#MyMassTakeaway for Third Sunday of Easter.
Why don’t I get Sunday rest?
Monday through Saturday, I work. I feed and dress kids, teach them school, prepare their meals, and clean up their messes.
Laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning – they’re all my responsibility.
Sunday comes around. The “day of rest.”
I wake up in the morning.
I get the kids dressed.
Load them in the car, bring them to Mass, wrangle the baby the whole time, come home, make breakfast, wash the dishes, pick up stray laundry, make lunch, prepare for the next school week, make dinner, brush teeth, tidy the kitchen, plop into bed exhausted.
Where’s my Sunday rest?
Several years ago, I complained about this dilemma to my confessor.
My husband and kids get Sunday off. I watch them have a relaxing day from all their work and school responsibilities, but my responsibilities never go away.
My amazing confessor… he reminded me of what the Commandment actually says.
“Remember to keep holy the Lord’s day.”
He also reminded me of the nature of the “rest” obligation:
“…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.”CCC 2185
He counseled me that the commandment doesn’t specifically require us to rest. It requires us to keep the Lord’s day holy, and that the Church explains ways to do that – for example, by resting from all unnecessary work and work that keeps us from joyful worship of God.
My family needs to eat.
They need to have clean clothes to wear.
And a livable home environment.
My work as a wife and mom – as a homemaker – is not unnecessary work, even on a Sunday. But the question becomes: does that work keep me from joyful worship of God?
This, my confessor suggested, is a matter of the attitude with which I approach that work.
Do I do it out of a sense of duty?
Most days, probably yes. I do the work that needs to be done, not because I particularly enjoy it, but because it simply must be done and I’m the one to do it. And I certainly feel free to complain.
But what if I change my approach?
What if, especially on Sundays, I make my work holy by offering it as an act of worship to God with a joyful heart?
I didn’t much like my confessor’s advice, especially at first, because although he also mentioned I could let go of chores that simply could wait until tomorrow, I felt like he was basically telling me to suck it up and do my work.
But as the years go by, I realize more and more how right my confessor was, and how golden his advice is.
I can keep the Lord’s day holy by adjusting my attitude so that all my necessary work becomes holy.
I can prepare my own favorite dinner, because that will bring joy to the task – as I look forward to eating something I don’t normally cook.
I can pray or sing my favorite Marian prayer while I sweep the floor, and my toddler comes behind me, scattering my dirt pile. I can remember the image of toddler Jesus, and Mother Mary’s love for him through all her chores.
I can sing a silly brushing song at teeth time, to make my kids giggle, and laugh along with them.
And I can allow myself to feel perfectly at peace with washing the laundry but not folding it – if folding will steal my peace and make me a cranky mama.
I can let go of the guilt as I walk passed the stray outfits lying on the floor.
I can leave the dinner dishes in the sink while I go watch a movie with the family.
As moms, we can have our Sunday rest too – by having it first in our hearts.
We can have our Sunday rest, by transforming all our daily chores into an act of worship to God.
We can make our necessary work holy, and let go of everything else.
Let go of whatever makes us bitter, resentful, and worn down.
Dear friend, I know it’s hard.
But I challenge you today, to discover the beauty in keeping the Lord’s Day holy from the inside out.
Maybe… our Sunday rest looks different from our husband’s, or our kids’, or our best friend’s rest.
Maybe our Sunday rest has to start with a shift in the disposition of our hearts.
Maybe our Sunday rest is there, just waiting for us to enter into it.
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