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Chapter 27. Third Commandment: Love the Lord’s Day • 363

mission stations that eventually became chapels and then parish

churches with resident pastors. Through God’s providential care, devoted

priests established stable communities where the Mass was offered, and

equally devoted believers attended Mass.




starts its reflection on the Third Commandment with

the scriptural meaning of the Sabbath. Exodus 20:8-11 states that the

Sabbath was the seventh day on which the Lord rested after the work

of the previous six days. Deuteronomy 5:12 adds that the Sabbath is a

day of our renewing the covenant with God. The Sabbath is connected

to creation and covenant.

God’s “rest” on the seventh day was his contemplative gaze enjoying

the good of creation, especially its crown in man and woman. It was not

a matter of divine inactivity, but rather the deeper “work” of contempla-

tion and the restful act of loving us (cf. CCC, nos. 2184-2185). This is

true also of ourselves. If we never stop working, when would we ever

have time to contemplate and worship God and nourish a love relation-

ship with him or with anyone else? Every human person, having been

created by God, owes him worship and thanksgiving for what the Lord

has done and continues to do.

The scriptural history of the Sabbath demonstrates that it was a

day of worship of God and relaxation with one’s family: “Then [on the

Sabbath] you shall delight in the Lord / and I will make you ride on the

heights of the earth” (Is 58:14). At their liturgies, the people of ancient

Israel remembered the great works God performed on their behalf. They

looked back on their history and family roots in the light of God’s plans

for them. They sang praises to God for his love and mercy. They recalled,

“Everything belongs to God!” The Christian Sunday carries forward

Sabbath themes of contemplative rest and worship.