I'm sure that I've mentioned before that I absolutely *love* the Church's liturgical calendar, and following along with the different liturgical seasons. Right now, we're in "Ordinary Time," and in the past, the name always made me feel a bit ho hum. You know, Christmas is over, Lent hasn't started yet, so we're just filling in the gap. The priest wears green vestments, and there are no special flowers or decorations at the church right now.
Well. I couldn't have been more wrong. :) And, as ever, I'm grateful that I teach Children's Liturgy of the Word and have the opportunity to learn new things about my faith along with the children.
This morning I was on the very quiet reference desk, and so pulled out my preparation sheets for this Sunday, the fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time. There's always an introduction for the catechist to the readings for that day plus some background on the current liturgical season. And here's where it gets interesting. At least for me. :)
The sheet notes that the word "ordinary," as used to denote liturgical time, does not mean "commonplace." The original meaning of the word was a person occupying a high office, and thus indicates a loftiness of rank. As well:
"Ordinary time is that grouping of Sundays lying between the great Incarnational observances of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, and the great Resurrection observances of Lent, Easter and Pentecost. After the feasts and fasts of these two great centers of our lives, ordinary time provides us with an opportunity to take a more detailed look at our spiritual life and its underpinnings. Having just celebrated the Incarnation, we now turn our attention, during the next four weeks, to how it is that the Christ, born in us at Christmas, lives in us, and we in Christ. Who is Jesus, and what does Jesus mean to me? These are the questions for post-Christmas ordinary time. But these are not ordinary questions."
I loved, loved, loved this explanation. And for the past couple of years, I have indeed felt more of a significance to Ordinary Time. It's a time for reflection and preparation for the major feasts of the Church. How are the major events of our faith, and our day-to-day relationship with Jesus, impacting our everyday lives? And so the above explanation for this next month in particular really resonated with me.
As I drove into work this morning, I was thinking about Lent coming up next month. I love Lent. And this year, I don't want to be caught unprepared for how I want to approach that 6 week period. I'm planning a time of spiritual reading that I'll write more about in a separate post, and I'm very excited about it.
Excited about Lent = weird? Not sure, but it is noteworthy. :)