Thursday, July 24

In defense of the ordinary...
(a plain, ordinary reflection from the resident Carmelite-at-heart)

I realize this is a random rant. The timing is not quite right -- nearly the 17th Week of Ordinary Time. Really, this rant would work better the when ordinary time kicks back up after the Easter season.

That is because every year, with the conclusion of the Easter Season, every single American liturgical publishing company (subject for another post entirely..) spends a week or two trying to convince everyone that even though it's "ordinary time," the time is not ordinary! Rejoice! Jubilee! All the time! We call it ordinary, they remind us every year, because of an arcane Latin translation; in fact, every Sunday -- every day! -- is completely extraordinary.

That bit about the translation may be. But, honestly, what is so horribly wrong with being ordinary? Why can't this just be an ordinary Sunday? Everyone is going to treat it as such; so let's just be honest. Next Sunday is the 17th Sunday in completely ordinary, everyday time. Nothing grandly different about that Sunday than most Sundays before or since.

Wanna guess the next time you'll see that printed in your bulletin?

OK. Yeah. So why does this matter?

Let's start off by asking... "What is ordinary, really?" And it seems to me that "the ordinary" is the way God intended most things to be most of the time. I don't think anyone will really disagree. And if that's the case, what does it imply when a nation cannot STAND the ordinary?

Perhaps it implies a lack of trust or recognition of the Goodness of God. If we truly believe that God is Good, and that God loves us, does it not make sense that the most beautiful expression of His creation is the ordinary -- that if He is Good, that He saved the best for the way most things are, most of the time?

Consider the "ordinary means" of Sanctification: the Sacraments -- dios mio! could the Divine have fashioned a more good, more beautiful way of interacting with Fallen Humanity? Or consider the prayer life of the saints. If St. Simion Stock were reading this blog right now (bless me), woud he comment that his most intense prayer experience was his vision of Our Lady handing him the scapular? I rather doubt it -- if Our Lady directly appeared to any of us, let alone with a mandate to spread a devotion world wide, I think we'd be far too shaken and stirred to be excessively contemplative (ever notice how every apparition begins with the assurance, 'Fear not'?). I suspect holy Simion would say his most intimate prayer was during those years he had a morning walk around the monastery hills, or nightly visit to the Blessed Sacrament. Something quite... ordinary. Because the ordinary is the way that God intends for us to realize His presence.

Wait.. am I implying that Your Parish Liturgy Publications & Co often doesn't entirely grasp the point of the Mass? Am I suggesting that they really don't know what a goodly percentage of Catholics come to Mass for? Am I saying that these companies can often lack a sense of the Sacred and a grasp of the Presence of God?

I'll never tell ;)
- Andy (..Rooney?)

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