I recall a number of years ago hearing a clergy person say that their favourite liturgical season was Ordinary Time, and I was somewhat taken by surprise. I had thought, surely it would be something more exciting, like Holy Week; or even a contemplative season, like Advent!
Now, as I look back, I realize I have come to understand a little better the simple beauty of Ordinary Time. In a practical sense, of course, this is partially because those ‘exciting’ liturgical seasons are often much busier for clerics! But, more than that, Ordinary Time allows us to sink more deeply into the patterns and rhythms of everyday life and appreciate their beauty, as they remind us that God is equally present in our ordinary day-to-day activities as in the liturgy.
In Benedictine practice, prayer is not limited to the liturgy. Even the most menial tasks, done with care and intention, can become a form of prayer; even the humble tools of daily life are blessed and cared for just as are those used for the Eucharist.
I find that Ordinary Time is very good practice to get into this mindset a little more deeply. Without the excitement of special observances, I find I become more conscious of the pattern and flow of the liturgy as well as of my own daily activities; I seem to move a little more slowly and take extra pleasure in the little things.
It isn’t as though one season is better than the other; just the acknowledgement that ‘ordinary’ isn’t simply the absence of something special. It is, rather, discovering that the extraordinary is often hidden in the quieter, more humble things of life.