Work on Sundays...

Alright, so I have a few questions and scenarios on working on Sundays:

Today I planted flowers with my family. It took us about an hour. Since this was a family project, does it count as “work” or just a family activity?

What about volunteer work on Sundays? My common sense says its fine -since your helping someone.

I did help run some errands today for about 45 minutes, but that would be a venial sin, right?
Also, I find shopping to sometimes be enjoyable. If you’re enjoying it, are you still working or just having fun?


My wife and I sometimes disagree about whether gardening on Sundays is considered work. I consider it something fun, enjoyable, and relaxing. Sure, you toil and sweat, but something being physically engaging doesn’t make it work right?

As for volunteering, just remember what Jesus said to the pharisees (I’ll paraphrase), “If you mule falls into a ditch on the Sabbath, wouldn’t you work to get it out?” So in volunteering, you are helping people get out of whatever “ditch” they may be in.

Don’t know what to tell you about running errands. We do that all the time on Sunday because its one of the only chances we have for certain activities. You hvae the right idea bring it up during confession just to have a clean conscience.

In Genesis it says that God rested on the seventh day. I don’t mean to be a sarcastic you know what, but it dosen’t say He went shopping. If someone should happen to need a bit of milk for supper, or a prescription from a drugstore, I don’t have hearburn with it. But the reason all these stores stay open on Sunday is because there are customers coming to buy something. Now if enough people stayed away, then what do you think would happen? But beside that, it is just plain wrong especially when we receive the Eucharist and tell Him we care about Him and then go against his will. We are never justified by the numbers of people. We decide as individuals regardless of the populace.
This is one self denial we need to do because it comes from our heart not from the letter of the law. We talk about abstinence on Fridays, this kind of abstinence on Sunday would be more in accordance with His will because we are turning our minds to Him.
We’ve become accustomed to being loose and the ways of our society are running us over. This may spark some heat, but it should be said. (Then we wonder why the kids aren’t thinking straight.)

The Sabboth -now Sunday due to the Resurrection-- is to be kept Holy. By Holy He means set apart. This is not a day to cathch up on errands, and other worldly things, that you cannot get done during the week. It is a day set aside to commune with the Lord. It is a day to step out of the distracrions of the world and spend time thinking about Him. This is not a day of “No’s” and what you cannot do but a day of “yes” and what you can and should do. We need to set apart time to reflect on Him spend time in prayer and reflection. Sunday is to be dedicated to this. It gives man the fuel to make it through the struggles of the world. Don’t forget, when Moses went to Egypt he did not first ask for their freedom, but for a day of worship. We need to do this for a little bit every day, and all day Sunday. How can someone say they want to spend eternity with Him in Heaven but when given free time here on earth choose things other than Him?

If you’d excuse me, I’d like to remind everyone that I only tagged along when the person was running errands. It kinda just happened, too. I was getting picked up by someone and before they dropped me off, the person had to run errands and it would’ve been inconvenient for them to drop me off and drive back to where they were. I didn’t tell the person not to work today because I didn’t know if our family (a family member was driving me around) needed the groceries and other things. It would also probably irritate the person I asked because it would have been inconvenient, as said earlier, to drive back. Plus, she was most likely only running the errands because it was close to the area I was picked up from.

I did want to stop at a Borders bookstore, though, since they’re going bankrupt (a sad story) and we did, since it was in the area. We didn’t go in with anything particular to buy. Just to say goodbye to the once-popular store. We bought an eReader that was on sale though.

But is 45 minutes of potentially unnecessary work a grave sin? It was mostly just doing errands on our way back home

I honestly have no clue about this. On one hand, I’d say it is a sin. On the other, my friend, who is one of the most devout people I know, went out to eat after mass. If going out to eat, which is causing people to work, is not a sin, I can’t see how shopping would be.

I know that some people disagree with me, but I don’t see how spending 45 minutes in a Borders on a Sunday meets the “grave matter” criterion of being a mortal sin. As you said in your original post, it’s venial at best. If you think you crossed a moral line, confess it. Allow the priest to counsel you about it. Then it won’t matter whether it was mortal and venial.

Yes. I think its venial at most (and I hope). I’m going to confess it anyways, but I don’t know if I can go this week -and I really want to receive communion at mass.

But, according to my examination of conscience sheet, I’ve committed a venial sin. What it takes as mortal is ‘several hours of unnecessary work’ on Sundays

I really wish there was better guidance from the Church on this with explicit examples (at least of the most common questions). There are a variety of opinions on these forums. I think they come from good intentions and an honest attempt to follow the rules of our faith, but they are really all over the place from something being no sin to being a mortal sin.

This is a quote that I found in a post on these forums: CCC 2185 On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are to refrain from engaging in work or activities that hinder the worship owed to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s Day, the performance of the works of mercy, and the appropriate relaxation of mind and body. Family needs or important social service can legitimately excuse from the obligation of Sunday rest. The faithful should see to it that legitimate excuses do not lead to habits prejudicial to religion, family life, and health.

The way I take that is in a much broader interpretation. The way I interpret that is always make Church a priority and attend so don’t do any work that would prevent you from attending (unless you receive dispensation). Also make your family a priority and don’t do things like don’t choose to work on your car instead of taking your child to the park they want to go to. The quote does not say refrain from all work or activities. This really is where I (and I think most) get into the conundrum. If you enjoy the activity, is it not relaxing enough for Sunday? It’s my understanding that mental (and not physical) work is always ok on Sunday, but I can get very stressed doing computer work rather than relaxing in a garden. I also can understand putting off grocery shopping which is not really all that enjoyable, but some people do enjoy just getting out and exploring stores. It’s also my understanding that going out to eat on Sunday is not a sin. However, what makes the waitresses different than a retail worker?

Also, what really constitutes necessary work? A lot can be put off to be done later, but then it just makes all the other days of the week more stressful. For most people, they only have two full days where most of the day is not taken up by paid work and they can catch up on a variety of home tasks and Sunday is one of them. I do think Sunday is a special day and should be treated as such so I don’t think Sundays should be worked away like Saturdays sometimes can be, but I have a lot of difficulty figuring out where the line of too much work is.

Coming from someone who is scrupulous my recommendation is that you’re only going to drive yourself crazy trying to get an answer from these forums. I personally am having difficulty figuring out where to get a trusted source, but I am starting to conclude that anonymous forums just is not the place despite the good intentions of all those that answer. I think talking to a priest about this is the best approach. I think that is the route that I will eventually take, but it’s an internal battle of shyness vs. scrupulousness. :eek:

As I am an older person, as I recall my faith obligations, the obligation to abstain from work applies principally to serville work, work with the hands.

To work unnecessarily two and half to three hours in manual work would be a serious sin.

I was also taught that up to fifteen minutes was ok for about anything.

If it is mental work like being on the PC, drawing, paper work, and so on, it is acceptable. Even this we should be careful not to break the spirit of the law, especially office work.

Could the manual work have been done on Saturday or put off til Monday? Better planning may be necessary.

And if I may add a note of my own. It really bothers me to see anyone cutting their grass on Sunday, creating a great deal of disturbance, and giving bad example to others. I’ve noticed in our neighborhood, when one does it then it seems others copy.
Please resist this temptation for others sake.

Lamb of God, eat this flesh, drink this blood, have life.

newbie9: Two thumbs up on your post. It was very well reasoned and sensible. :thumbsup:

Romans 14

The Danger of Criticism

1 Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. 2 For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. 3 Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let him judge whether they are right or wrong. And with the Lord’s help, they will do what is right and will receive his approval.
5 In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable. 6 Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor him. Those who eat any kind of food do so to honor the Lord, since they give thanks to God before eating. And those who refuse to eat certain foods also want to please the Lord and give thanks to God. 7 For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. 8 If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—to be Lord both of the living and of the dead.

10 So why do you condemn another believer[a]? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For the Scriptures say,

“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bend to me,
and every tongue will confess and give praise to God.**’”

12 Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. 13 So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.

14 I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong. 15 And if another believer is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Don’t let your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died. 16 Then you will not be criticized for doing something you believe is good. 17 For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. 19 So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.

20 Don’t tear apart the work of God over what you eat. Remember, all foods are acceptable, but it is wrong to eat something if it makes another person stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble. 22 You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right. 23 But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.**