Ordinary Time or ordinary time?

We have just left behind one of the most beloved times of our liturgical year, and stepped into Ordinary Time. This actually refers to “ordinal” numbers. However, it is very tempting, especially in January, for me to equate Ordinary with boring. We have just celebrated the birth of the Christ Child. We will soon be preparing for the suffering, death and astounding Resurrection of Christ. Right now, it is just Ordinary Time.

This is actually a gift to us, but we must open this gift. Take a deep breath, relax a little and reflect. Is there something from your Advent prayer that you want to take into the rest of the year? Is there a longing for something you can’t name, that you hope to clarify as you approach Lent and Holy Week?

Writer and Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister tells us that Ordinary Time reminds us that contemplation is the center of the Christian life. In her book, THE LITURGICAL YEAR, THE SPIRALING ADVENTURE OF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE, she speaks of this time as “the place where the mind of Christ and our own come to know one another, where we integrate our concerns in this world by attuning them to the next.” Wow.

For some people (like me), January brings a sense of loss, of “giving up” Advent and Christmas. For others, it might be a time of dreariness if winter is not their favorite season. For gardeners looking out at frozen ground and teachers of wiggly children, it may feel as if spring is a long way off. But with Sister Joan’s words, we see that the liturgical year offers another way to live and appreciate midwinter. I wish you a restful and contemplative Ordinary Time!