! No computer, no TV, no video, no cell phone. Instead we play games, think of things to do together, read, putter around in the garden--whatever, just NO TECH!

It is the best thing we have done to help us "keep the Sabbath."

Also, we don't rush in the morning. We go to 11:00 a.m. Mass normally and have a nice leisurely breakfast beforehand.

We also talk about one thing from Mass we heard that we think God is asking us to do this week to be a better person. We've had some interesting discussions and insights from this! This idea came from a CD by Matthew Kelly, "Becoming the Best Version of Yourself" which was handed out in our parish last month.

Right Said Red said...

I think it is very important for every family to "set aside" the Lord's day. Since each family is different, each of us are going to do this in a different way. In our family, I really like to cook, and so I usually make a special breakfast before Mass and then I cook a nicer meal for dinner on Sundays (for example we have a nice steak) with dessert! I get to do this in peace, while Mr. Red spends time playing with the kids.

In addition to the nice food, we try not to run unnecessary errands or do jobs that can be done on other days of the week. We usually have some great family time, and a generally relaxing day. I think this is easier for families with young children. As children get older, I have heard many complaints about all the activities that are scheduled on Sunday! We are going to try to avoid that, but with sports it may be very difficult.

I think it is funny that someone mentioned a "low-tech" Sunday w/o television. I can't imagine Sundays in the fall w/o football! Since we don't watch much TV during the week, I look forward to my football fix on Sundays ;-) I do, however, think it a good idea for me to stay off the computer! And this just goes back to my original point about how each family will celebrate the Lord's day differently!

Mama on a Mission said...

It is really interesting to see how you all responded to keeping Sunday "Holy". Here at our house, we try to keep it simple. There is no shopping or extra chores.
We still do our basic chores of making our beds, putting the clean dishes away, making breakfast, etc. in the morning. But only the have to chores are allowed.

Then since Mass is not until 10:15 AM in our rural neck of the woods, we spend the rest of the morning sprucing up. All four daughters get especially nice hair-dos and we break out our best clothes. Dad has a rough & tumble job, so he does his once a week shaving on Sunday morning. He always looks so clean and crisp for Mass.

Once home from Mass, we usually all make dinner and cleanup together. This is a treat for mom to have dad help out with this.

Then the afternoon is spent in a relaxing family time. Different seasons mean different things. We, like Red, love our football. We will spend all of Sunday watching football while playing legos or coloring with the children. With my older girls, they are learning to sew a little. So we will work on some small projects during this time as well. During the winter, once football is over with, we always watch a good movie in the afternoon. Spring brings family hikes, bike-riding, fishing, or some activity outside.
Since we do not watch any TV during the week, TV on Sundays is a big treat. So on about every Sunday evening, we watch the only show we follow faithfully, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The half-hour before this show comes on, we all get our PJ's on, break out the blankets and Little Tike picnic table for our very easy leftover or salad supper. So not only do we have the treat of watching TV but also get to picnic while doing so. It is a easy supper for mom. A great way to empty the fridge out for the coming week. The show is so great about giving to those in need. It really gets us excited about going out into the world again on Monday to be Christian soldiers.
We were not always like this. We started to live this way seven years ago after we started homeschooling. Our oldest at the time was questioning us why we were breaking the 3rd commandment as we were learning our religion. Try to get yourself out of that one! We started realizing that if we wanted our children to live their faith, we were going to have to follow it as well.
My husband use to work a lot on Sunday afternoons with his job. He started telling them no. Now he has not worked a Sunday for six years. His boss made the comment not to long ago in front of my husband to another co-worker, "Oh, he does not work Sundays, they are really religious." We laughed about that. I donot know about the really religious part, but I do know that my husband is a good example then if others notice.
Knowing that we have Sunday to rest and slow-down has made a big difference in the rest of our week. We tend to not slack as much or complain about not having a break knowing that we will have a whole day of down-time coming soon. My daughter recently in art made a small poster. It read, "A Sunday well spent is a week of content." I think that sums it up perfectly.

Mary Alice said...

Since we moved from apartment to house about a year ago, we have found that our weekends were really filled up with home maintenance chores, and I found that very sad, especially since we do not see much of DH during the week. We tried for a while to get a handle on this, with little success until very recently.

You will all laugh because it is my way to have a system (I was a stage manager before I was a mom). Now, I have made a list of "weekly house chores" -- this includes grocery shopping, lawn mowing, errands, etc. In the spring and early summer, there was lots of yard work to do. I have been emailing the form list to DH on Thursday for his review and we add anything extra that must get done that week. With the list in hand, I can try to do some of the things during the week, like order groceries on line, knowing that this will free up our weekend a bit. Saturday is then spent doing the chores all together, and whenever they are done we can switch into family play time. The kids know that if they help with chores, playtime will come sooner!

Then, on Sunday, I can rest, because chores are done. We go to mass in the morning and then spend the day together either just us or with extended family or friends. DH is a great cook so he helps lots with the cooking on the weekends, and he loves to have people over for brunch on Sunday after mass.

I have found that having up front expectations about what needs to get done on the weekends has helped our Saturday be more productive, and getting it done on Saturday has made our Sunday much better.

On Sunday night, after the kids are in bed, DH and I have our "meeting" where we process all the mail, deal with bills and budget and talk about the calendar. We try to remember to do this all in the context of prayerful "stewardship". This makes our week much easier because we do not have to deal with mail, losing paperwork, stressing about bills, on busy weeknights.