Saturday, July 25, 2009
A Day of Rest
To be quite honest, my family is still working on establishing our Sabbath rhythm. Brian and I were both raised in homes where Sunday was pretty much exactly like Saturday, except that we attended church in the morning. When we endeavoured to truly embrace the spirit of the Sabbath, we discovered that taking a "day of rest" was not as easy as we'd imagined. In fact, I have found that it takes a lot of purposeful effort, planning, and dedication for our family to truly celebrate a Sabbath day. That said, some of what I share below will, in fact, be exactly what we do, and some of it will be things we are striving toward but don't manage to get done every week. Everything I've written here also refers primarily to our Sundays in Ordinary Time, since we tend to try to do something a little more "special" on Sunday during other liturgical seasons, and particularly during Lent when Sundays are the one day of the week when we can life our fasting and self-imposed penance.
Our Sabbath rhythm truly begins on Saturday afternoon. I get as many preparations made for Sunday's dinner as possible, often dressing the roast for Sunday dinner and putting it back into the refrigerator, ready for the oven after Mass the next day, among other tasks. I make sure that all the shopping that we might possibly need to do for Sunday is done--this includes putting gas in the car, if necessary. This allows us to refrain from engaging in commerce on the Sabbath. Why should we make it necessary for other to work on the Lord's Day? Then, of course, there is the weekly quick-clean of the house, preparations for brunch after Mass, and especially setting out our church clothes and little things to keep Sophia occupied during service (crayons, a children's bible, etc.)
With all this out of the way, I'm more likely to have any chance of a restful Sunday. Without this preparation, my Sabbath would be harried and frazzled and certain not a day of rest.
We usually get up at 6:30 on Sundays in order to attend 7:30 Mass, the earliest Sunday service at our parish. After Mass, we come home and have a leisurely breakfast while we discuss the sermon and enjoy each other's company. Afterwards, we go for a walk in fine weather or gather around the fire if it's chilly, and then it's time for Sophia's nap. While she naps, Brian and I relax together, often reading or we might play a boardgame. Sometimes, we nap, too! Sometimes I will blog and Brian will play his xBox (not exactly your typical Sunday fare...currently, we are praying about whether we ought to switch off electronics altogether on Sundays).
We always call our parents (the children's grandparents) on Sunday, even if we've spoken to them on other days during the week, which is typical. We always have a roast for dinner, so that goes in the oven early in the day, usually just before or right after Mass, allowing us to enjoy the rich aromas pervading our cozy home. Though, sometimes on very hot days, we will grill instead (we have no air conditioning). Dinner is early, usually around 2 PM when Sophia gets up from her nap, and we have tea in the late afternoon or early evening: sandwiches made from the roast leftovers, some cookies, etc. After dinner, I put the roast carcass, along with some aromatics into a pot of water to make stock or broth for the following week's recipes.
We like to have an afternoon walk if we didn't manage it in the morning, and we do some more relaxing family activities at home. Sometimes in the evening, we'll watch a movie together. Currently, we love streaming "All Creatures Great and Small," the old BBC series, on our xBox through Netflix. I would really love to have some family prayer and worship, in addition to Mass attendance, but we haven't managed to incorporate it in any lasting way that has felt right for our family just yet. Brian plays the guitar and I play piano, so I would love to have some sort of musical worship together as a family. We'll see; it's something to strive for.
Bedtimes are the same as on weekdays, so that part of the daily rhythm remains, and that's about it.
How do you spend your Sabbath days? Are there elements of your day that you feel aren't conducive to celebrating the Sabbath? Are there things you wish you did but don't do currently?