As the church adjusted to no, then smaller, public Masses in the wake of COVID-19, much was shared on keeping the Sabbath holy. There are some great Catholic resources just a Google search away to help our families grow in faith as we fast from the Eucharist.

Could keeping the Sabbath be an antidote to our over-worked, over-scheduled, consumeristic, “more is always better” culture? Taking time for rest and celebration keeps our most im-portant relationship grounded; prioritized above other things that tend to take over. Sabbath is when we celebrate God’s death and resurrection, which rescued us. Sabbath was created as a gift from God to us (Mark 2:27).

Four reasons we should sabbath through quarantine (and afterward):

Celebration: Sabbath is where we as Catholics renew our covenantal oath with God. We hear God speak to us through the scriptures and are reminded that God is faithful to his promises. Through the Eucharistic celebration, the church offers back to God the sacrifice of the Mass with thanks and praise. As the Body of Christ, the church, we gather to receive the true pres-ence of the Body and Blood of Christ, and are then deployed as Christ’s body in the world. The Lord’s Day is a day to celebrate freedom from the slavery of sin and share that good news with the world.

Rest: Taking Sabbath allows us to recover, recharge, and reflect. When we are addicted to work, it can become our identity. When we are constantly busy with activities, we do not have time to give rest an opportunity to heal us. In a world of 24/7 rush, God invites us to take a day to breathe, get outside, share a meal together, and enjoy. Slowing down on the Sabbath gives us perspective and allows us to recoup for the week ahead.

Relationship: Sabbath allows us to reconnect with the source of love, God. God is jealous of all the things that distract and pull us away from our relationship with him. God is a relationship of persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). It is by experiencing God’s generous love that we can better love our family and friends. Jesus summarized the whole law by telling us we were cre-ated for relationship, for love of God and neighbor (Matt. 22:36-40). Sabbath allows us to enter more deeply into those relationships.

It’s also a Commandment: In the beginning God establishes a life-giving rhythm for us, and it culminates with the seventh day sabbath. The six days of creation were good, but the Sabbath was sacred and holy. The Lord then instructs Moses to keep the Sabbath after freeing the Jews from slavery and establishes it as the third commandment. The foreign laborers and not even work animals were permitted to labor on the Sabbath. God makes it a commandment out of love for us.

The letter to the Hebrews reminds us, “Therefore, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God. And whoever enters into God’s rest, rests from his own works as God did from his. There-fore, let us strive to enter into that rest” (4:9-11). Perhaps the lover of our souls knows exactly what we need.

Kidd directs the Office of Marriage and Family Life for the Archdiocese of Portland.