By Sarah Damm
But all things should be done decently and in order.
—1 Corinthians 14:40
After 40 days of Lent and 50 days of Easter, we have returned to the season of Ordinary Time. For years, I didn’t welcome Ordinary Time the way I welcomed the other liturgical seasons. The significance of such special seasons as Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter made sense to me. But Ordinary Time? I didn’t know how to welcome and embrace something that is so, well, ordinary.
But recently, I heard a priest explain Ordinary Time in a way that changed my perspective on the longest liturgical season. Ordinary Time comes from the Latin ordinalis, which means “showing order.” Therefore, Ordinary Time is when we as Christians order our lives in relationship to God! Perhaps this isn’t news to you, but a light bulb certainly went on for me! This explanation gave me new insight into this ordinary season that is all about “showing order” in my life.
When I ponder Ordinary Time as the season of order, I think of the Holy Family. For 30 years, Jesus, Mary and Joseph lived a hidden life in Nazareth. Their daily routine included working, cooking, cleaning, laundering, running errands, and other activities that we would call “ordinary,” but that are so similar to what fills most of our days, too. What sets the Holy Family apart and makes them our model is that all of their ordinary activity was ordered in their relationship with God. And this gave their ordinary time abundant purpose.
The Catholic Church gives us the liturgical seasons for very specific reasons. It is easy to understand the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter, because we need periods of fasting, feasting, repentance and celebration. But Ordinary Time is also extremely essential, more so than I ever realized. It provides us with a pretty lengthy timeframe to work on our goals, to-dos and routines. And when we order our days and our time in relationship with God, our life’s purpose becomes anything but ordinary.
How can you order your days in relationship to God? Choose one small thing—pray the Morning Offering each day, meditate on Scripture for five minutes in the afternoon, read a spiritual book in the evening instead of watching TV—and focus on it each day this week. Note how this small act impacts the rest of your day and week.