Thursday, January 25, 2007

Ordinary Time

In, "The Catholic Home", after defining the church year as a "temporal cycle [which] follows an unbroken succession of seasons commemorating events and mysteries of faith organized around the birth, life, death, and ressurection of Jesus the Christ", Meredith Gould describes the first Ordinary time - the time between Epiphany and Lent, the time we're in now - as:
Weeks between the Baptism of the Lord and Lent providing time to contemplate and live the lessons of Christmas and to prepare for Lent.
In some ways, I feel like I've started this blog at an odd time, given the subject matter. I started it just before Ephiphany, right before a long stretch of Ordinary Time, in between the great feast seasons.

Except that most of the year is Ordinary Time, the time when we count (in numbers, ordinals) the Sundays since the last great feast. Most of our lives are ordinary time, counted after great celebrations, like weddings and births. Whenever you say, "I'm thirty," you're saying, "This is the thirtieth year since my birth," in the same way that the hymn board might say, "3rd Sunday after Epiphany."

And it's a green time. I think of Pentecost as the long, green season of the Holy Spirit, a phrase I'm almost positive I read somewhere, but that seems so precisely descriptive that I can't remember where it was I first came across it.

I tend to think of Ordinary Time as the Church's season, the season after Christ has come and gone, and has yet to return, after the Holy Spirit has come, and stayed. The time when we're supposed to work out the salvation that has come to us, and work it out in fear and trembling, and in work, because it is Christ who works in us.

I know that the "ordinary" in Ordinary Time doesn't mean "normal", but I still can't help but think of it that way. And to us, "normal" is a life infused with the light of God, because He did come, and did die and rise and will come again, and yet is with us. With us in the middle of work, of play, of everything. So even saying, "It's January 25th, 2007" is saying, "It's the 2007th January 25th since Christ came." The year of our Lord, 2007, as they used to say.

Normal time, ordinary time - and Ordinary Time - is a time of life lived in the presence of God. Praise God that that's what normal is, when we are His!

peace of Christ to you,

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