In the beginning of this pandemic when the churches were closed and we could no longer honor the Sabbath as we used to with Mass and church services, I felt lost. Sunday just wasn’t the same, and the rest of the week felt all askew because I didn’t have my time at church to mark the beginning of a new week. I did what most of us have done – watched online services and participated as best I could even though it felt awkward. I needed more than that, however, so I began to plan my own Sabbath rituals to honor until I can safely return to church again and worship in community.
I purposely and intentionally slow down the pace, I mean really slow down the pace from the rest of the week. I spend a longer time in prayer. I reflect back on the past week and offer gratitude to God for all that has been. I spend time outdoors, go for long, leisurely walks and admire the beauty of this summer season and try to immerse myself more deeply into God’s marvelous creation. I turn off my cell phone, resist the temptation to look at Facebook or tune into the latest breaking news and simply let the day unfold as it will.
I don’t do it perfectly, but I try, and in this way Sabbath has become more special to me than ever before. I am much more aware now of Sunday as being the Lord’s Day because I am the one who is marking the day as special, where before I would attend Mass, come home and feel I was done. I had fulfilled my obligation. Now the sense of this day being set aside as special holds more meaning for me, and I don’t lose track of the rest of the weekdays!
I invite you, if you haven’t already done so, to create your own rituals to make your Sunday personally significant, “to keep holy the Lord’s Day” when you can’t attend church services or Mass.