By Theodore J. Whapham, Associate Professor, Neuhoff School of Ministry
Date published: Jan 24, 2020
This may sound strange, but when we returned to the liturgical season of ordinary
time earlier this month I said, “Thank God!” The change of season in part brought
about this reaction because the holidays this year were particularly hectic. In part,
this feeling of relief was precipitated by the fact that I have a son on the autism
spectrum who is more manageable when he is in a routine. Perhaps, all I was really
craving was the return of a routine myself.
This got me thinking about the difference between holidays and ordinary time. Holy
days are times when we take a break from our typical routines to celebrate God’s great
acts in salvation history. It seems such a shame that these times when we are supposed
to be more in tune with the sacred, so often become overshadowed by other things.
While these special moments when we are invited to enter into the mysteries of our
faith are essential moments, they can distract us from the power of God’s presence
in the small moments of our life.
St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) founded the Jesuit order and instructed his followers
to go out and “find God in all things.” Similarly, St. Therese of Lisieux (1873-1897)
wrote in her autobiography of her “little way” of living of life devoted to God in
small acts of devotion and service in the ordinary rhythms of her life. Each of these
great saints seemed to be able to recognize something that my autistic son is aware
of intuitively – the daily rhythms and routines of our ordinary lives are imbued with
grace and meaning. Our only challenge is to attune ourselves to the quiet voice of
God that supports us and accompanies us in the joys and sorrows of our daily lives.
So, I am happy for a return to the mundane habits of my ordinary time. I pray that
God will help me to be more closely aligned with his presence and attuned to his word.
I pray that he will accept my small acts of love and service, as meek as they are,
as the best gifts I have to offer.