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What’s the difference between true repose and false repose: Pope’s answer



Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 08/10/21

The trick to actually resting is knowing why we're doing it. What's that mean?

Resting should be easy, right? But it’s not, according to Pope Francis, because we have to know how to differentiate between true repose and false repose.

The pope pointed out this necessary distinction in 2018 when he was giving his catechesis series on the 10 Commandments. It’s a lesson we need to hear again today!

“Today’s society thirsts for amusement and holidays,” the pope noted, pointing out how we think of money as something we earn so that we can get away from work and have fun.

“The prevailing concept of life today does not have its center of gravity in activity and commitment, but in escapism,” he said.

But, Francis warned, with this mentality, we slide toward a dissatisfied life “anesthetized by fun that is not rest, but alienation and the escape from reality.”

Man has never rested as much as today, yet man has never experienced as much emptiness as today! Opportunities to amuse oneself, to go out, cruises, travels; but many things do not give you fullness of heart. Indeed: they do not give you rest.

What does give rest?

The words of the Third Commandment help us because they show what rest really is. The Commandment “provides a motive. Rest in the name of the Lord has a precise reason.”

“God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Gen 1:31). And so begins the day of rest, which is God’s joy for all that he has created. It is the day of contemplation and blessing.

What, then, is rest according to this commandment? It is the moment of contemplation, it is the moment of praise, not that of escapism. It is the time to look at reality and say: How beautiful life is! 

So God reveals that what humans actually need in order to rest is not escaping from reality, but rather “rest as the blessing of reality.”

Hence, the center of the weekly Day of Rest is the Eucharist — “thanksgiving”:

It is the day to say to God: thank you Lord for life, for your mercy, for all your gifts. Sunday is not the day to forget the other days but to remember them, bless them and make peace with life. … Sunday is the day to make peace with life, saying: life is precious; it is not easy, sometimes it is painful, but it is precious.

Pope FrancisSpiritual Life

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