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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Catholic Ordinary Time

Oh the green of Ordinary Time. For non-Catholics that may not make any sense, but Catholics know what I am referring to. I'd like to share some thoughts on Ordinary Time today. Personally, I love Ordinary Time. Many people can't wait for Advent and Lent etc., and I too love those times of year, but for me I worship best in church during Ordinary Time. There are not so many distractions during Ordinary Time- maybe I have a short attention span or something. During Advent it's often hard to set aside all the hype over the season and focus on why we even have an Advent season. That's not to say I don't get the warm fuzzies and excitement of Advent, I do. But I also know myself well enough to know that I am not as focused at mass during these times as I am during Ordinary Time. I belong to a small parish church with many members (that is to say our church is small but our membership is not). Most of these folks don't always attend a weekly Sunday mass during Ordinary Time, but come on the holidays. When this happens people are standing OUTSIDE listening to mass because there are just no seats for them. Clearly my parish needs to expand our church, but that is getting away from my thoughts on Ordinary Time. I have divided feelings over some of these Catholics who show up only for Christmas and Easter. On the one hand, I am pleased that they still attend mass and know how important Advent, Lent and Easter (etc) are. On the other hand... I can't help but wonder (yeah it's none of my business I know and I am not judging them as I don't know their lives, but I can't help but wonder...) why they don't feel the desire and need to attend mass all year? Or for whatever reason they have. Maybe it's because I am a convert and still often feel overwhelmed with the joy of finally being Catholic and able to participate in the Sacraments. And it's not just me, even my kids love the sacraments and will often argue on the way to Penance (Confession) who gets to confess first (thus giving them something else to confess)! We love our faith and our Church and all it's Sacraments. I just can't seem to understand some Catholics who only go to mass for "special" holy days and not during Ordinary Time. I know several parents in my parish who only attend mass during their children's time in Religious Education classes (AKA: 'Confraternity of Christian Doctrine or 'CCD' as it's better known). I think they are missing out on the specialness of mass during Ordinary Time. I love the holy days, don't get me wrong, but there is something special to me about Ordinary Time. I absolutely love late spring thru summer in my parish. There is a sense of completeness after Lent and Easter and the children's First Holy Communion. All the hustle and bustle is behind us for a while. This is when I can really deepen my prayer life and enjoy mass to the fullest without distractions. Just the parking alone during Advent or Easter is a distraction in my parish, not to mention the attempt to find a seat for yourself and your children! If you are parking half a mile down the street because your parish parking lot is over flowing and you have to hike to mass, then stand against a wall or outside in the cold because there are no seats left, how much are you able to put that aside and really focus on God and worship? For me, not very much. I know some people probably have no problems with that, but for me it's a distraction and mass is too important to me, to be distracted like that. So admittedly, I often get frustrated with myself for not putting these type of things aside and giving my all at mass as I should. Something I clearly have to work on. So Ordinary Time is a welcome time for me and my family as they seem to share a few of my views on this. So I hope those Catholics who don't attend weekly mass during Ordinary Time will come back to the Church and enjoy mass during a more peaceful, less stressful time of year. Come to mass during Ordinary Time and see what you've been missing!

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