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Sabbath restores, renews

 

“Gladness of heart is the very life of man, cheerfulness prolongs his days. Distract yourself, renew your courage, drive resentment far away from you; For worry has brought death to many, nor is there aught to be gained from resentment” (Sirach 31:22-23).

In many countries, May 1 is “May Day,” the equivalent of Labor Day in the United States. Honoring the international labor movement, it is celebrated in more than 80 countries as a day to set aside work to rest and relax.

You remind us to rest from the labor and concerns of life throughout your word, loving Lord. You know how important rest is for our well-being, calling us to set aside the Sabbath for rest and worship. And you remind us that being joyful -- joy-filled -- and content promote our health and well-being, too. You encourage us to distract ourselves from the concerns of everyday life.

But do we stop, rest, and nourish and renew ourselves? Too often, the answer is no. Do we count our blessings or have an “attitude of gratitude” for the embarrassing riches of our lives?

Do we stop to enjoy all your blessings -- especially those of family, friends, and fun?

Or do we wish for more or different than we have, or work through too many hours or days, not resting or renewing ourselves? Do we delight in the life we have, or waste precious time in resentment?

Do we take time daily to lift grateful hearts? Do we allow ourselves to rest, or are we in constant pursuit -- of more, different, new?

Rest doesn’t only mean sleep or not doing what usually occupies us. It also means restoring our levels of strength, health, joy, courage -- the things that keep us well and help us persist in daily life.

When tired is our “normal,” it’s easy to give in to resentment, envy, worry, and fear.

When we follow your will for us, and take time to rest -- from work, worry, bills, and cares -- when we “keep” the Sabbath and soak in your word, spend time with people who restore our faith and hope and joy, rest from daily work, and have fun, then we are renewed and ready again to enjoy this life and live for your glory.

Bless us, Lord, with the strength to rest, to renew ourselves in your word, in communal worship, and in fun. Help us resist the lure of modern life that tempts us to work harder, longer, more, in the mistaken belief that we’re doing or achieving more. Help us focus on your “mores” for us: more love, strength, joy, life!

May we realize that in resting in you and with you lies the secret to all else we need. Amen.

Refresh and renew yourself in God’s Word with the St. Ann’s community. Masses are 5:30 p.m. Saturdays, and Sundays at 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., noon (Spanish), and 5:30 p.m. Visit stannslv.org for more information.

 
 
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