May 20, 2022

Worship and Evangelization Outreach / Cheryl McSweeney

Being intentional about the gift of true sabbath

Cheryl McSweeneyEven as an adult, I get excited about Fridays. The weekend has arrived, and this means that “rest” is in my future. However, I typically fill my weekends with anything but rest. There is yardwork, laundry, cleaning and shopping to do that can’t be done during the week. What I really need is a sabbath day.

What would that look like? It might mean a slow walk through the woods, reading a book while laying in a hammock, perhaps listening to my favorite music while I sit outside by a small pond. No matter what I do, it would be an opportunity to slow down and connect with God. The possibilities are endless.

Merriam Webster dictionary defines sabbath as “a time of rest,” but rest means so many different things to so many people.

During the pandemic, it was as if all we did was rest. We spent so much time at home, in our most comfortable clothes, in a space that we created with familiar items around us to put us at ease. This was great for about a month—until it wasn’t great anymore. I eventually got to a point of missing the “busy” of my life, seeing my extended family, my friends and my co-workers. I missed the hustle and bustle of my work.

Now we are back in full swing at work, which is wonderful, but that means I am not finding the time for sabbath anymore. I have gone from one extreme to another, and I find it difficult to achieve a balance between the two.

Taking time for true sabbath needs to be intentional. I have to say “no” to opportunities to meet with friends, and I must work harder to ensure that I have fulfilled my responsibilities so that I am able to experience sabbath each week.

For me, I would alter the definition of sabbath to read “a time of rest with God.” Spending time with God is the only true sabbath that can be life-giving, refreshing and renewing. We are all called to be intentional about having a true sabbath, but it is not always easy.

Our Lady of Fatima Retreat House in Indianapolis is here to help you with this opportunity. We offer a “day of silence” at least one time each month where you can come to simply be with God in the silence. You are welcome to walk our trails, pray the labyrinth on our property, visit our rosary walk and prayer garden, or spend time praying in our chapel.

We recently redesigned one of the smaller houses that we have on our property to serve as a place for people who are looking for a private retreat space. It has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen, dining area and two sitting rooms. It is appropriately named “The Sabbath House.” It is a beautiful and peaceful place to rest with God.

Being intentional about prioritizing a true sabbath time for yourself is what we are each called to do. We would love to see you at Fatima, but our prayer is that you will find sabbath in whatever way you can.

(Cheryl McSweeney is associate director of operations at Our Lady of Fatima Retreat House in Indianapolis.) †

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