After Pentecost, we jump back into Ordinary Time within our Liturgical Calendar. In our modern terminology, this may seem as though the name signifies an unimportant period of time, but this is not the case at all. The name originates from the Latin ordinalis, which means numbered (think: “ordinal numbers”). Within our year, Ordinary Time falls first between Christmas and Lent, and then continues from Easter to Advent. As the name hints, the weeks are numbered, with 34 weeks in all. Because we are in our second segment of Ordinary Time following Pentecost, instead of beginning at Week 1, we continue with Week 10.
Ordinary Time is the longest season on our Liturgical Calendar. With so many activities and traditions surrounding the other seasons, it is easy to let this time fall through the cracks in an uneventful kind of way. This is not, however, how it is intended in the least. Ordinary time is instead meant to be a time of growth and watchfulness. It is meant to be the time that we get to know Jesus; that we get to soak in the “in between” story of His time on Earth, His teachings, and His miracles.
I can’t help but relate this to the seasons in my own life. As a mom that always has a to-do list that is growing exponentially faster than I can check things off, it is extremely easy for me to get caught up in that. It’s not uncommon for me to be lost in thought organizing priorities, planning for that next holiday, birthday, or vacation. But if I am not careful, I can spend all my time planning the details of what I will do for that next special day, without realizing that today is a precious day, and a gift, that I can use to grow closer to the Lord and I get to spend with my family.
With young children especially, there is something spectacularly wonderful about the simplest of “in between” moments. The twinkle in their eye from watching an ant walk across a tile or watching the plane fly overhead is absolutely contagious… if our hearts are in the moment with them. If I am to busy or preoccupied, then the moment with pass, completely uneventfully. And I will have missed that precious gift entirely.
This is exactly what I like to imagine with Ordinary Time. In this season, I have the beautiful opportunity to walk alongside Christ through the stories of the Gospels. There is so much to the story between His birth and His death, and I will miss it if I am too preoccupied to bring my heart into the moment. The opportunity of this precious day, this special moment, will pass me by.
As a family, there are so many ways to bring Ordinary Time to life in our homes. Getting familiar with the Gospels is a great place to begin. Plan activities around each Sunday’s Gospel or the daily readings. Discuss their lessons as a family, or have the kids act some of the stories out and then explain them. Projects and crafts around the monthly devotions (June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart, for example), and celebrating the feast days with a special recipe from a saint’s country. Serving others in simple, ordinary moments is another wonderful activity or lesson within a family, and as always family prayer.
It isn’t necessary to do them all at once, or even to do them all! The key is to truly bring our hearts in and be intentional about the “in between” little moments that can bring the extraordinary into our Ordinary Time.
May we jump whole-heartedly into this Ordinary season, and may we use it to encounter the extraordinary as a family.
Saint Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us.
Mary, our Good Mother, pray for us.