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Sunday, 19 April 2015

Misunderstanding the Third Commandment

There is an odd memorial in Upper State New York I have seen several times which notes that past this marker, there is no Sunday observance.

This marker noted the end of Christian influence and civilization in long ago colonial days.

The end of Sunday observance practically forms one boundary of the Adirondack State Park area.

Even today, as I have lived up there for months in the recent past, Sunday is simply not kept by the vast majority of people. The Ten Commandments were apparently set aside early on in that part of the States.

As the CCC states, the Ten Commandments are the moral voice of God, reminding us of our own moral voice, the conscience, reminding man of natural law.

The Ten Commandments are not extras, but fundamentals, all based on the natural duties man has towards God and other men.

The Catholic Church teaches an important point-all the commandments may be known by reason.

Revelation underscores reason, and makes the commandments key to the life of the followers of God.

Today, at nine in the morning, I was reminded that America is a nation of pagans. Grass cutting, weed clipping, pruning of trees and hedges all commenced, as if these things could not be done on Saturday or other days.

These jobs in this area are done by lawn contractors, who have their own businesses and could choose not to work on Sundays.

Only those who absolutely must work on Sundays, like nurses, doctors, firefighters, police and so on are given a pass to work on Sunday. Primary care workers and people in industries who cater to travellers who must travel, must work. Soldiers in the field must work on Sunday. Priests and those involved in ministries must work on Sunday.

Americans have forgotten God, and His Day.

However, when I was a child, restaurants were all closed on Sunday. This is true of many places in Malta, although sadly, the big shops are now open. I remember when gas stations were closed on Sunday. Big stores for sure....

and some little ones...

I remember when shops were all closed on Sunday in Iowa. My mother remembers the silence of Sundays in St. Louis.

To purposefully and carelessly break the Sunday work-ban is to commit grave sin.

I grew up in Protestant territory and no one, not the Lutherans or Methodists or Presbyterians, cut grass or worked in the gardens on Sunday.

Garden shops were closed as well.

In one Midwest town and in another town in another state, the Catholic schools had to create their own league for soccer, as the public schools changed all the games to the morning of Sundays.

This type of scheduling is sinful and unnecessary.

St. James notes that to break one of the commandments is to break them all as there is a unity in the following of the law.

Before I continue. a few notes from the CCC. Notice the last note--God does not ask the impossible. We make choices.

2075 "What good deed must I do, to have eternal life?" - "If you would enter into life, keep the commandments" (Mt 19:16-17).
2076 By his life and by his preaching Jesus attested to the permanent validity of the Decalogue.
2077 The gift of the Decalogue is bestowed from within the covenant concluded by God with his people. God's commandments take on their true meaning in and through this covenant.
2078 In fidelity to Scripture and in conformity with Jesus' example, the tradition of the Church has always acknowledged the primordial importance and significance of the Decalogue.
2079 The Decalogue forms an organic unity in which each "word" or "commandment" refers to all the others taken together. To transgress one commandment is to infringe the whole Law (cf. Jas 2:10-11).
2080 The Decalogue contains a privileged expression of the natural law. It is made known to us by divine revelation and by human reason.
2081 The Ten Commandments, in their fundamental content, state grave obligations. However, obedience to these precepts also implies obligations in matter which is, in itself, light.
2082 What God commands he makes possible by his grace.

Some playing fields for sport are still closed on Sunday in Scotland. Some places here are closed on Sundays. Support those, like the one below...

That the West allowed work on Sunday, which occurred under the greed and avarice of the Industrial Revolution, as feeding animals and mucking out barns would be considered necessary and still are, was the beginning of the death of the West.

People point to sexual sins as serious and these are, but working on Sunday, part of the first three commandments which owe God worship and justice, creates a godless society, one no longer focused on true worship of God, prayer, or reflection.

A day of grace and rest from work
2184 Just as God "rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done,"121 human life has a rhythm of work and rest. The institution of the Lord's Day helps everyone enjoy adequate rest and leisure to cultivate their familial, cultural, social, and religious lives.122
2185 On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are to refrain from engaging in work or activities that hinder the worship owed to God, the joy proper to the Lord's Day, the performance of the works of mercy, and the appropriate relaxation of mind and body.123 Family needs or important social service can legitimately excuse from the obligation of Sunday rest. The faithful should see to it that legitimate excuses do not lead to habits prejudicial to religion, family life, and health.
The charity of truth seeks holy leisure- the necessity of charity accepts just work.124
2186 Those Christians who have leisure should be mindful of their brethren who have the same needs and the same rights, yet cannot rest from work because of poverty and misery. Sunday is traditionally consecrated by Christian piety to good works and humble service of the sick, the infirm, and the elderly. Christians will also sanctify Sunday by devoting time and care to their families and relatives, often difficult to do on other days of the week. Sunday is a time for reflection, silence, cultivation of the mind, and meditation which furthers the growth of the Christian interior life.

2187 Sanctifying Sundays and holy days requires a common effort. Every Christian should avoid making unnecessary demands on others that would hinder them from observing the Lord's Day. Traditional activities (sport, restaurants, etc.), and social necessities (public services, etc.), require some people to work on Sundays, but everyone should still take care to set aside sufficient time for leisure. With temperance and charity the faithful will see to it that they avoid the excesses and violence sometimes associated with popular leisure activities. In spite of economic constraints, public authorities should ensure citizens a time intended for rest and divine worship. Employers have a similar obligation toward their employees.
2188 In respecting religious liberty and the common good of all, Christians should seek recognition of Sundays and the Church's holy days as legal holidays. They have to give everyone a public example of prayer, respect, and joy and defend their traditions as a precious contribution to the spiritual life of society. If a country's legislation or other reasons require work on Sunday, the day should nevertheless be lived as the day of our deliverance which lets us share in this "festal gathering," this "assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven."125

That many places of work now demand unnecessary work on Sunday actually is a tyranny against Christians. Some drug stores or chemists only have the pharmacies open on Sundays, which is reasonable, but to have the entire day of shopping open, making people work long hours, is a crime against God.

God will judge severely those owners who make money by forcing labor on Sunday. This situation has caused great injustice in America and other places.

Shopping and working are idols here. Idolatry of money (Mammon is a demon) and the capital sin of Avarice undermine the lives of millions of people who may not have a choice to not work on Sunday.

But, one does not have to work in the home, do laundry, do yard work, work on cars and so on.

If one owns a business, one cannot make the workers work on Sunday.

Some people think that they are blessed when they get rich or prosperous. God is not the god of money. Prosperity may very well be from satan, not God.

No longer is the "common good" considered but only personal wealth. Avarice has destroyed Catholic communities, which even in my lifetime, would get together on Sundays.

We are the "Sunday People", an ancient phrase from a Catholic who was asked why he was going to Mass on Sunday.  To work on purpose when it can be avoided is a serious sin.

Did you know that Sunday was a day for engaging in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy?

I remind all of these:

The corporal works of mercy are:
  • To feed the hungry;
  • To give drink to the thirsty;
  • To clothe the naked;
  • To harbour the harbourless;
  • To visit the sick;
  • To ransom the captive;
  • To bury the dead.
The spiritual works of mercy are:
  • To instruct the ignorant;
  • To counsel the doubtful;
  • To admonish sinners;
  • To bear wrongs patiently;
  • To forgive offences willingly;
  • To comfort the afflicted;
  • To pray for the living and the dead.
These are not options, but duties.

America is a pagan nation. The spiritual and corporal works of mercy to be done especially on Sunday have been forgotten. I am moving to nowhere soon. That would be a corporal work of mercy for someone to take me in...I instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, admonish sinners, bear wrongs more and more patiently, forgive offences willingly, comfort the afflicted and pray for the living and the dead. Not having a car, I cannot visit the sick, but I do give water to workmen if they are in the vicinity, and I do pass on clothes readily if needed, if I can.

As a very poor person, I am limited in my ability to do the corporal works of mercy, but one can be creative.

I can phone a sick person and pray with them, or encourage them, if I cannot get to them. Thankfully, in most cities past Ohio, buses do not run on Sunday. This is a hang-over from the times when shops were shut. Better if all the shops would shut.

Sunday is the day to really do these works of mercy.

If one is not choosing to be a "Sunday Person", one mocks the very Eucharist we receive on this day.

Justin Martyr gave us the name... First Apology 67:
On the day called Sunday all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen….
But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior in the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration.

Update-when I chose this passage from Justin, I did not know it would be in Monday's Office of Readings--synchronicity.

Consider your own Sunday observance. Believe that the Lord will bless you, if not now, in heaven, for keeping His Day holy.