After attending a retreat with Fr. Ron Rolheiser on the “Practice of Sabbath in our Lives: Some tips for Sanity in an Over-stimulated Time”, this whole idea and understanding of Sabbath time took on a whole new meaning. He spoke about “sabbatical” and shared biblical perspectives on a Sabbatical. He stated the biblical concept of Sabbath time-“the rhythm as laid out by God….six days of creation, followed by Sabbath”. He identified four qualities to sabbatical time: “it is unordinary time, it is rest time, it is celebration time, and it is reconciliation time (time to forgive someone). He went on to identify “aphorisms” regarding the Sabbath to consider and reflect on when we choose to create Sabbath time in our daily life; Sabbath means “remembering that everything you have received is a blessing”; “Sabbath gives us permission, it commands us to stop” without guilt or shame; “Sabbath is what keeps us safe and sane”; “find the Sabbath rest that most fruitfully nourishes your heart and body; and “profoundly Sabbath time is not spiritually superior to our work. The practice is rather to find that balance point at which, having rested, we do our work with greater ease and joy, and bring healing and delight to our endeavors.”
Have you ever considered taking a Sabbatical? Did you hear the inner conversation saying to you there is no time to take off from work or your responsibilities, or it costs too much, or where would I go and what would I do, or perhaps you are very uncomfortable with silence or being alone. What about emails or calls that must be answered?
With this new understanding of Sabbath in our daily lives, we can create Sabbath moments that cost nothing, take minimal time away from our day and renew and refresh our spiritual and emotional life and health. Sabbath time can help us notice what is blocking us from waking up. There are multiple distractions in our daily life, like taking our self-worth from what we do and not who we are; or we sometime have little patience for what is “not practical” and we unknowingly become focused on our “outer garment” that keeps us asleep to our true self.
Sabbath time frees us to go deeper to reveal our true identity. Our “outer garment” limits us, whereas, our “inner garment,” our true self sees that all things are possible. Sabbath time is about going to the garden, the garden you create, nurture and honor with your time and attention. Imagine going to a garden that you planted and each day as summer days pass and fall approaches, the joy of waiting to see what produce shows up…watermelon, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, peppers, the list can be endless. The garden provides the physical experience of nurturing and then picking the fruits of your labor. The garden is also a spiritual space to explore, to encounter God and recognize that entering Sabbath is what wakes us up! Take a bite of the fresh tomato off the vine….a moment in time when the rest of the world does not exist and the luscious taste of that fresh tomato is an invitation to enjoy the moment. That is what Sabbath time can be like for any one of us. It opens us to experiencing God in a moment when the rest of the world falls away, and we recognize God right in front of us. God who is open to our returning again and again, welcoming us each time and greeting us with “I am so glad you’re back” or “I am so glad you are here.”
Sabbath time in our day-to-day living is a gift we give ourselves, a gift of solitude, a gift of reconciliation, a gift of true honesty and transparency. The worst thing we can do is lie to ourselves or others when we know what we are saying is not true and we say it anyway, whether about ourselves, others, or experiences, etc. A Sabbath moment every day is a practice, like prayer is practice and part of that practice is practicing reconciliation (forgiveness). Sabbath time is resting in God. It is coming to peace with Divine energy, it is being open to receive life and love from God, it is giving thanks and being open to God. Every Sabbath moment is a moment of gratitude, and every moment of gratitude is a moment of love. “If you keep Sabbath, Sabbath will keep you.” What a beautiful and loving invitation for you. I hope your RSVP to the Spirit’s invitation from God will be embraced with curiosity, with faith and trust, and an openness to being loved right where you are in life. Stay awake and alert because we know not the time or place when we have an opportunity to create Sabbath time in our day. God is always there patiently waiting and ready to say, welcome, I missed you…., how would you like to spend our Sabbath time together today? Peace and Blessings as you enter your Sabbath time to come!