Come Holy Spirit in Ordinary Time
Last I had the pleasure of writing to you we were in the midst of the Christmas Season celebrating the Birth of the Savior and the Gift of His Most Blessed Mother. Now we are in the midst of Ordinary Time with Lent looming on the horizon- only two Sundays away! Ordinary Time. Such a strange way to describe this season in the Church…strange only if you take the word at its secular definition. The word ordinary evokes thoughts of the usual, the regular, the normal way of things, the uneventful, the uninteresting, the less than extraordinary. You might even go so far as to say dull and boring! However, in the vernacular of the Church the word ordinary, while still ringing true with the webster’s dictionary definition, has a meaning that runs so much deeper.
This concept of words taking on a different, deeper meaning struck me while reading the Catechism. In paragraph 251, the authors of the catechism write, “In order to articulate the dogma of the Trinity, the Church has to develop its own terminology…In doing this she did not submit the faith to human wisdom but gave a new and unprecedented meaning to these terms which from then on would be used to signify an ineffable mystery, “infinitely beyond all that we can humanly understand.” The Church uses natural language and assigns to it “new and unprecedented meaning” to describe, explain, and unpack supernatural things and persons. In this way, she brings to life the hidden realities of the supernatural life in which we are all called to participate so that we may not only live but live abundantly. This paragraph speaks to the articulation of the Blessed Trinity, but this practice is applied to much of the Church’s articulation of Christ’s teachings.
There is a connection, I promise. Ordinary Time…its deeper meaning…yes that is it. This time is a “back to the usual, the regular, the normal way of life,” but it is by no means uneventful, uninteresting or less than extraordinary. For the Baptized person the usual, the regular, the normal way of life is, by virtues of our Baptism, eventful, interesting, and extraordinary. We are in friendship with God, Sons and Daughters of the King, and members of the Mystical Body of Christ. Extraordinary, no?
For the Disciple of Christ that means engaging in usual prayer and reading of Holy Scripture, regular reception of the Sacraments, and the normal routine of living the virtues in our daily lives. Talking to God and reading the Word of God, communing with God, receiving His forgiveness in Reconciliation, attending weekly mass (a daily mass, when possible), practicing family devotions such as the Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and Eucharistic Adoration…every single one of these is extraordinary. Holy Mother Church gives us Ordinary Time to bring our attention to the extraordinary nature of our supernatural life in the Church. A time to GROW closer to Christ through these practices, many of which we strive to make part of our usual, regular, normal routine. This is why green is the color of Ordinary Time, a time to grow our relationship with Christ.
This past weekend 24 of our parishioners (participants and chaperones included) experienced the extraordinary when they went on retreat to the Franciscan Retreat Center in DeWitt, MI. This retreat kicked off their preparation of the sacrament of Confirmation. The Lumen Christi bus took off from the parish parking lot at about 5:45 pm Friday evening taking on the snow and wintery road conditions. From 7:00 pm Friday evening to 12:00 noon on Sunday there was a packed schedule of activities including icebreakers, praise and worship, testimonials, teaching sessions on the Kerygma (the Father’s love, Original Sin, Rescue by Jesus, and our Response), small group discussions, as well as free time. When participants were given the opportunity to share with the group about their experience over the course of the weekend there were three common themes: 1) many were less than thrilled to be there, some outright not happy about it, 2) the turning point for them was taking the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, 3) the Saturday night Adoration was an extraordinary and personal encounter with Christ. Praise our Good God, for He is Good…All the time! If you know some of our young parishioners who are preparing for Confirmation, ask them about their retreat, you will not be disappointed. They had an extraordinary experience during Ordinary Time. Our God is Extraordinary and with Him so should be your life. On behalf of our Confirmation candidates, I ask for your prayers. We will be meeting on the 4th Sunday of the month from 3:30 PM and ending with the 5:00 PM Liturgy beginning in February and continuing through September with Confirmation planned in October. Come, Holy Spirit in Ordinary Time!