Go to church? Are you kidding!

  • June 5, 2007

Having just finished four years of university, I know a thing or two about working on Sundays. Often, I would give myself time to sleep in, sleep off a week of classes, tutorials, assignments and incredibly late nights, but then it was time to get up and at ’em for a long day of work. For many young people, church is not even a thought worth entertaining during the school year. “Are you kidding? I have four essays and two presentations to finish by Thursday!”


Take a peek off campus and you may see the same thing. Teenagers hard at work at the local grocery store, trying to earn some money for the future. People roaming through the mall, hunting for a bargain. Still others are at home, sifting through paperwork in preparation for the work week.

It’s only in the last 20 years or so that businesses have been allowed to operate on Sundays in most provinces. Before that, provincial laws encouraged Canadians to observe the commandment to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. It was a day to worship, rest and spend time with family.

Even for those who do attend church on Sundays, it is difficult to imagine that many spend the rest of the day reflecting, worshipping or resting. Leaving the church parking lot, frenzied motorists cut each other off and mutter profanities as they rush to fulfill the day’s busy schedule. Sabbath remembered, Sabbath forgotten, all in the course of an hour.

Why is it so difficult to take a day off from the busy week and spend some time in prayer? We often blame “society” — the catch-all anomaly that we hold responsible for many of our shortcomings. When you stop to consider it, though, it is not the mall’s fault that we are not attending church or spending time with our families and God. Stores open or closed, we are responsible for our own actions, including the fulfilment of the Ten Commandments.

Sure, you might have 16 assignments due this month, and maybe you really cannot sit through Mass without falling asleep or bursting into tears because of your workload this week. We are not perfect people. Instead, why not take a few minutes to sit quietly and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you, grant you perseverance and assist you with your studies so that maybe next week you will find the time for church? How about taking 10 minutes to phone a lonely grandparent and say hello?

For those who work weekend jobs, seek the courage to ask your boss for a few hours off so that you have time to spend with God and your family. Then, spend the rest of the day being patient and friendly, even with the surliest of clients. There are several ways to fit God’s work into your day.

Remember that the commandment is twofold: we must both remember the Sabbath, and keep it holy, all day long.

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