Last week was just one of those weeks – pure overhead. Between 2 computer crashes and trying to get my taxes done, I felt behind all week, having accomplished nothing on my list. This is par for the course, though, because I was going on retreat for the weekend.
Now, I don’t know about you, but anytime I have a retreat planned, the ol’ boy riddles the week leading up to it with obstacles to keep me from going. By the time Friday rolled around, I said to my sister, “I feel like I should just give up and stay home. Of course, that means I have to go because it’s gonna’ be a good one!” Heading on retreat with me, my sister experienced the same pre-game problems.
Friday morning was no different. Feeling very pressed for time and chatting with my husband before he went out the door, I was still in my robe at 7:20. I met no deadlines. I had work to do. I was behind. The list rattled off in my mind. Then I rejected it all, “What the heck? It’s Friday in Lent. You’re going to Mass. Get dressed and get going.” So that’s exactly what I did. No beauty queen for the day, I threw myself together and made it to Mass just as the final verse of the opening hymn finished.
At this Mass, I heard a rather unusual Lenten practice which referred to the Old Testament reading of the day from Isaiah 58. The priest recounted a story of a nun who read Isaiah 58 every day of Lent, saying to him, “You can’t read Isaiah 58 every day of Lent and not be changed.” That tickled my ear and pulled at my heart, and I thought, “Hmmm…maybe I should do that.”
Friday night’s opening talk was terrific. The speaker shared with us the importance of the home in grounding our culture. And in the course of her talk she discussed the importance of rest and play and the necessity of observing the Sabbath. Of course, as moms we still need to cook for our family and do much of the ordinary serving that we do on a Sunday, but with the proper planning we can do less and rest more.
I have always struggled with really observing the Sabbath – truly resting. I try not to shop, but occasionally do. I try not to work, but often do. As I transition into a new season of life, my days are more and more full and little falls off my plate. With my husband’s new job, he never seems to stop. How do I get everything done & keep Sunday from being just another day?
I remember hearing Scott Hahn say that when he was in graduate school, he decided to truly observe the Sabbath and do no work. Imagine a college student doing no homework on Sunday? Seems crazy. But indeed he didn’t, and he got the best grades he’d ever received.
When I returned home, I shared with my family this desire to observe the Sabbath, and the need for us to rest and play and connect. We took baby steps today, and I know each week will be better. I have to really let go and believe that if I give to Him what is actually His due, the Lord of Sabbath will multiply my time and bless the work of my hands on the other 6 days of the week.
Do I really take Him at His word? Am I really capable of a “fiat” like that? I don’t know, but I’m willing to find out. One thing I do know, though, is that it’ll be a challenge. Would you pray for me in this journey? Might you also consider joining me?
We adore you O Christ, and we bless you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. Anne
Cry out full-throated and unsparingly,
lift up your voice like a trumpet blast;
Proclaim to my people their transgression,
to the house of Jacob their sins.
They seek me day after day,
and desire to know my ways,
Like a nation that has done what is just
and not abandoned the judgment of their God;
They ask of me just judgments,
they desire to draw near to God.
“Why do we fast, but you do not see it?
afflict ourselves, but you take no note?”
See, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits,
and drive all your laborers.
See, you fast only to quarrel and fight
and to strike with a wicked fist!
Do not fast as you do today
to make your voice heard on high!
Is this the manner of fasting I would choose,
a day to afflict oneself?
To bow one’s head like a reed,
and lie upon sackcloth and ashes?
Is this what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?
Is this not, rather, the fast that I choose:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking off every yoke?
Is it not sharing your bread with the hungry,
bringing the afflicted and the homeless into your house;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own flesh?
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: “Here I am!”
If you remove the yoke from among you,
the accusing finger, and malicious speech;
If you lavish your food on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
Then your light shall rise in the darkness,
and your gloom shall become like midday;
Then the LORD will guide you always
and satisfy your thirst in parched places,
will give strength to your bones
And you shall be like a watered garden,
like a flowing spring whose waters never fail.
Your people shall rebuild the ancient ruins;
the foundations from ages past you shall raise up;
“Repairer of the breach,” they shall call you,
“Restorer of ruined dwellings.”
If you refrain from trampling the sabbath,
from following your own pursuits on my holy day;
If you call the sabbath a delight,
the LORD’s holy day glorious;
If you glorify it by not following your ways, seeking your own interests, or pursuing your own affairs—
Then you shall delight in the LORD,
and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth;
I will nourish you with the heritage of Jacob, your father,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.