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This morning I have a sense of recognition and remembrance that feels a bit like Sundays of long ago. It’s very quiet in our house. There was the “coffee chat” – the first sighting of our housemates in the kitchen – but the stillness that feels related somehow to the cold outside has now returned and we are left by ourselves to reflect on this weekly “holy day.” Before work schedules in the world were “24/7” we Catholics had a rule that said “No unnecessary servile work on Sundays.” Happily, that meant no serious cleaning, no heavy lifting…I couldn’t even iron my father’s handkerchiefs – a privilege I dearly loved.

What was the point of all that? Why was Sunday special for us as Saturday for the Jewish people in the next town? In describing the Sunday rituals of prayer in her monastery, Sister Joan Chittister offers the following thoughts.

Prayer is the filter through which we view our worlds. Prayer provokes us to see the life around us in new ways…Prayer is meant to call us back to a consciousness of God here and now, not to make God some kind of private getaway from life…prayer puts us in contact with past and future at once so that the present becomes clearer and the future possible. (Wisdom Distilled from the Daily, pp. 28-9)

While we still honor a day of the week with ritual, as do others in keeping with their religious traditions, it is helpful sometimes to step out of our routines and set aside a whole day for reflection on just what Sister Joan is talking about. I ask myself when was the last time I did this? What about you?