Sunday Rest

“Break the conventions. Keep the Commandments.” G.K. Chesterton

On waking at half past four on a Sunday morning, a certain person found his mind racing with thoughts of work, and noticed a quick flush through the veins and a near ignition of the muscles to reach for that device which connects him to the office, the computer. That modern device has brought great progress, but tethers men in a new way to their places of toil even when safely resting in comfy beds miles from the office.  Added to this technological chain is that hand sized nuisance, the smart phone, which has interrupted too many meals on a certain plot of land to count over matters so trivial as not to be recalled. The Lady of the Manor has tried to relay to her non-compliant subjects that unless you hold the Keys to the Nuclear Arsenal, all matters can wait thirty minutes for a family meal to conclude, but alas, members continue to respond to summons from this device, as if the device, like a baby, knows when meals begin, and when to cause the said lady to nearly lose her tenuous composure.  She had, early on, been heard to declare, “All phones off the table!” which led to said subjects texting with the devices hidden under napkins in their laps, for she did not know that the subjects had mastered the art of blind texting. After discovering this skill, and nearly admitting it was quite a skill(!), she was heard to declare, “All phones out of the room!” which only led to said phones ringing out of reach with subjects running to see if NATO needed their advice over impending war matters, or more likely: whether X thought The Latest Favorite Movie had left the local theaters, and if so, where they might find it.

Anyway, back to the man tethered to his office: this computer and cell phone tethering has benefits. One can accomplish a great deal of work off-site, but it poses problems, and one of the major problems it poses is that it can easily lead to the breaking of one of the Ten Commandments, that is, the third commandment regarding the Sabbath rest.

It can be agreed that it is wrong to steal. God commanded that we must not take the property of others. It is also a commandment of God that adultery is wrong. All Catholics know that the bonds of marriage are sacred, and must not be broken. We can not pick and choose which commandment we are allowed to break, which leads to that forgotten commandment, the third commandment. With the advent of technology it has become too easy to break the third commandment which reads: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work.”  (From the Catechism of the Catholic Church) This commandment seems to have been thrown out in modern America. Stores are open and packed on Sundays, something unseen fifty years ago. Chick-fil-A is that great exception: all locations are locked up and closed on Sundays; yet they still have booming sales, indicating that companies can succeed in the marketplace and honor the third commandment.

God commanded the Sunday day of rest. Why He did, it is not for us to say, or we might say: it is not for us to judge! There are ten things He asked us, no, commanded us not to do. We might do a million other things on Sundays, as in, breaking the conventions. We may drink wine from golden goblets while sitting outdoors under a pink umbrella wearing a tiara and ballgown, but under no circumstance should we break the Sabbath rest by engaging in needless toil.

It is not easy in this age of technology to break away from the computer and phone, or from the allure of shopping (online shopping is difficult to avoid, as well, on this day), but it can be done.

Chick-fil-A shows us it is possible.