Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Grace of Ordinary Time

The Easter season has ended and here we are back in Ordinary Time. I am reminded of the comment made by my friend Patti, busy mother of 11 children and faithful servant of the Church. She let out a long exhale and said, "Ordinary Time. I love Ordinary Time. It's so peaceful." Indeed, it is peaceful. It's not Advent or Christmas. It is not Lent or the joyous season of Easter.  It's ordinary. It is the normal rhythm of our daily lives.

There is a great grace that lies on the days that are high feasts in the Church. But may we never forget that there is grace in the ordinary as well. As Pope Saint John Paul II said, "We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song."

Ordinary time is about sweeping the floor, seeing what we have for dinner, picking up clutter, cleaning the bathroom. Yes, and it is about answering that phone call, sending that card, smiling at that grumpy salesperson, and blessing the person who just cut me off in traffic.

As Saint Philip Neri was quoted in the Meditation of the Day in the May 26th reading in Magnificat:
     A man should not ask tribulations of God presuming on his being able to bear them:  there should be the greatest possible caution in this manner, for he who bears what God sends him daily does not do a small thing.
No, it is not a small thing to bear the minor crosses of everyday life.  How we respond to them represents the stuff of which we are made.  Is there love in our hearts?  What happens when we are pressed, pushed, treated poorly?

The Lord notices when we turn the other cheek, when we respond with kindness when confronted with rudeness. Maybe that person is having a terrible day. Maybe that person needs our smile desperately. Maybe he or she is even approaching despair. In the ordinary experiences of everyday life may we keep the image of Christ ever before us, always imitating him to the best of our abilities.

As Francis Fernandez writes in the meditation for Wednesday of the Eighth week of Ordinary Time in Volume 3 of In Conversation with God:
When we serve someone with a smile and a pleasant manner it is as if our action has acquired an enhanced value, apart from its being all the more appreciated.
...And, in any case let us remember that Christ is a 'good paymaster' and that, when we imitate him, He notices even the accompanying gesture, the smile, the smallest piece of service we have rendered. He looks at us with warm approval and we feel ourselves well rewarded.
Yes, may we seek the "warm approval" of our God!  Let us give always of the love we have received!
From the words of Mother Theresa (as quoted in goodreads.com):
Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.  Be the living expression of God's kindness:  kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.
Ordinary Time is ordinary. It's just another day. But it is the day that the Lord has made, the one in which we are told to rejoice. May it not pass by without our claiming the Hallelujah that is our song!

1 comment:

Mimi said...

We don't call it Ordinary Time, but I completely agree in the blessing of the mundane and the days the Lord has made :)