The rhythm of the liturgical seasons reflect the rhythm of life — with its celebrations of anniversaries and its seasons of quiet growth and maturing. For me, the liturgical calendar gives me an annual guide to tell myself and the world the recurring, alive story of the Gospel of Jesus. With each season, we experience the life of Jesus in the light of our own life.
Just as our lives have big days of celebration, so does the Church calendar. Christmas, Easter – these days we know. There are other seasons that are less recognized, yet no less important. The season that follows in our exploration of the calendar is Ordinary Time. This is a time for growth and maturation, a time set aside to ponder mystery. But there’s nothing ordinary about Ordinary Time, as when leaned into, this is a time that focuses on reflecting and celebrating our call to follow Jesus day by day.
Ordinary Time, meaning ordered or numbered time, is celebrated in two segments: from Epiphany to Ash Wednesday; and from Pentecost to the First Sunday of Advent. This makes it the largest season of the Liturgical Year. The color that represents this season is green, the color of hope and new growth.
As I have come to rely more and more on the story of Jesus as told in the Church calendar year, I find that if we as faith participants in the body are to mature in the spiritual life, we have to learn to descend the spiritual mountain peaks of Easter and Christmas in order to dwell and rest and grow in the meadows of Ordinary Time. So often, “spiritual” life equates to emotional highs. Ordinary Time forces us out of the big movements of Church energy into the daily discipline of a formational and grounded faith.
In my first season of Ordinary Time, life was full. Life was preparing me for the coming seasons. In laying the groundwork of spiritual development, Ordinary Time gave me the undergirding to face the future. I believe this was the exact season of contemplation and growth that God ordained for me. The fruit of my contemplation was my connectedness with the world and with the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. You see, this next season was anything but ordinary.