Built of Living Stones 20: More on Time and Space

As an astronomy buff, my ears perk up at that phrase, “time and space.” Time is obvious. The Church marks time based on the Christian observance of the day and week, as well as marking years with the celebration of our two chief cycles.

The connection with space seems a bit weaker to me. Not that I dispute God’s supremacy over the universe; I just don’t quite grasp the link between churches and “all space.” What do you see?

§ 20 § The Church marks time as holy by setting aside Sunday and by celebrating the Liturgical Year with its rhythm and seasons. It demonstrates God’s reign over all space by dedicating buildings to house the Church and its worship. Each Sunday the baptized are challenged to rest from their daily labors, to contemplate the goodness of God, to make present the victory and triumph of Christ’s death (SC 6), to enter the joy of the Risen Lord, to receive the life-giving breath of the Spirit, and to commit themselves to serve those in need. Sunday affirms both the primacy of God and the dignity of the person.* While the worship of God is not limited to any one place, Christians build churches to shelter the liturgical assembly that praises God and celebrates the sacraments through which the Church is sanctified.

I’d like to let Pope John Paul II take up the commentary on this. The starred note refers to Dies Domini: Observing and Celebrating the Day of the Lord 68. The money quote from BLS’s footnotes:

In order that rest may not degenerate into emptiness or boredom, it must offer spiritual enrichment, greater freedom, opportunities for contemplation and fraternal communion. Therefore, among the forms of culture and entertainment which society offers, the faithful should choose those which are most in keeping with a life lived in obedience to the precepts of the Gospel. Sunday rest then becomes ‘prophetic,’ affirming not only the absolute primacy of God, but also the primacy and dignity of the person with respect to the demands of social and economic life, and anticipating in a certain sense the ‘new heavens’ and the ‘new earth,’ in which liberation from slavery to needs will be final and complete. In short, the Lord’s Day thus becomes in the truest sense the day of (humankind) as well.

I really like this text. Outside of the realm of worship, I like setting aside Sunday for freedom, contemplation, and community. We all need that. We all need to make good judgments about activities in which we engage. It is not surprising that John Paul II would suggest that the Lord’s Day is also our own.

All texts from Built of Living Stones are copyright © 2000, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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