Starting Point
This week's stories | Home Page
Issue Date:  November 10, 2006

Starting Point


I usually don’t look forward to phone calls at 6 a.m., but today I did. The voice on the other end said, “Snow day. School’s cancelled.” A smile crossed my face as I rolled back into my pillow and drifted off to sleep for another hour.

When I woke up, I looked outside. Mother Nature had pulled a white blanket up over herself. Everything seemed to be at peace.

It was a winter’s sabbath. A day to stop and be still. Unlike God who rested and reveled in the goodness of creation (Genesis 2:3), however, I often appear unable or unwilling to do so. Even when offered, I tell myself I need to keep busy either to catch up or not fall behind.

My thoughts quickly were tinged with regret. How am I going to make up for this lost day of class? Well, at least, I’ll be able to grade some papers or plan lessons.

In the midst of this situation, my son Brendan emerged. He wanted to play outside. We bundled up and went outside. Soon we were shoveling the driveway (he liked it!), playing in the snow, and sledding.

Though I was tempted to do other things, Brendan led me to a winter’s sabbath, to a day of rest and relaxation. Rather than be consumed by work and activity, I was able to stop and catch my breath. Following Brendan’s example, I opened myself to the present moment. I wasn’t thinking back or ahead. I was just having fun.

It is said that Voltaire, the famous French philosopher, once quipped, “If you want to kill Christianity, you must abolish Sunday.” In like-minded way, if you want to kill the human person, abolish the sabbath.

It would appear that we’re close to achieving this goal. Still, though, nature offers us moments when we’re able to ask ourselves who we truly are: Are we workaholic, consumerist drones or sons and daughters of the living God?

How we need winter’s sabbath.

Mike Daley teaches at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati.

National Catholic Reporter, November 10, 2006

This Week's Stories | Home Page | Top of Page
Copyright  © The National Catholic Reporter Publishing  Company, 115 E. Armour Blvd., Kansas City, MO   64111
All rights reserved.
TEL:  816-531-0538     FAX:  1-816-968-2280   Send comments about this Web site to: