Ordinary Time

Ordinary Time

The Christmas Season has come to a close and we are now back in what the Liturgical Year calls “Ordinary Time.” The Christmas decorations have been put away, the trees are gone, the manger sets have been wrapped and stored, the twinkling lights have been put to rest. Everything is back to “normal” ─or back to the ordinary, as some would say.

These few weeks that bless us with “ordinary time” before Lent begins, are an invitation to reflect on all that we just experienced in the birth of Jesus, in the Word made flesh, in God become human. They are an invitation to contemplate the connections that exist between the life of Jesus and our own.

In her book on the liturgical year (The Liturgical Year: the spiraling adventure of the spiritual life), Sister Joan Chittister says it well: “Ordinary Time reminds us that contemplation is the center of the Christian life. It is the place where the mind of Christ and our own come to know one another . . . . we live the life of Jesus day after day until finally one day it becomes our own.”

In this beginning of a new year, in the very time that the Church calls “ordinary,” may we give ourselves some extra time for contemplation. While our resolutions are fresh and our intentions are energized, may we reflect on the reality that Jesus came to show us how to live ordinary days extraordinarily well.

A long time ago I heard it said that the difference between the ordinary and the extraordinary is that “little extra.” Perhaps Ordinary Time is really about that “little extra” ─what we need to do to remain faithful and constant, compassionate and kind; that “little extra” that changes us and transforms the world.

May you know a blessed new year and an extraordinary “Ordinary Time”!

Sister Anne Wambach, OSB, the twenty-first prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Pennsylvania is a native of Philadelphia. She moved to Mount St. Benedict Monastery in 1992 to respond to a desire to experience the monastic way of life. Previously a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Chestnut Hill, Sister Anne began the formal transfer process to the Erie Benedictines in 1993 and made her monastic profession in 1997.

Sister Anne has served the people of the Diocese of Erie as a teacher at St. Gregory's School in North East, Pa., from 1992-1995, and at the Neighborhood Art House in Erie, beginning as program director in 1995 and as executive director since 2005. She served on the Monastic Council from 2006-2010.