Catholic Life; or Feasts, Fasts and Devotions
Section titled Sunday
Imprimatur 1908 Printed by Washbourne
God Almighty in the beginning of the world appointed a Sabbath, or day of rest, to be kept once a week in memory of His having accomplished the creation of the world in six days, and His resting on the seventh; and also that man might not only give rest to his body, but especially to his soul. This is done by withdrawing from the cares and pleasures of life, and raising our thoughts to consider the eternal rest in the world to come, the means to secure it, and the evils to be avoided.
Thus, the day of rest is a remembrance of God's power and goodness, and so an excellent means of increasing our love for Him, because we cannot fail to love Him Whom we know to be the most perfect Being, to Whom all creatures owe their existence, Who is our greatest benefactor. Later on, when the sanctification of the Sabbath was included in the Ten Commandments given on Mount Sinai, Almighty God prefixed the word remember, as time had shown how apt man was to forget Him and His service, by being too fond of the perishable goods and pleasures of this life.
The last day of the week was appointed to be kept holy in the Old Law, but the Church, the beloved spouse of Christ, chose Sunday in memory of our Saviour's resurrection and the descent of the Holy Ghost, both of which happened on that day. Hence it is called the Lord's Day.
We are obliged to hear Mass every Sunday, and to abstain from servile works which are not required by necessity or charity. We ought, also, to endavour to be present at the other public devotions, such as Vespers, Sermon, Benediction, or Rosary. A part of the day might be profitably spent in reading pious books, such as the "History of the Bible," the "Lives of the Saints," the "Imitation of Christ," St. Liguori's "Way of Salvation," and the publications of the Catholic Truth Society, which may be found at most church doors. These will help us to enjoy what peace of heart which is found by those who retire from the noise and tumult of life to devote some time to their eternal interests.
There is a plenary indulgence granted in some countries to the faithful who receive Holy Communion worthily on the first Sunday of the month, and afterwards say a few Paters and Aves for the Pope's intentions.
Those who have more leisure and aptitude may further sanctify the Sunday by teaching catechism in the church, collecting for the various charities, ect. A Sunday spent thus passes sweetly, having been truly sanctified by prayer and charity, and refreshed by family reunions, rest, and innocent joys. It is a guarantee of eternal rest in the kingdom of God.
"Grant I may ever, at the morning ray,
Open with prayer the consecrated Day;
Tune Thy great praise, and
bid my soul arise,
And with the mounting sun ascend the skies;
As that advances, let my seal improve,
And glow with ardour of consummate love'
Nor cease with eve, but with the setting sun
My endless worship shall be still begun."
Example.- Rudolph de Lisele. Born A.D. 1853
If there was one specially marked characteristic about Rudolph from earliest boyhood, it was his absolute fearlessness, whether of danger, ridicule, or hardship, in the discharge of duty. Many striking instances of this better part of valour are given. Take one, there was a French man-of-war station not far from his ship in one of the harbours of the Pacific Ocean. As there was Mass on board this ship, Rudolph thought it best to take his men there rather than go on shore.
Leave was asked and obtained, so a quarter of an hour before the time, he arrived with his men. He himself was invited at once by the officers into the cabin, where they showed him every politeness. But by and by,
the quarter of an hour being expired, Rudolph looked at his watch, and said: "Ah, I see 'tis Mass-time now." These French officers were Catholics, but lived, as too many of the French in that station of life do, in total disregard of religion. So when Rudolph said "It is Mass-time," they replied, "Mass! surely you are not going to Mass?" "Yes, I am," said Rudolph, and, at once taking leave, he went off and entered the place where Mass was said. About the time of the Sanctus one of the French officers slunk in. The next Sunday two or three came in; the Sunday after the whole of the officers attended Mass from every commencement, and they continued to do so for the six weeks longer that the two men-of-war were within easy reach of each other.