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By Kristina Beer, Franciscan University of Steubenville
If you didn’t do homework on Sunday, what would happen? You may assume you’d fall behind in your classes, but I bet you’d better invest your time during the school week. It’s psychological: with a designated amount of time to complete tasks, our brain motivates us to be timely. Basically, if we wait ‘til the last minute, it only takes a minute! People rationalize procrastination, claiming to “perform better under pressure,” which works because determination roots itself in a cause. However, procrastination delays duties; whereas deadlines discipline us, and rest increases effectiveness. Perhaps, this is why God established the Sabbath Day.
Jesus proclaims, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mk 2:27). Sunday is set apart. Constantly working is unnatural, unhealthy, and actually robotic. We aren’t machines. We don’t just function. And our value does not come from what we do but from who we are. Sundays remind us of this. We are human beings, not human doings. Once a week, God wants to remind us of this reality. When we invest our time well, He multiplies it. Never outdone in generosity, God dispels the irrational race against time, harmonizing duties and time. Since the Fall, man either despises work or idolizes it, but while work glorifies Him, workaholism doesn’t. Work contains inherent goodness, it isn’t everything; Self-discipline frees us to rest and work at proper times .
Here on campus, my daily routine of Mass, prayer, and tasks diminishes Sunday’s distinctiveness. I love structured, productive weeks, but something must distinguish Sunday from being “a catch-up” homework day: HomeWORK is still work. Since I’m a full-time student, not a full-time employee, I view school as my job (and main source of stress). Working towards burnout leads to “Study Sundays,” not restful days. Slowing down actually reflects virtue; balanced souls rest peacefully. Sundays refresh us, restoring our souls so we can better love and serve God. So, I stopped doing homework on Sundays because I need to.
Now, my Sundays truly are a taste of Heaven on earth. I prioritize the things I never give myself time to do. Work is sacred and necessary, but so is rest. Maybe my proposal scandalizes or terrifies you, but responsibility complements spontaneity. I don’t know your life circumstances—so don’t neglect your obligations—just remember the obligation to rest too. God’s word is not void. He meant it when He said to “honor the Lord’s Day.” It’s life-changing.
Does Sunday need to be your crunch time or rest time? Beyond going to Mass, find something you love, and make time to do it. Set Sunday apart! Sleep in, make art, call someone, don’t be in a rush… Start small, and build up the habit of rest. Rest requires discipline too, but it enlivens us. Go be a saint, and just do your homework when you’re supposed to: “To every thing, there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven” (Eccl 3:1).
“There is nothing so precious as a disciplined soul” (Sir 26:14).