Is it okay to clean my house on Sunday?

My mom gets mad when I vacuum or clean on Sunday. I actually enjoy cleaning. Since I stay at home and don’t work outside the house, she says that qualifies as “work” and is irreverent. When my home is clean, I feel at peace, so it gives me joy to create a safe and peaceful place for my family to spend time. I don’t miss Mass because I’m cleaning, I’m not sweating at a job I don’t like … and to be honest, I’d rather pick up than rest and relax, because I can’t relax when there’s stuff everywhere! Wouldn’t ‘work’ be defined as for profit or something you wouldn’t want to do if you had the option?

The command to rest from servile labor does not mean that one must cease productive activity. The idea that Sunday rest means the cessation of activity is actually a Protestant understanding that was particularly prevelant in America from colonial times to the mid-20th century.

So long as you meet your Sunday Mass obligation and so long as you do your best to treat Sunday as a holy day because it memorializes the Lord’s Resurrection, you are fulfilling the requirement to honor Sunday. If cleaning your house adds to the specialness of the day, it is certainly not forbidden. Indeed, if you can offer up your work as prayer, then the work itself becomes a prayer that befits the holiness of the day. As St. Therese of Lisieux once said “To pick up a pin through love [for the Lord] could convert a soul.”

Recommended reading:

Dies Domini by John Paul II

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