Sunday, July 30, 2006Keeping the Lord's Day Holy
Keeping the Lord's day holy is a commandment. It is very hard to know how to do this in a culture which, in most places, doesn't recognize Sunday as a day set apart from others. Some folks opt to not patronize busineses, others don't leave the house and stay at home doing quiet activities, etc. I think that in every way possible it's a good idea to, in some way or another, teach children in a household that it is a different day from the rest. Of course, Mass itself changes on Sundays. During the week the Mass typically is a shorter, simpler celebration, whereas on Sundays there are often many altar boys, more singing, an organ, incense and, in general, a longer, higher celebration. This alone stands out to children as a "special" day. And thank God for the Mother Church which is there to center our days!
Back at home, though, after Mass, should it be simply a day "off" to have fun or should there be even more to really remember the special feast that it is?
Some random ideas on how to set this day aside and keep it "sacred" would be to:
- limit the music in the house to only classical
- put a beautiful tablecloth on the table and make a special breakfast, brunch or dinner depending on the schedule
- read a good book aloud over pots of tea
- play games together as a family
- have gathering with other families for a fun, bright social day...
- emphasize spiritual readings
In general, I emphasize family time, wholesome activities and reading and good, "higher" music forms to try to keep the day sacred and holy.
Growing up, Sundays were the highlight of my week, because I knew that I would have time to paint, draw, read for much longer periods of time, write long letters, and more. It was a day in which I didn't have as many duties as I usually did. My sister took this day to try new delicious sweet recipes. By midday we usually could expect to try something wonderful from the oven together over a pot of tea. It was, in general, a day I could expect to see my family all day, have time to play games, go on walks and make music together... and brunch was always something to look forward to: we spread a nice tablecloth, used the good dishes and looked forward to the never-ending feast, starting with the meal, then moving on to jam and toast, then finishing with more cups of tea or coffee, long conversations and extended newspaper reading. I knew many other families who did their own different things, which I always admired and looked up to. Now, being married and starting my own family, we have our own focuses. We sometimes go on a family hike, spend the whole day reading, or just cultivate quiet during the day. We're not even in our own house yet, so it makes it a hard time to start family traditions.
I don't think that one way is the right way. Each family has their own charisms, their own traditions, their own strengths and weaknesses. But we can all learn from one another and keep praying for the blossoming of our own families to take place, for Our Lord's Will to be done in each of our own households and families.
If any of you have your own traditions you've already started, or have thoughts and ideas to share, please click on "post a comment" and pitch in your 2 cents.
Happy Sunday to you all!
~ Sia writes from Vancouver, WA