The sabbath was made for me
When was the last time you fell asleep reading a book? I’m talking a good book, under a cozy blanket, in the middle of the day, having lost all track of time?
When was the last time you spent a day disconnected from technology? As in consciously decided to avoid social media and other distractions of the like, replacing screen time with time face-to-face, or time marveling at the beauty of nature or art or crafted words on a page?
When was the last time you carved out an hour for prayer and truly rested in God’s presence? Didn’t read or write or recite but just stayed and watched and listened?
When was the last time you lived the sabbath well? I mean really, really well? Got to Mass early, took extra time to pray, spent time outside, gathered with friends or family, didn’t shop or clean or work, truly entered into holy leisure, allowed God to recreate you through your recreation?
This rarest of occasions happened to me last Sunday and I must say—I am all about it. This is certainly not my typical routine. Usually, my weekends are tightly scheduled with all sorts of activities, and I’m watching the clock as the hours pass. And if I find myself with gaps in my day, I often spend them mindlessly scrolling, falling deeper into the rabbit hole until I reluctantly pull myself out for my next commitment. To be fair, many of those commitments are, in fact, good—praying, running, hosting friends for dinner—but it’s not often that I live my Sundays in a spirit of true rest, knowingly glorifying and worshipping God, thanking Him for the gift of creation and my very existence. But after spending such a day last weekend, I think I may be onto something.
There was something remarkable about last Sunday. After becoming frustrated with my time-wasting the day before, I committed in the morning to avoid technology all day, using it only for a phone call with my mom and a few texts here and there. And as I sat in the chapel that day, happily and peacefully face-to-face with Jesus, I was struck by a simple revelation. When I so often waste time glued to a screen for minutes on end, I find myself somehow descending—becoming lazier, more irritable, less willing to tear myself away for time spent elsewhere. Yet when I “waste time” with Jesus in prayer, I find myself ascending—being drawn up into heavenly mysteries, contemplating the things of God and not of this world, becoming refreshed and more myself and, eventually, ready to spring from the chapel to continue my day with newfound energy and peace and zeal. And it’s not that I spent all day praying, but the fruits of that time of prayer were so rich that they lasted throughout the day, as I read and napped and talked to my mom and went to Mass and spent time with friends.
Of course, this is not a habit of mine yet. I’m sure to falter along the way of working toward living the sabbath as I ought, as I want. But after tasting new joy last Sunday as I drew closer to God and the rest that only He can give, I know I can’t resist coming back for more.