Pope Francis: His Life in His Own Words is now out in bookstores. No sooner had the ‘habemus’ smoke hit the air than this book must’ve hit the press. It’s amazing how quickly the Catholic Church turn such a publication around. If it was the United Methodist Church, the book would be stuck in committee for a quadrennium.
The book is a collection of interviews with Pope Francis when he was still known by his first name, ‘Cardinal.’ One of the interesting notes in the book is Francis’ stress on the importance of rest as a Christian practice in need of recovery.
“Together with a culture of work, there must be a culture of leisure as gratification. To put it another way: people who work must take the time to relax, to be with their families, to enjoy themselves, read, listen to music, play a sport. But this is being destroyed, in large part, by the elimination of the Sabbath rest day. More and more people work on Sundays as a consequence of the competitiveness imposed by a consumer society.”
In such cases, he concludes, “work ends up dehumanizing people.”
In other words, it’s not simply about how you
observe don’t observe the Sabbath, it’s about how your refusal to obey the commandment contributes to a system wherein workers, who may wish to observe the Sabbath, are forced to a punch a clock when they should be chillaxing in the grace of God.
Mark Oppenheimer who writes about the book in the NY Times adds this comment:
“Catholic social teaching is known for promoting the idea that workers deserve dignity, which includes rest. But Pope Francis seems to be saying something more: that an authentically Christian life includes a proper dose of leisure and family time.”
The article, which is worth a read, is here.