A friend recently told me about the letdown he suffers each Pentecost. He sings in his parish choir and so the dramatic liturgical movement from Advent and Christmas and into Lent, the Triduum, and Easter (with a short space between them) keeps him constantly in tune with the rich tapestry of music, symbol and story that are part of these powerful seasons. Moving past Pentecost and into a lengthy season of Ordinary Time thus feels rather mundane.
The word “ordinary” might have something to do with it. It’s not meant in the way we generally define it, i.e. as commonplace or routine. Rather, the name of the season is derived from the word ordinal, meaning “counted,” and refers to the ordering—or numbering—of Sundays. It’s a time to track with the synoptic Gospels of the current year’s cycle, and to listen to the teachings, parables, and life events of Jesus.
Maybe it’s just coming off of a major family event – my daughter’s wedding – but I have looked forward to some “ordinary time.” My summer days have taken on a routine that is pleasant and unhurried. While there is still a lot of work to be done and deadlines to be met, such as this blog, I am able to take care of them while sitting on my front porch, enjoying the birdsong and the warmth of the Colorado air. I recognize that this is a luxury most people can’t enjoy, so I try not to take it for granted. Nevertheless, we all need to step off the treadmill now and then in order to take in the simple pleasures of everyday life.
Sadlier’s Gather in My Name event for Ordinary Time includes the walking of a labyrinth. The practice dates back centuries and was offered by pilgrims as a prayer of penitence as they moved through the circuits on their knees. There’s an outdoor labyrinth not far from our house, and I find it a calming and reflective exercise. I love the fact that the pathways take us to surprising destinations. Even though we think we may be close to the center, we find we are farthest away from it. Such is the nature of Ordinary Time. If we stay on the path and pay attention to what God has to teach us each ordinary day, we may reach the end of the season with some heartening revelations.
Learn more about labyrinths and Ordinary Time with Gather in My Name resources.