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Catholic Dictionary




The Jewish day of rest, with elaborate prescriptions for its observance. Failure to observe the Sabbath was one of the principal accusations of the Pharisees against Jesus. It began in Friday night at sundown and ended on Saturday at sundown. No manual labor was done on the Sabbath. This meant complete withdrawal from business and trade interests, and giving oneself to family, friends, and religion. On the preceptive side, the Sabbath was to intensify home life, deepen one's knowledge of religious history and religion, and above all concentrate on prayer and things of the spirit. Already in apostolic times (Acts 20:7) Christians transferred the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week. Moreover, the Catholic understanding of Sunday as a Sabbath (rest) has never been as rigid as that of some Protestant groups, e.g., the Puritans.