Pope Benedict: Defend Sundays As A Day Of Rest


There are many tenets of our faith that most consider basic and core to our identity as Catholics and Christians. Even those who are not cradle Catholics can recite many of them with little thought. Follow the golden rule. Honor your father and mother. Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain. Honor the Sabbath.

Earlier this summer Pope Benedict XVI reminded Catholics about that final commandment during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s square, saying that Sunday must be a day of rest for everyone, so people can be free to be with their families and with God.

“By defending Sunday, one defends human freedom,” he said.

Prior to entering my working years, I never gave this commandment much thought beyond ensuring that my Sundays included Mass attendance and family time when possible. Now with an overflowing work and social schedule, it’s becoming more difficult than ever before to see the Sabbath day as its intended purpose – for rest.

Just like many aspects of our faith, the concept of rest is simple. We need rest to function, rejuvenate and live a full life. But as we all know, our society demands everything from us but rest. We are asked to be the best in every part of life, which leaves very little room for time with loved ones and with God.

It’s difficult to find rest, which is why we have Sunday, a day designated by our Creator to replenishment physically, emotionally and spiritually for the week ahead. Each of us is called to embrace rest because it’s only through rest that we can hear God’s voice resonating through the noise of life.

It was on the seventh day of the creation story that God stepped away from his work and rested. As Catholics, we are called to do the same. Doing so just may prove crucial to your search for a spouse.

CatholicMatchers, how do you choose to spend your Sundays when you’re enjoying time away from your weekday routine? How are you relaxing this Labor Day weekend?



  1. Tom-839995 October 20, 2012 Reply

    Sunday is by far my favorite day of all! I love going to church to whatever mass I make it to after I get up and am not in a rush. Hearing scriptures at mass, thinking about my life and how God wants me to be. Going home, putting up my US and Coast Guard flags and looking forward to a breakfast of eggs and bacon and reading the Sunday paper. Falling asleep in my chair that afternoon with my cat on my lap. Having a midday snack and then cooking a nice chicken dinner and watching 60 Minutes. Then maybe a nice bike ride and then settle down to a nice clean movie, usually a religious one. Of course calls to family and loved ones and maybe even meeting them for awhile. You can see now why I love this day. Oh yes, there have been times when I would have to work on Sundays but somehow I still would squeeze in my Sunday time. I SO believe in “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad!

  2. Dave-868059 September 14, 2012 Reply

    I hear all the comments here. I feel it for folks who have to keep a job which demands weekend toil especially in areas such a hospitality and essential services, airports, hospitals, those on oil platforms at sea… What about such brothers and sisters? It’s not as simple as one might think for them to just get that Lord’s Day free for mass and family. What about that? What about they selling ice cream in the park? Are we causing him to sin so we can enjoy Sunday ‘rest’? I’m sure the Lord understands. What say ye?

  3. Tara-539245 September 4, 2012 Reply

    I’ve thought about this a lot recently, so I’m glad to see a blog on it. I have focused on resting a lot more on this day. However, if I want to spend it with family, I’m conflicted. If we go shopping or out to eat, I wonder if we should because I know that people are obviously working (store employees and restaurant workers), and that makes me feel guilty. Any advice? I basically spend Sundays holed up at home, but then that makes me want to clean house, which I deter myself from doing. It’s been an interesting struggle.

  4. Lucia-834678 September 3, 2012 Reply

    Why complicate the Commandments? Our Lord meant exactly what He said; Keep Holy the Lords day. Holy Mother Church teaches it is a sin to do unnecessary servile work, as well as buying anything unnecessary. The Church hasn’t changed that, neither was the Pope trying to say, “what do you think I am possibly trying to say about rest on His day?” Go to Holy Mass, worship God, spend time with your family and friends. It’s that simple. No greater love there is than the one who gives up his life for his friend. Stay home, unless you are absolutely starving, thus making it necessary to work or buy. Be a Christian and have valour, and stand up for your Faith, regardless what it may cost to you. The Church has not changed her teachings, rather people have tried to change them because of their flesh (“more souls go to Hell because of the sins of the flesh”, Our Lady of Fatima said in 1917), thus justifying their offensive actions towards God. Call me extreme or too harsh, but forget not what Jesus did when His Father’s house was being dishonoured. He was not saying, “Aw, I understand. Let’s make some exceptions.” Let’s be Christians, and die to ourselves, out of love of God, and for His glory. Viva Cristo Rey! Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe! + PAX CHRISTI +

  5. Claudia-635473 September 3, 2012 Reply

    I just wonder, i don’t really understand why we need to be rest on Sunday instead of Shabbat or Saturday?

  6. Luna-708527 September 3, 2012 Reply

    @ Rich 559031, thanks for your post, I like your response . It reminded me a question we were asked once in a church retreat about which day we would call sabbath for us as catholics. I remember all of us answering Sunday and the retreat moderator enjoyed our answer for he could see where we are coming from. To answer that question he simply said: For us catholic, all days of the week are sabbath days becaus there is no day that is not for God which made sense to me in a broader way.
    As per the article, I guess the Holy Father wanted to stress the meaning and importance of having time for ourselves as a family.

    You will be in my prayer for God’s answer to your need, I can imagine the feeling. Keep praying, nothing is impossible to God!

  7. Michael-833046 September 2, 2012 Reply

    Hey Rich-559031…I’ll join you in prayer…I hope you can find something that allows this flexibility. God bless. Mike

  8. Rich-559031 September 2, 2012 Reply

    Its nt clearif Sundau or Saturday is the sevennth day. But I agree we must follow the commandments. What about those that have to work on Sundays in retail for a job? As is my case where I don’t even have time to attend church sometimes….like today…I feel awful not attending church but my employer doesn’t care…..I keep praying for a job where I won`t have to work weekends.

  9. John-469247 September 2, 2012 Reply

    Actually… Saturday (Sabbath) is the day of rest refered to in the creation story (Gen 2) and Sunday is the Lord’s Day (Acts 20:7) which is the first day of the week… But I like the article 🙂

    • Jaime-573859 September 2, 2012 Reply

      To add a few words….

      I think the Hebrew calendar is a lunar calendar (agriculturally based) and the greek (modern day) calendar is solar based (and is based on the foundation of Rome). Since scripture states all the apostles met on the first day of week the early church fathers adopted the practice and continued once Christianity was legalized. Since the old empire adopted Christianity as the state religion they simply just keep most the old practices and applied them to the true living God.
      Moreover, I think its quite possible the Pope Benedict is referring to the forgotten the MEANING of the Lord’s day. Some call it the problem of complacency.

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