The Catholic Parish of
Saint John Henry Newman

 Covering most of East Leeds

There is nothing ordinary about Ordinary Time!

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As we send out our latest GOG news to you we are in the 10th week of Ordinary Time. (The definition of the word Ordinary in this context comes from the Latin word Ordo which means order, and the weeks of Ordinary Time are numbered rather than given specific names.) The Roman Catholic Church and many others define Ordinary Time as all the time outside Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter. It comprises 33-34 weeks of the 52 week year, so is actually most of our lives!

We are perhaps back into our routine, after the lows of Lent and the highs of Easter and Pentecost. Most of us spend our daily lives in more middling rhythms and ordinary routines. Writers like Joan Chittister and Margaret Silf write about Ordinary Time emphasising that we can find God in all things and in everyone. This may be difficult if we feel isolated, are currently anxious about our lives, if we or others are ill, or are grieving someone close to us. As we grow older bereavement and illness may be more evident in our daily lives.

However: so is our experience evident, (if not to ourselves, to others), and the wisdom gained from it. Perhaps we have time to notice the small as well as the big things. In no particular order: we may appreciate more the abundant nature around us as it transforms from spring to summer colours, a sunset, a lovely building, the families and children around us (whether we have our own children or not) who are becoming older. We may remember them as babies and now see what they are doing! We may have time to stop and chat, to “sit and stare”, to encourage others, to watch our favourite TV programme, to give and receive everyday support and kindnesses and to appreciate quietly the work of those around us. We are all still working (even if it is not paid work) in our homes, parishes, volunteering in our communities, thinking about the wider world, donating time and money, signing petitions, voting, smiling and talking to others we see every day. If we cannot get out much we can approach the challenges of daily life of getting through the living of the day as work. We can all think and pray about those around us. St Therese of Lisieux wrote about doing small things well, with great love for God and others. In many ways older people can be the binding glue in their community’s daily lives, just as Ordinary Time is the important binding glue in the daily life of the Church’s liturgical year.

So, in our ordinary everyday lives, we never know how significant are our daily tasks and prayers for others. Recently I noticed a person who seemingly cannot hear, move or remember very much these days. She sits and prays most of the time and has the most wonderful smile. Everyone notices her and feels her warmth and encouragement. Daniel O’Leary says “When we see the presence of God in our most ordinary, daily routines, and in the darkness we often experience, then our lives are transformed.” God is in that smile!

Best wishes in Ordinary Time!
Pippa Bonner

This article was re-published with kind permission from Growing Old Grace-fully

Published Tue 14th Jun 2016 12:12:06
Last Modified on Tue 14th Jun 2016 12:12:06

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