Summer is upon us and it’s the season that traditionally begins on Memorial Day and ends on Labor Day.
People look forward to holidays, be it Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day. For most, these days are breaks from the regular routine of daily life. They are times to set aside with family and friends to relax and rest awhile.
It’s no wonder then that often unions seek to increase the number of worker’s paid holidays in contracts. Students of all ages look forward to the days off from classes and often pray for snowstorms. Even the federal government, every now and then, increases the number of civil holidays to give workers a day off with pay.
We all seek ways to increase the number of holidays in our busy schedules.
Look at the word holiday itself. It is a variation of the word Holy Day, since it comes from the Holy Days which the Church celebrated and civil governments observed.
The agrarian society looked forward to a day off. As a result, the church not only proclaimed Holy Days of various feasts to honor the saints and certain events in the life of Christ, but these days of rest gave the Christian society a break from the rigors of daily life. On Feast Days, the towns and villages were peaceful; the church bells rang out, and people gathered to celebrate the Holy Day. Little note was taken concerning if it were a Holy Day of Obligation. The people looked forward to Holy Days, for the day off, to pray, to relax, to get in from the labor of the fields.
Vestiges of this remain today. On Ascension Thursday in several European nations, the stock market is closed. During the Communist era, religious Holy Days were converted to secular holidays.
How ironic it is then, that in an age when increases in holidays are sought in union contracts, Holy Days of the Church on weekdays have been diminished. People ask, is a certain feast a Holy Day of Obligation? often with the idea that if it is not obligatory, then no effort will be made to attend church on that feast day.
Rules of attendance on feast days have been relaxed. The number of Obligatory Days has been reduced. Other celebrations, depending when they occur, may be observed on Sundays.
Changes made, supposedly, to accommodate the needs of a changing society.
However, one can argue, that this society may need rest from the everyday hubbub of work once in a while. This society today may need to reflect upon the spiritual side of our lives more than it does. This society would be better with a greater emphasis on the morality that comes to us from God and the Church especially in an age when it is bombarded daily with the secular immorality of man.
The Holy Days of the Church provide such an opportunity for spiritual growth, relaxation, and reflection. Attend the Eucharistic liturgies on the weekday feast days when they are celebrated in your churches. During the summer vacation season, do not take a vacation from God and church attendance.
As Christians, as members of the people of God and the Body of Chrisall of us, together with our families, should set the example to once again make our church Holy Days, the true holidays of our lives.