Dies Domini 67: Sunday Gives Perspective

Can Sunday become a bastion where our attachments to consumption and collection might fade? If so, Saint John Paul suggests we will get in touch with more of our truly human aspects:

67. Through Sunday rest, daily concerns and tasks can find their proper perspective: the material things about which we worry give way to spiritual values; in a moment of encounter and less pressured exchange, we see the true face of the people with whom we live. Even the beauties of nature — too often marred by the desire to exploit, which turns against (people themselves)— can be rediscovered and enjoyed to the full.

Can Sunday be when we find some measure of peace? One Doctor of the Church thought so:

As the day on which (we are) at peace with God, with (ourselves) and with others, Sunday becomes a moment when people can look anew upon the wonders of nature, allowing themselves to be caught up in that marvellous and mysterious harmony which, in the words of Saint Ambrose, weds the many elements of the cosmos in a “bond of communion and peace” by “an inviolable law of concord and love”. (Hex. 2, 1, 1: CSEL 321, 41) Men and women then come to a deeper sense, as the Apostle says, that “everything created by God is good and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for then it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer” (1 Tim 4:4-5). If after six days of work — reduced in fact to five for many people — people look for time to relax and to pay more attention to other aspects of their lives, this corresponds to an authentic need which is in full harmony with the vision of the Gospel message. Believers are therefore called to satisfy this need in a way consistent with the manifestation of their personal and community faith, as expressed in the celebration and sanctification of the Lord’s Day.

Therefore, also in the particular circumstances of our own time, Christians will naturally strive to ensure that civil legislation respects their duty to keep Sunday holy. In any case, they are obliged in conscience to arrange their Sunday rest in a way which allows them to take part in the Eucharist, refraining from work and activities which are incompatible with the sanctification of the Lord’s Day, with its characteristic joy and necessary rest for spirit and body. (Cf. Code of Canon Law, Canon 1247; Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, Canon 881, 1; 4)

If we insist on a civil day of rest, are we not obligated to observe Sunday to the fullest extent we have explored in our faith tradition?

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.
This entry was posted in Dies Domini, post-conciliar liturgy documents. Bookmark the permalink.

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