After the Second Vatican Council, the liturgical calendar was drastically revamped and reorganized to the format that it now has. Before the council, the Advent and Christmas seasons were directly followed by Lent, Holy Week, Easter, and the Ascension. But after the council, there is now a season that occupies the time between Christmas and Easter: Ordinary Time.
You’ve probably heard the term “ordinary time” at some point, but what is this season all about? What does it stand for? How should we as Catholics seek to maximize our ordinary time? Martha Fernandez-Sardina joined John Morales on Morning Air to answer these questions and speak about the significance of doing ordinary things with extraordinary love.
While ordinary time is an official liturgical season of the Catholic Church, there are some figures within the Church who have spoken out about abolishing ordinary time because of its interruptive nature (its position between Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter) and because it implies that this time in the calendar should be treated as if we are going “back to business as usual.”
“And there’s no time of the year in the Liturgical calendar, in our lives, in this new liturgical year which we inaugurated with Advent, that should be ‘back to business as usual’ because our business should be as Jesus said when He was found in the temple: ‘Am I not to be about My Father’s business? Am I not to be in My Father’s house?’” said Fernandez-Sardina.
To that point, we shouldn’t look to do away with the ordinary time that we have been given between Christmas and Easter. Rather, we should change our perspective about the way that we treat ordinary time. Stop looking at it as a time for complacency or stagnation. Stop looking at the season as a routine period of time. The term “ordinary” is used not to mean “regular” or “normal” but rather to mean the “ordinal” time, the time used to count the weeks.
Just as Advent is a way to prepare for Christmas and Lent is a way to prepare for Lent, ordinary time is a way to prepare us in every other way. Use ordinary time as a personal opportunity to grow deeper in your faith with the feast days, memorials, solemnities, the mysteries of the rosary, and habitual, mental prayer. All of the norms that we mantle during the Lenten and Advent seasons will still be there. Right now, it’s time to train ourselves to bear those signs of love.
Very similar to a group of kids who are returning to school after a summer break to continue learning, we are Catholics returning from a holiday of celebration, ready to learn and grow in our faith. Ordinary time can be if we let it, a period of great development in our spiritual and personal lives. And the most potent way of growing in those areas is to sanctify the ordinary things in our lives.
Because we’re in ordinary time, we’re being given the opportunity to improve in the things that have grown habitual and tedious to us: helping out around the house with chores, responsibilities at your job, schoolwork, or making efforts in your relationships and friendships. Renew, refresh, and make a resolution to do ordinary things with extraordinary things. Go the extra mile, turn the other cheek, and forgive not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
“The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.” (Luke 16:10)
And, as we just celebrated the Baptism of Jesus, it is fitting that in our endeavor to live the season of ordinary time well, we should continue to pursue the ultimate example of Jesus, who “has done all things well.”
“‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’” (Matthew 3:17)
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