It’s the long stretch to Advent. Ordinary Time takes up half of the year, and I find it the most difficult to celebrate. The other seasons have specified traditions and pass quickly (well, maybe not Lent), and then there’s just months of green and parables and an occasional feast day.
While churches have opened up here, I have been hesitant to return. It’s still too many people for my comfort, especially as cases are spiking. So I’m left to my domestic church of one, trying to maintain a rhythm to my prayer life without the pulse of a community helping along.
The Church has no shortage of suggestions on how to pray; one thing I love about the Church is her full toolbox of various devotions, something to help everyone. I’m not a regular rosary pray-er, but I like the chaplet of divine mercy. I struggle to do morning prayer each day, but lately I’ve been praying evening prayer. I won’t go back to the adoration chapel yet, but I have plenty of spiritual books. It’s the discipline and routine I have to supply on my own, and, like Lysol wipes, they are hard to come by these days.
Yet Ordinary Time gets its name because it is orderly. It is a time for spiritual growth. Without the focus of holidays and short seasons, you can slow down—to go deeper, not stop. A full half of the year to keep the faith at the steady pace; it is a practice of discipline of routine.
The readings focus on Jesus’ ministry, but also, as it follows Pentecost, the season reflects the growth of the Church. We are the Church, still growing, currently between the Ascension and the Second Coming. What will we do with that time? Will we be ready for Christ the King (Sunday)?
So much of this time is spent in uncertainty. What are the new numbers? When can we gather with friends? What’s the best time to go to the store? How will life look in November? It’s easy to hide away at home, bury my head from the news, and retreat into books or movies or other distractions. And some days that’s needed self-care. But I can’t do that indefinitely. Life has to go on. Living needs purpose. It needs order.
This time may look different than it did last year or 10 years ago. I hope it looks different next year. Ordinary Time is less about annual traditions and seasonal devotions and more about attitude. Be discipline and keep the routine. Integrate faith into daily living. Hold on.