How to Keep the Sabbath Holy
So I'm not able to attend Mass on Sunday...now what?
These are unprecedented times, but it doesn't mean Sunday should become just like any other day. We still must do our best to keep it a holy day of the Lord. Here are 5 ways to keep Sundays as a special day of prayer and rest as a family dedicated to God.
1. Watch the Mass on TV (EWTN or Salt & Light) or online (Archdiocesan website, Bishop Barron, Ascension Press). Watch it as a family at the same time you would regularly attend Mass. Turn off all your devices, put on your Sunday best, and set aside all snacks and distractions so that you can enter into a time of prayer with God and with your fellow Catholics.
2. Avoid all unnecessary manual labor. Sundays aren't the day to wash windows or to mow the lawn (yes, spring is coming!); these jobs can wait for another day. Sundays are all about God and resting in Him. Doing the dishes after the meal is all right because that activity is part of the daily necessities of keeping order in the home. But even God rested on the seventh day.
3. Spend time as a family. Make a point on Sunday of having a family dinner, of actually sitting together at a meal and conversing instead of racing from one activity to the next. Choose an activity you can all share--a card game, charades, pictionary, or go for a walk together--and enjoy being together. Thank God for the gift of your family. If your family members live far away, schedule a call with them. Be intentional about your time together, and learn to be present to your loved ones in a new way.
4. Spend time in quiet, personal prayer on Sunday besides watching the Mass. How often do we complain that we 'never have time to pray' because our lives are too busy? We can fall into the sin of sloth (spiritual laziness) so easily. All of a sudden it's been weeks or months or years since we've had a regular habit of daily prayer. Begin with a few minutes in the morning or evening, and then work your way into a routine that can be flexible with your daily responsibilities.
5. Limit time on your devices. If possible, turn them off. If you must use your devices, limit your usage to consumption of holy media (like movies or kids' shows on FORMED.org). Trust that the Lord God will provide all you need for this one day and detach yourself from indulging in the world news, trends, and latest gossip. Relearn to be childlike (not childish): joyful for the blessings around you every day, content with the possessions you have, generous in sharing them with those in need, wondering at the beauty and glory of God all around you (in your family, in nature, in the abilities of others), and detach from worrying about tomorrow for the worries of today are sufficient (Mat 6:34).
Bonus: Listen to Dr. Edward Sri's podcast episode on Missing Sunday Mass (from his podcast show 'All Things Catholic'): https://media.ascensionpress.com/podcast/the-coronavirus-and-missing-sunday-mass/