I was very fortunate to have a three month sabbatical this past spring. Part of that sabbatical was going away for an eight-day Ignatian silent retreat at Eastern Point Retreat House in Gloucester, Massachusetts. During those days of silence (broken only by worship and a daily meeting with a spiritual director) I realized how much the silence and the time away from busy-ness renewed me. I decided that I needed to take one day each week as my sabbath day. A day when I did not do work, did not run errands, did not make plans, but just had a full day set aside to pray, to write, to paint, to be, to rest, to open myself to the presence of God.
I am somewhat surprised but I have managed to keep a weekly sabbath day quite faithfully. Yes, there have been some interruptions (a dentist appointment that could not be scheduled any other day, travel, pastoral emergencies, etc.) but overall Mondays have become my sabbath time.
I cannot even begin to tell you how much I look forward to these Mondays. I sleep so well on Sunday evenings. I do not set an alarm clock for Monday morning.
I try to begin my sabbath at sundown on Sunday evenings and end at sundown on Monday evenings. The rhythm of this day of rest has become part of my spiritual practice and one I dearly love. Of course, I realize that I do not have small (or even large) children at home or other demands which would make such a day difficult if not impossible. I feel fortunate and blessed to have a full day. It has made a real difference in my ministry.
Some sabbaths are better than others. By that I mean, there are some sabbath days that I rather fritter away the day. Other days I feel very close to God and am able to enter a space and time of deep prayer and reflection. I feel that I will continue to get better at keeping the sabbath and offering it to God to be made holy. For it is God that makes any day and every day holy; I am not the one that does that.
Stopping for a day, reminds me. None of this is about me. All of this is about God. For that I am grateful. Immensely grateful.