4. Family and Friends
When is the last time you shared a family meal with your wife and children or close relatives? Big Sunday meals with the family after Mass used to be a highlight of every Catholic week. They still should be.
The modern world, fueled by technology, has left us more isolated than ever before. The lack of face-to-face, personal interaction has left families fragmented and many people painfully lonely. Sundays, if properly respected, offer a unique opportunity to spend time with those we love, whether that is family or friends.
5. Prayer and Spiritual Reading
The saints tell us that prayer is absolutely essential to salvation. Spiritual reading, too, offers us an opportunity to hear God speaking in return. These two activities should be weekly habits for every Catholic.
Yet, despite their critical importance, many of us are so busy that we feel we simply do not have time to pray, read, or meditate as we want to. That’s why Sundays are so important — they offer us the space we need to commune with our Lord, both literally in the Holy Eucharist, but also in restful times of prayer and meditation on the truths of the Faith.
6. Things You Enjoy
Creativity is part of being made in the image of God. It is fascinating to me that cultures of the past had far less of what we would consider free time, and yet everything they made — from tools to blankets to clothing — was made beautiful with intricate patterns and decorations. These days, we have countless conveniences that give us incredible amounts of free-time, but rather than creating, we merely consume.
It is important for men to have a creative outlet. The options are endless — writing, woodworking, gardening, model building, working on engines, leather-working, and a lot more. Again, Sunday offers a unique opportunity to work with our hands, doing something we enjoy for its own sake.
Sundays are all about rest, and there’s no better way to celebrate this fact than with a good nap. To be honest, I would feel pretty guilty if I took a nap in the middle of the day during the rest of the week when there are many obligations to attend to (my boss probably wouldn’t appreciate it either). But on Sundays, I take a guilt free nap if I feel like it, and it really is great. You should try it sometime.
Thou Shalt Take it Easy
If you think about it, it’s really a beautiful thing that God commands us to rest. He is not a slave-driver or brutal taskmaster, pushing us to exhaustion and burnout. On the contrary, he is a loving Father who knows and desires what is best for his children. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart,” Jesus said, “and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
I would encourage you to examine your Sunday routine and look for concrete ways to make it more restful and relaxing. Cut out the the unnecessary shopping and errands. Make it a day of quiet, rest, fun, prayer, friends, and family.
Our Lord, in his great love for you, is commanding you to keep holy his day by setting aside the to-do list and enjoying some rest. Six days thou shalt run around like a madman, but on the seventh, thou shalt rest, take it easy, play a little bit.
Really. Just do it.