Dies Domini 17: More Remembering

Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the Torah (and the Bible, of course) inspires DD 17 and continues the theme of remembering:

17. The connection between Sabbath rest and the theme of “remembering” God’s wonders is found also in the Book of Deuteronomy (5:12-15), where the precept is grounded less in the work of creation than in the work of liberation accomplished by God in the Exodus: “You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with mighty hand and outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day” (Dt 5:15).

The community of believers remembers God has saved us–delivered us from slavery. And if those of us who have led privileged lives have no direct experience of being owned by a master, perhaps we can contribute the notion that we’ve often been enslaved to our own addictions, and perhaps abuse coming from others.

This formulation complements the one we have already seen; and taken together, the two reveal the meaning of “the Lord’s Day” within a single theological vision which fuses creation and salvation. Therefore, the main point of the precept is not just any kind of interruption of work, but the celebration of the marvels which God has wrought.

A recovering addict will often celebrate the marvel of deliverance.

Insofar as this “remembrance” is alive, full of thanksgiving and of the praise of God, human rest on the Lord’s Day takes on its full meaning. It is then that (humankind) enters the depths of God’s “rest” and can experience a tremor of the Creator’s joy when, after the creation, he saw that all he had made “was very good” (Gn 1:31).

Do we see memory as being alive? It’s certainly a challenge in some ways. We’re used to “recording” our existence with things ranging from selfies to video. When we don’t have these props–or crutches–we are forced to live and celebrate the moment. And rely on our memories. The Vatican site has Dies Domini in its entirety.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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