Third Commandment

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The Third Commandment : 

The Third Commandment The third commandment of the Decalogue, [or Ten Commandments] recalls the holiness of the Sabbath: "The seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD. (CCC 2168) From: More real stories for the soul. 2000 (electronic ed.) (57–59). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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Remember to keep holy the LORD'S Day. (Dt. 5:12) In the early days of the Nazi domination of Europe, the British Parliament still insisted on taking their weekends for leisure. Britain’s ruling class left London for their country estates and did not want to be bothered. It created a big problem, because crucial decisions could not be made in crisis because those in authority were not available. Winston Churchill, frustrated beyond words, complained that the British rulers continued, “to take their weekends in the country, while Hitler takes his countries on the weekends.” The Holy Bible : Revised Standard Version Second Catholic edition (2006), with the ecclesiastical approval of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Thomas Nelson Publishing for Ignatius Press.

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I’ve often thought of that when wishing more of our church members would take the Lord’s Day more seriously. According to a recent poll, only 60% of all Christians are in church on any given Sunday. Forty percent are AWOL. When we neglect God’s business on Sundays to pursue our own leisure, it gives Satan a free hand. Our bodies and souls are supposed to work six days and to rest on the seventh. We cannot persistently violate God’s Commandments without breaking down at some point— physically, emotionally, or in family relationships.

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The British statesman William Wilberforce , composer of Amazing Grace, once jotted this in his journal about two political friends who had committed suicide: “With peaceful Sundays, the strings would never have snapped as they did from over-tension.” “Our great-grandparents called it the holy Sabbath,” said one observer. “Our grandparents called it the Lord’s Day.

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Our parents called it Sunday. And we call it the weekend.” Someone else wrote, “One generation called it a holy day; the next, a holiday; to the next, it was a hollow day.” I once heard Leslie Flynn liken the Sabbath to seven unmarried brothers who lived together in a large house. Six went out to work each day but one stayed home. He had the place all lit up when the other six arrived home from work.

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He also had the house warm, and most importantly, had a delicious, full-course dinner ready for his hungry brothers. One day the six brothers decided that the one that had been staying home should go to work. “It’s not fair,” they said, “for the one to stay at home while the others slaved at a job.” Therefore, they made the seventh brother find work outside the home. However, when they all came home the first night, there was no light, nor was there any warmth, and worst of all, there was no hearty dinner awaiting them. Moreover, the next night the same thing: darkness, cold, hunger. They soon went back to their former arrangement.

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“[It’s] the day of rest and worship that keeps the other six bright, warm, and nourishing,” said Flynn. “When we desecrate the Lord’s Day, we only hurt ourselves.”