The charity of truth seeks holy leisure; the necessity of char
ity accepts just work.
Those Christians who have leisure should be mindful of
their brethren who have the same needs and the same rights, yet
cannot rest from work because of poverty and misery. Sunday is
traditionally consecrated by Christian piety to good works and
humble service of the sick, the infirm, and the elderly. Christians
will also sanctify Sunday by devoting time and care to their families
and relatives, often difficult to do on other days of the week.
Sunday is a time for reflection, silence, cultivation of the mind, and
meditation which furthers the growth of the Christian interior life.
Sanctifying Sundays and holy days requires a common effort.
Every Christian should avoid making unnecessary demands on others that
would hinder them from observing the Lord’s Day. Traditional activities
(sport, restaurants, etc.), and social necessities (public services, etc.), re-
quire some people to work on Sundays, but everyone should still take care
to set aside sufficient time for leisure. With temperance and charity the
faithful will see to it that they avoid the excesses and violence sometimes
associated with popular leisure activities. In spite of economic constraints,
public authorities should ensure citizens a time intended for rest and divine
worship. Employers have a similar obligation toward their employees.
In respecting religious liberty and the common good of all,
Christians should seek recognition of Sundays and the Church’s
holy days as legal holidays. They have to give everyone a public
example of prayer, respect, and joy and defend their traditions as a
precious contribution to the spiritual life of society. If a country’s
legislation or other reasons require work on Sunday, the day
should nevertheless be lived as the day of our deliverance which
lets us share in this “festal gathering,” this “assembly of the first
born who are enrolled in heaven.”
124 St. Augustine,
De civ. Dei
19, 19: PL 41, 647.