Alexander Schimpf wrote in about the importance of rest on Sundays and how Americans tend to be very active after Mass. To illustrate this, he used Maria Von Trapp’s writings in which she compared the ways America and the Soviet Union approached the day of rest:
In Von Trapp’s account, both Russia and America lack an appropriate celebration of Sunday, but for quite different reasons. In America, state suppression of Sunday is not the issue; people are free to do as they like. The impediment is somehow in the individuals themselves. The Americans that Von Trapp observes do go to church, but they seem otherwise incapable of the “rest” that characterizes both the Hebrew Sabbath and the Christian celebration of Sunday. We must then ask ourselves the obvious question: Have our abilities to rest improved since the late 1930s? Have increased shopping opportunities, more demanding children’s sports and activities, and high-speed internet connections for our smartphones assisted us in celebrating Sunday in ways that are humanly rejuvenating? The question answers itself. Average church attendance has fallen precipitously since Von Trapp’s day.
The great quantity of technology and media we have access to allows us to set up distractions for ourselves whenever we can find a spare moment. This practice can create habits that we run to after Mass, rather than maintaining prayerful mindset throughout the day. What do you think?
Perhaps one way to help change these habits could be to start a group in your parish that could meet after Mass on Sunday for community rest activities: watching religious films, discussing that Sunday’s Gospel, maybe a BBQ, etc.