Dies Domini 61: Day of People and Day of God

In DD 61, Pope John Paul II looks at the connection between the sixth day, when people were created, and God’s institution of the Sabbath. Saint Ambrose made the connection.

If rest implies something of satisfaction or completion, then even the wonders of the universe were not enough to inspire that in God. It wasn’t until human beings were created that God found the entire array of creation to be sufficient.

61. As the seventh day blessed and consecrated by God, the “shabbat” concludes the whole work of creation, and is therefore immediately linked to the work of the sixth day when God made man “in his image and likeness” (cf. Gn 1:26). This very close connection between the “day of God” and the “day of man” did not escape the Fathers in their meditation on the biblical creation story. Saint Ambrose says in this regard: “Thanks, then, to the Lord our God who accomplished a work in which he might find rest. He made the heavens, but I do not read that he found rest there; he made the stars, the moon, the sun, and neither do I read that he found rest in them. I read instead that he made (people) and that then he rested, finding in (people) one to whom he could offer the forgiveness of sins”. (Hex. 6, 10, 76: CSEL 321, 261) Thus there will be for ever a direct link between the “day of God” and the “day of man”. When the divine commandment declares: “Remember the Sabbath day in order to keep it holy” (Ex 20:8), the rest decreed in order to honor the day dedicated to God is not at all a burden imposed upon (people), but rather an aid to help (them) to recognize (a) life-giving and liberating dependence upon the Creator, and at the same time (a) calling to cooperate in the Creator’s work and to receive his grace. In honoring God’s “rest”, (people) fully discover (themselves), and thus the Lord’s Day bears the profound imprint of God’s blessing (cf. Gn 2:3), by virtue of which, we might say, it is endowed in a way similar to the animals and to (humankind itself), with a kind of “fruitfulness” (cf. Gn 1:22, 28). This “fruitfulness” is apparent above all in filling and, in a certain sense, “multiplying” time itself, deepening in men and women the joy of living and the desire to foster and communicate life.

Is this regard of God for people enough to provoke or inspire a grace-filled response in kind?

The Vatican site has Dies Domini in its entirety.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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