See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ordinary Time



What it means officially.
.

The Latin Tempus Per Annum ("time throughout the year") is rendered into English as "Ordinary Time." Many sources, online and in print, suggest that Ordinary Time gets its name from the word ordinal, meaning "numbered," since the Sundays of Ordinary Time, as in other seasons, are expressed numerically. However, others suggest the etymology of "Ordinary Time" is related to our word "ordinary" (which itself has a connotation of time and order, derived from the Latin word ordo). Ordinary Time occurs outside of other liturgical time periods, periods in which specific aspects of the mystery of Christ are celebrated. According to The General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, the days of Ordinary Time, especially the Sundays, "are devoted to the mystery of Christ in all its aspects."

Ordinary Time encompasses that part of the Christian year that does not fall within the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, or Easter. The Catholic Church celebrates two periods of the year as Ordinary Time. The first period begins after the Feast Baptism of the Lord (the Sunday after The Epiphany) has ended. Some interpret this to mean that Ordinary Time begins on Sunday night, while others, including The General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, specifically mention the first period of Ordinary Time beginning on the Monday after the Baptism of the Lord. Either way, the point is the same. The next Sunday is still reckoned "The Second Sunday in Ordinary Time," because it is the Sunday of the second week in Ordinary Time. The reckoning can be confusing, and has many asking "what happened to the first Sunday in Ordinary Time?" This first period of Ordinary Time runs until the Tuesday evening before Ash Wednesday. The Second period of Ordinary Time runs from the Monday after Pentecost until Evening Prayer is said the night before Advent begins. This includes Christ the King Sunday, the final Sunday of Ordinary Time. In some denominations, the Sundays of the second period of Ordinary Time are numbered "Sundays After Pentecost." - Source

Some thoughts.
.

It seems to me many traditional liturgists hate the term Ordinary Time used to designate the liturgical season outside Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Paschaltide.  Other Catholics, including some priests think of it as a sort of boring season.  In fact my pastor just described it as a time to prepare for Lent.  As we know, Lent is a time to prepare for Easter.  With that type of thinking, one lives one's life in perpetual anticipation of another more colorful and fulfilling period of time, thus missing the present moment.  Others may disagree, but I think Ordinary Time is a wonderful time to appreciate what St. Jose-Maria Escriva calls  "the greatness of ordinary life"
.
Let me stress this point: it is in the simplicity of your ordinary work, in the monotonous details of each day, that you have to find the secret, which is hidden from so many, of something great and new: Love. - Furrow, 489

So many of us today seem to be afraid of the ordinary - we refuse to be ordinary.  So many today focus their lives, their ambitions on what is extraordinary; in lifestyle, career, entertainment, and even in one's spirituality.  We tend to forget that the majority of Christ's time on earth was spent in obscurity, living an ordinary life.  The essence of the spiritual life is found in the most ordinary - fidelity to one's duty in one's state in life.  It is the teaching of the saints, the way of abandonment to Divine Providence, described by de Caussade.  It is the little way laid out by Therese of Lisieux.  And to be sure, ever since the days of St. Anthony of Egypt, whose feast we observe today, it is what comprises monastic life.  The Christian prepares for eternal life doing the ordinary in ordinary time.
.
Good and faithful servants.
.
All too often I've been critical of monks and nuns and contemporary religious life, questioning observance and fidelity to rules and charisms, and so on.  I have come to understand that even in the worst religious house, the religious who live there, persevering day in and day out - no matter if they are in active apostolates or live a contemplative life, these folks are much better than I could ever hope to be.  Why?  Because they are faithful to the ordinary duties of their state in life, patiently enduring, persevering in their vocation - day in and day out.  Ordinary life, in ordinary time is more important than we know.

7 comments:

  1. hallo Terry! Is the icon of saint Antony your painting?

    ReplyDelete
  2. ordinary time is my favorite for the very reason you mention: it's "ordinary." yet it's difficult to be faithful to the ordinary, isn't it. we're culturally conditioned to consume and want more; always looking for the next thing, exciting thing, shiny thing, etc. in my vocational discernment, my prayer is becoming simpler: "Lord, give me the grace to know and do Your Will, and the grace to be faithful to the daily, as well as my baptismal vows." if i'm called to the religious life, i'll know when. and how. for now, to be faithful to my secular job and familial responsibilities is His Will.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good post. I know after Lent and Easter (as much as I love them) I am always glad to go back to Ordinary time.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nice post.

    following and supporting.

    http://illuminatinwo.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. I too like Ordinary Time...I can relax, calm down from the frenzy of the holidays, and turn to offering up my daily chores and duties, and see the grace and beauty in them. Good time to practice The Little Way, and try to do my good deed for the day..in lots of ways my work life gets MORE hectic after the Christmas/New Year as many coworkers were on well-deserved vacation...now time to get caught up on reports, paperwork needing signed, items ordered, meetings held, etc.

    Sara

    ReplyDelete
  6. P.S. Saw the Carl Bloch exhibit at BYU today...absolutely STUNNING!! The altar pieces expecially....and they had iPads you could sign out to give a good interpretation of the paintings. I am fulfilling my New Year's Resolution of goign to more art exhibits.

    Too bad people couldn't keep from touching them...I was surprised that there weren't guards to remind people to keep their hands OFF the artwork...they will be ruined in no time...

    Sara

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Father - yes - I painted the icon many years ago. It is in an American Trappistine monastery of nuns today.

    ReplyDelete


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.