One of the hallmarks of the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola is summed up in the phrase, “finding God in all things.” Ignatius desired that people find God not only while praying — he believed that God continuously speaks to us. Becoming aware of God’s voice amidst the happenings in our lives is critical to our growth in holiness.
Such a desire is not unique to the Jesuits. Periods of work in monasteries and religious houses are not times when religious take a break from God to do something externally productive. Rather, as they work they are called to grow in awareness of God with them. By doing this, the men and women religious are continually with the one they love.
God desires that everyone come into a relationship with Him. This relationship needs a well-rounded life of prayer with Mass, the sacraments, family prayer, and personal prayer all playing a role in such a life. God’s desire to be with us, as these above examples demonstrate, does not end when we leave prayer. He desires that we continually grow in awareness of Him in our lives. This is the purpose and value of Ordinary Time.
In Latin, the word for ordinary is ordinalis, meaning ruled or ordered. This is quite different than the usual meaning we ascribe to the ordinary being unremarkable. Ordinary Time is, instead, ordered time.
God gives us Ordinary Time to be stewards of the time He has given us. To be good stewards, we need to order our time the way He desires.
This desire is manifested through our continual conversion to be another Christ. Each Sunday, a miracle or teaching from Jesus’ life is offered by the Church to us to meditate on how we are called that week to be another Christ. By practicing the lesson offered that next week, our entire life in time will become more marked by Christ.
The color of the liturgical season gives us direction for how we are to order our Ordinary Time, when clergy primarily wear green to represent life and hope. The Lord is calling us during this time to continual growth in our lives with our eyes fixed on heaven.
Father Mayo is pastor of St. Raphael the Archangel Parish in St. Louis.