Celebrating Sundays and Solemnities
During every Exodus spiritual exercise, one of the disciplines is to celebrate the Lord’s Day. A celebration is also observed on Solemnities and certain major feasts on the Church’s calendar.
Why do we celebrate?
The Lord’s Day is a day of freedom—a weekly reminder that God has freed us from slavery to material things and sin. Sunday should not be like another ordinary day. Every Sunday is made holy by Christ’s Resurrection—we celebrate every Sunday as a little Easter. As Exodus Men, we can reclaim Sundays in true freedom, making them spaces without the oppression of modern pharaohs.
We also celebrate certain important feast days. These special occasions interrupt our routine, inviting us to pause and reflect. These feast days commemorate events in the life of Christ, doctrinal truths, and the births of the saints into heaven. In the early Church, the Christian community would gather to hold a celebration at the graves of the saints on the anniversary of the burial. This was more than a mere remembrance; it was an anticipatory celebration, a foretaste of the joy of resurrection and eternal life.
These are days for the fullness of the Christian life, the worship of God, family life, friendship, and holy leisure.
How do we celebrate?
On these days, your fraternity is permitted to relax one discipline together to remind you of the glory of God and of heaven.
In addition to relaxing a discipline, do something extraordinary—feast on the feast days. The three-fold, most basic formula for a proper feast is food, fellowship, and a meaningful intention to celebrate. Enjoy nature with your family, get coffee with an old friend, or invite your fraternity for a potluck dinner. Whatever you do, honor these feast days as communal days of celebration and festivity by committing to more time for prayer, relationships, and recreation. Feasting is a form of worship because we are composites of body and soul; thus, we give glory to God when we feast.
Keep in mind that holy leisure is almost always active—not passive. Watching movies on a couch is passive and not often an expression of holy leisure. On the other hand, playing catch with your buddies, board games with your wife, or exploring the nearby forest or park with your children are all great expressions of holy leisure. Though these forms of activities take more energy than watching a game or another TV series—when done right—they actually rejuvenate you for the next week far more than simply sitting on the couch. They also give you memories and new gratitude for life to carry with you into the new week.
“Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine,
There’s always laughter and good red wine.
At least I’ve always found it so.
Feasting ≠ Binging
Note that there should also still be moderation. When we feast, we enjoy good things, but we need to be careful so that these good things do not become our masters. After a good feast, you should not wake up hungover or have a bad case of post-feast depression. Rather, you should be well-rested and refreshed.
Be prudent about the discipline you choose to relax. If someone in the fraternity struggles with a dependency on alcohol, avoid choosing alcohol as a fraternity and instead choose to eat a sweet or take a warm shower.
What if a solemnity falls on a Wednesday or Friday?
In addition to relaxing one discipline, you are free from the discipline of fasting on that day as well as the discipline to abstain from meat.
Why can’t we take a break from everything?
The simple answer: because we are human. As much as we are a people living post-Christ’s resurrection, we are still a people longing for heaven. We are still a pilgrim people. We are still Exodus Men, and our lifestyle requires us to remain committed to prayer, asceticism, and fraternity even when we feast.
Just as religious brothers, sisters, and priests don’t ditch their habit and jump into civilian clothes every Sunday or solemnity, neither do we ditch all aspects of a disciplined life.
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