With the celebration of Easter over, we head back into Ordinary Time in the liturgical calendar. I spend a lot of time thinking about how to celebrate feast days or times of penance, but Ordinary Time can seem harder to engage in with the same fervor.
Sometimes this transition feels like we are setting aside the direction and purpose that filled Lent and Easter, but it actually provides a unique spiritual opportunity we can lean into in common ways. Lately I’ve been taking comfort in some ordinary prayers and reflections for this time that are helping to root my days in this rich liturgical season.
If you’re like me, you may have devoted more time to extra prayers, Scripture or spiritual reading during Lent and Easter. Now that those seasons have passed, I have found myself with a bit of a void. I’ve naturally set down some of the practices I focused on during those seasons, and part of me wants to scramble to find something to fill that space — a new book, another series of prayers, something.
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But before rushing into the next thing, I’ve decided to pause for a bit and give this time over to silence. Silent meditation has always been a goal for my spiritual life, but it is one that takes great discipline and seems to fall to the bottom of the list (you know, after morning prayers, the Rosary, spiritual reading and so on).
By leaving room for silence, we allow our days to be rooted in the graces we have received from participating in liturgical living. We give room to the Holy Spirit who works in us. The Holy Spirit can do way more with our efforts of entering into God’s presence in silence than we can with a book or our own spiritual thoughts. By entering into silence, we reposition ourselves before our Maker, God the Father, and allow his presence to breakthrough into our ordinary lives.
Examination of conscience
I have to admit, I’m not the best at getting through a nightly examination of conscience. The end of the day comes, tiredness sets in, and my pumpkin-like status doesn’t always lend itself to a clear examination. Lately, though, I’ve been finding fruit from spending time with one question at the end of the day: How have I been wasteful today?
My responses and thoughts vary. Sometimes the answer is a practical matter: last week’s leftovers hiding at the back of the fridge to the many disposable items caused by living in the world today. But behind the practical, there have been spiritual answers: the words I wasted in anger or impatience; the time I spent scrolling instead of being present or praying.
I often feel like I struggle with the same sins day in and day out, but viewing my day in terms of waste has provided a different lens: Am I being wasteful of the life God is giving me? Am I being wasteful as opposed to grateful? The reframing is enough to demand reflection, while also staying with me the next day, making a difference for tomorrow’s decisions.
While not every thought that comes to mind would be categorized as sinful per se, this simple question has been reminding me that each day truly is a gift, and I can make a gift of myself to others daily.
God is here, too
Last, as the sun shines longer each day and I find myself tired with the busyness that comes from summer, a simple phrase is the perfect company for Ordinary Time: God is here, too.
God is here, too, as I sit in my living room and the sunlight shines in the window and the birds sing outside. God is here, too, as I plant and tend my garden. God is here, too, as I wash windows and get groceries.
After the fasting and feasting of recent seasons, God is here, too, in our daily lives. This simple thought turns our homes and workplaces, our vehicles and the park into places where we recognize and are open to God’s great love for us. He is here waiting for us to remember his presence and allow him into our hearts and minds. Ordinary Time is the perfect time to root our days in God.