Monday, January 14, 2013

Ordinary Time...

I love Ordinary Time.

I love the time in between festivals and feast days and holy days - outside of holiday time, if you will.   It could perhaps even be called regular time for me.  Just coming out of Christmastide, I can see how disintegrated my thoughts van become, my posts demonstrate that.  Too much levity, humor that gets just a little too cutting, sarcastic, or just too critical.  Today's Gospel opens Ordinary Time with, "Repent, and believe in the Gospel!"  What a wonderful invitation!  "If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts!"

The liturgical meaning of Ordinary Time.
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 greatness of Ordinary Time.
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 once 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
 Some people have lamented the term as if it somehow denigrates the liturgical season outside of Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter season. Interestingly many people who dislike the term also seem to object to the Ordinary Form of Mass - preferring the traditional Latin Mass, or Extraordinary Form instead.

The ordinary, or little way.

Ordinary, normal life is the basis for sanctity - Christ lived most of his ordinary life in normal circumstances - so unremarkable there wasn't even anything to write about. The Roman Catholic Church does NOT place heavy demands upon the faithful. We are simply expected to keep the commandments, including the precepts of the Church: Go to Mass on Sunday, fulfill what used to be called our Easter duty - communion (confession recommended) at least once a year, say our morning and evening prayers, observe the rules of fast and abstinence - there aren't many, support the Church and her mission, love one another, give alms, and so on. You don't have to know or follow every utterance the Pope makes at a Wednesday audience, or put into practice every ideal he recommends in an interview. You don't have to believe in or follow what mystics and apparitions tell you to do. You don't have to wear chapel veils or walk around town staring at the street lest you see some bag of flesh wiggling itself in your face. You don't have to know or even like Latin. 

If you're married - stay married. If you're single - stay chaste. If your right hand causes you to sin, then stop using it for that. If you like to drink and get drunk - either don't drink so much or don't drink at all. In other words, use common sense.

If you aren't attracted to Eucharistic adoration, then visit the Blessed Sacrament in a church or chapel which doesn't have adoration.  Stay longer after communion and adore him in your soul.  Pray at home with the scriptures or something. If you don't go to daily Mass, it's not a sin. If you have a hard time praying the Rosary, then pray the Angelus or pray the Little Office or some Marian prayer you do find you are able to pray.

Anything done out of love is important, however small it might appear. God has come to us, even though we are miserable creatures, and he has told us that he loves us: “My delight is to be among the sons of men.” Our Lord tells us that everything is valuable — those actions which from a human point of view we regard as extraordinary and those which seem unimportant. Nothing is wasted. No man is worthless to God. All of us are called to share the kingdom of heaven — each with his own vocation: in his home, his work, his civic duties and the exercise of his rights. - Christ Is Passing By, JoseMaria Escriva


Christ came to call and save sinners... ordinary people.

Art: Annunciation, Collier


  1. I must admit that while I have preferred the old way of referring to "Ordinary Time" in reference to Epiphany and Pentecost, you really made me rethink it with your thoughtful post. Thank you. I just hope that the Church can find a way to unify the Calendar and restore some of what was lost, like Ember Days, but that's another subject.

  2. I love Ordinary Time, too. Holidays/festival seasons wear me out.

  3. Moi aussi. When I was raising my children ordinary days were a great blessing. They were filled with lovely routine. Special times are wonderful (I still have my Christmas tree and Nativity up), but Ordinary Time has its own delightful pleasures: doing daily tasks, "redding up" as my West Virginia mother-in-law always said. O.T. is peaceful.


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.