by Alecia Rolling
Introduction to the Keeping Sundays Holy Series:
“[T]he happy life is the good life; and the good life is the liturgical life, which is to say a life in union with the living God.” From The Little Oratory, by Clayton and Lawton The Church through the Wisdom and Grace of the Holy Spirit has given us the liturgical year for following Christ. We have the privilege of living with Christ every year ~ of living, dying, and rising again with Him. Yet, how many of us have thought that following the liturgical year only happens when we go to Mass? How many of us do not bring the liturgy into our homes? And yet, isn’t our home the “domestic church”? If each of us makes up part of the Mystical Body of Christ (the Church), haven’t we an obligation to live the liturgy everywhere we are? When we were faced with the concept of bringing liturgy into our home and of following the liturgical calendar, there was a transformation that needed to take place. I am a convert, after all, so I was prepared for a learning curve. We decided to start with the Lord’s Commandment to keep the Sabbath Holy. Minimally, we all make it to Church on Sunday, but the Lord also says this is to be a day of rest. What does that mean? How do we make the day restful? Do we go fundamentalist and do nothing like the Ingalls family in the Little House Books? What activities count as restful? Shopping? But other people have to work that day to sell us things. Mowing the lawn? But then other people have to hear our loud lawn mower. What could we do? The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2172, states:
“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.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2185, also states:
“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.”
Using Mother Church as our guide, we embarked on an adventure to make every Lord’s Day holy. This is the day the Lord hath made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it! The articles that follow this series are meant to inspire your family to take on the mission and to provide activities and day plans for your Sundays. May God bless your theodyssey (search for God)!
A Family Outing to a Local Art Museum
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2187, states:
“Every Christian should avoid making unnecessary demands on others that would hinder them from observing the Lord’s Day. Traditional activities (sport, restaurants, etc.), and social necessities (public services, etc.), require some people to work on Sundays, but everyone should still take care to set aside sufficient time for leisure. With temperance and charity the faithful will see to it that they avoid the excesses and violence sometimes associated with popular leisure activities.”
Coming up with family activities on a Sunday that don’t require other people to work can seem impossible sometimes. One great option is a museum, since government sponsored museums are always closed on Mondays. In other words, instead of taking the weekend off like most people, they provide a leisurely service to families who are not working. Justly, they deserve a different day off if they are working Sunday.
Find the Leisure outside the Home ~ Art Museum Near our town, we are fortunate to have a vibrant art community and an art museum that is FREE! After Sunday Mass, we loaded up into the van with lunch in tow and headed for the museum. We spent an hour walking around, practicing the virtue of quiet observation and wonder. The featured artist was Harvey Dunn, a South Dakotan illustrator who studied under Howard Pyle. The children were very familiar with Howard Pyle’s illustrations, so we were also able to have a conversation about artists learning from other artists through apprenticeships.
Bringing the Leisure Home ~ Painting as a Family We left the art museum to visit grandparents, but first stopped to pick up our own painting supplies: acrylic paints, jars, brushes, and mixed media paper. With these and snacks in hand, we went to the farm to share painting with the grandparents! The Lord’s Day was ended with a supper with family and a sunset to remember. We were joyful to view all the colors of the evening and remember them in the paintings we saw earlier in the day.
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:8).