Enjoying Sunday

One of the things I think Catholics do particularly well is to enjoy their religion. We do not put on a gloomy and sanctimonious face when we go to church, nor do we spend overmuch time listening to sermons. We have our fasts, but we like our feasts, too. The ‘twenty minute Mass’ beloved of race-goers of old probably does not exist any more, but we are very good at adapting the liturgy to suit our needs: slow, and with many a prayerful pause, at the conventual Mass; rather brisker at the parish 8.30 a.m. Mass over, off we go, without any silly scrupulosity, to enjoy the rest of the day, doing whatever we want, or nothing at all, as our fancy takes us. Is there anything wrong with that? I think not. Far too often Christianity is presented as a religion of negatives, one that prevents us doing what we want, or makes us feel guilty if we do. Granted, Christianity does urge us to be truthful, honest, kind, compassionate, etc, etc, but these are good things that any sane person would want to be, and prayer, though frequently derided by those with no experience of it, does open us up to the wonder and beauty of God. Sunday is our sabbath, our day of rest, our joy, our delight: the first day of the week that sets the tone for the rest. Here in the monastery we spend more time in prayer and reading than is possible on other days, but we also eat a better dinner and have a strict rule that no one is to correct (i.e. argue with/scold/berate) another for anything. That means that there are usually no arguments, no clashes, and everyone is free to be herself, as God intends her to be, and is grateful for the gifts that the day brings. Is there something here for everyone, monastic or not?


12 thoughts on “Enjoying Sunday”

  1. Hallelujah. Amen. Amen…
    Enjoy our Sunday … with our family … with our friends…
    or … being without them occasionally!
    Amen. Amen.

  2. There always seems to be plan’s for Sunday’s in this Household,Sunday Lunch to be prepared for Family or chores to be done.
    Not this Sunday,yesterday I lost my dear neighbour,she was nearly 96 and had only been ill for a couple of month’s.Luckily she died in the House she loved with her beloved Daughter by her side.So this Sunday I might go to Church, and thank God that he took her to heaven before things got worse for her.

  3. Anglican for me.
    A service with drums, guitars and keyboard and a Communion sung by the congregation.
    It puts life into old bones.

  4. Not to scold on Sundays, that’s a challenge for a grumpy old $%& like me! What I really enjoy from all your posts Dame Catherine, is not only are they down to earth, but always contain that challenge. Simple like a grain of sand between the toes but enough to make to make you take notice.

  5. Oh dear, I’m going to have to adopt the no corrections on Sunday idea, as this morning we had a ‘discussion’ about the thickness of bread cut for toast when making Welsh Rarebit as I prefer it slightly thicker for that.

    I remember going to Mass in the Forest of Dean where an Irish priest used to try to beat his own speed record for Sunday Mass including jokes and humourous asides before dashing off to say Mass in another church. We too tend to have better meals on Sundays which often means more preparation and cooking time and less for relaxation, but precious all the same.

  6. 40 years ago I attended a church (St. Michaels and All Angels) in Dallas. The owners of the Dallas Cowboys football team were also members, and all the Priests had season tickets to the games. Game days meant the shortest sermons ever! Happy memories and thank you for this teaching.

  7. Unintentionally, I had a ‘little nap’ on the sofa this afternoon that lasted for three and a half hours!! Reading this post I realised that I felt ok with that because it was Sunday, I was very tired and it’s also a very rare occurrence. However, I also knew that if it had happened on a weekday I would have felt mortified.

    I don’t think I had actually understood, at a subconscious level, that I accept Sunday absolutely as a day of rest (including going to church)….so I am feeling very blessed this evening!

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