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Remembering the Sabbath

By Br. Matt Wooters


One of the (many) unique parts of working at a camp all summer is the lack of a weekend. The kids remain and so too does the staff. This is a new and strange reality for me, not having the familiar mark that ends one week and the beginning of another. Although we pray together and receive the Eucharist every Sunday morning, the schedule is pretty much the same on Sundays as it is every other day. The campers go about their activities as normal. Life goes on. I have noticed in myself an increased hunger for a Sabbath, in the true spiritual sense of the word, a holy day of rest.

The late Rabbi Abraham Heschel wrote extensively on the Sabbath in his book The Sabbath. While reading his book I realized my experience of American Catholicism doesn’t really include a Sabbath. Most of us have the day off, and many of us go to church, and yet we tend to fill our Sundays with to-do lists and other sorts of business and busyness.

Rabbi Heschel writes the word kadosh represents the stunning, all-encompassing vastness and majesty of God’s holiness. There is no other word like it in the Bible. He explains kadosh was used to describe the sanctity of time itself. Rabbi Heschel writes:

The meaning of the Sabbath is to celebrate time rather than space. Six days a week we live under the tyranny of things of space; on the Sabbath we try to become attuned to holiness in time. It is a day on which we are called upon to share in what is eternal in time, to turn from the results of creation to the mystery of creation, from the world of creation to the creation of the world.”

For me, a blessing of these #31minutesforpeace this month has been this very gift of time. A time to be still. A half-hour Sabbath to step away from a joyful, hectic life at Camp Thunderhead and attune myself to the mystery. This week, perhaps we could use our 31 minutes with the mindset of a Sabbath – to step away from the tyranny of to-do’s, and simply notice the kadosh within us and around us.

Let’s be still.