Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Out of the Ordinary

Credit: St. Louis Religious Education, Clarkville, MD 
The holidays are over, the children are back to school (well, perhaps there are a few college students still enjoying their break), and we are starting to gather our information for tax returns. Back to the ordinary routine of life.

The Church also begins the period of what is known as Ordinary Time.  Jesus has been baptized, we begin the first period of Ordinary Time in the Church year. It is referred to as ordinary time because it outside the major periods of Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter.

Ordinary time does not need to be "ordinary," and is not somehow a "break" from the Liturgical Year. The opposite is actually true: Ordinary Time celebrates "the mystery of Christ in all its aspects." Many important liturgical celebrations fall during Ordinary Time, including, Trinity, Corpus Christi, All Saints, the Assumption of Mary, and Christ the King. In addition, the Church continues to celebrate Saints days and other events such as The Octave of Christian Unity. The major feasts, when occurring on a Sunday, trump the regular Ordinary Time Sunday lessons and liturgy. In the American Catholic Church, Corpus Christi is usually transferred to a Sunday, so often there are fewer than the 33 or 34 Sundays labeled "Sundays of Ordinary Time," although these Sundays still fall within Ordinary Time. We also may remember and celebrate the parts of Jesus' life that were ordinary, much like our own lives. The color of green is appropriate because it is the most ordinary color in our natural environment.

"Christmas Time and Easter Time highlight the central mysteries of the Paschal Mystery, namely, the incarnation, death on the cross, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, and the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The Sundays and weeks of Ordinary Time, on the other hand, take us through the life of Christ. This is the time of conversion. This is living the life of Christ.

Ordinary Time is a time for growth and maturation, a time in which the mystery of Christ is called to penetrate ever more deeply into history until all things are finally caught up in Christ. The goal, toward which all of history is directed, is represented by the final Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe."

"The Pauline Family … does not have many particulars, special devotions or excessive formalities. What is sought is life in Christ the Master and in the Church."
(Blessed James Alberione)

So, where does that leave us?  How can we make the ‘ordinary’ time extraordinary?

·        Read the Gospels.  To read the Gospels is to unite ourselves to the ordinary life of Christ in all its aspects, his teaching, his charity, his prayer life, his humanity, his divinity.

·         Pray the Rosary.  Every time we pray the Rosary, we accompany Mary on her journey through the life of her Son.  Each mystery of the Rosary is an opportunity to meditate on a particular aspect in the life of Jesus as seen through the eyes of his mother.  She always leads us to her Son.

·         Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  Spending time in front of the Blessed Sacrament, even when you do not know how to pray, are tired, or have no words, provides an intimate moment between you and our Lord.  Not only is it an opportunity for you to offer praise, thanks, prayer, and contrition, but for our Lord to speak to you in the silence.

·         Read the lives of the saints.  We can learn so much from those who have gone before us in faith.  Many of them had some of the same struggles we face; temptation, spiritual desolation, impatience, suffering.  Last spring, I had the opportunity to join a women’s study group on St. Catherine of Siena, an amazing woman whose counsel was sought by popes and peasants alike. 

May your ordinary time from now until Ash Wednesday become extraordinary as you delve more deeply into the life of Christ.

Bernadette Boguski has been a Pauline Cooperator for over 20 years. She is a member of St. Columbkille Parish in ParmaOH, where she serves as a Eucharistic Minister, cantor, and member of the music ministry. Bernadette holds a degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and currently serves as the development director for Womankind, a nonprofit agency providing free prenatal care and support services for pregnant women in need. 

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