368 • Part III. Christian Morality: The Faith Lived
is a model for human action. If God ‘rested and was refreshed’ on the
seventh day, man too ought to ‘rest’ and should let others, especially the
poor, ‘be refreshed’” (CCC, no. 2172).
Millions of people in our culture deny themselves a day of rest.
Incessant activity, so characteristic of a consumer society, means that
Sunday is rarely a day of rest. Exceptions are made for those who must
work for the public good, but this is not the problem. Too many people
are just as busy and exhausted on Sundays as they are on weekdays. For
many, Sunday is neither a day of rest nor a time for worship.
God built into human nature the rhythm between work and rest.
We should treat this rest as sacred because it is our way of withdrawing
from the demands of our work so that we have time to realize God’s
providential care of creation. Our remarkable progress in gaining con-
trol over the world can cause us to forget that God is the Creator upon
whom everything depends. Science and technology are admirable gifts,
but they must not be allowed to obscure the real author of all that is.
Keeping the Lord’s Day holy can also serve as a helpful corrective for a
“consumer” society that tends to place value on people for their produc-
tivity and material possessions.
Sunday rest puts our whole life into perspective. It helps us stand
back from material concerns and reflect on spiritual values. Taking a
breather from the pressures of the workplace, we are freed to open our
souls to matters that have eternal significance. Sunday rest allows us to
look again at the wonders of nature and experience the harmony and
peace placed there by God. It is a precious time for rediscovering the fun-
damental goodness of creation as it comes from God’s providential hand.
Sunday also provides the opportunity for families to be together
and to engage in common activities. Weekday schedules often require
members of the family to spend much time away from each other.
Participation in the Eucharist and other activities can renew the bonds
of love and unity.
Athletic events for young people have sometimes interfered with
the Sunday Mass observance of Catholic youth. Until recently, Sunday
morning was a sacred time in most communities and neighborhoods,
set aside for church attendance. Before this is abandoned on behalf of