Fine art of Christian living
It doesn’t take a lot of living to realize that life is more than simply a series of highs and lows. By and large, existence as we know it is not a display of moments marked either by excitement or despair, by dazzling hope or formidable tragedy. It is, in fact, basically routine. Largely uneventful. Essentially predictable. Life is, by and large, more commonplace than exciting, more customary than electrifying, more usual than unusual.
It is what we do routinely, not what we do rarely, that delineates the character of a person. It is what we believe in the heart of us that determines what we do daily. It is what we bring to the nourishment of the soul that predicts the kind of soul we nurture. It’s what we do ordinarily, day by day, that gives an intimation of what we will do under stress. It is the daily—the way we act ordinarily, not rarely, that defines us as either kind, or angry, or faithful, or constant.
So important is this notion of shaping the interior life, of interiorizing what we commonly, even casually, declare publicly that we believe, that two periods of the church’s liturgical year are made up of no great earthshaking mysteries of the faith at all.
Outside the two great seasons and cycles of the faith—Advent and Christmas, Lent and Easter—almost two-thirds of every year, is spent simply learning the fine art of Christian living. The liturgical year, we know, simply calls it “Ordinary Time.”
But the truth is that there is nothing ordinary—if by ordinary we mean inferior or less important—about a period such as this at all. This time is the extraordinary period of coming to see the world through the eyes of Jesus. It is the period when we determine how we ourselves will act from now on. It is the period of catechesis in the faith, of immersion in the Scriptures. It is the time when the implications of Easter and Christmas become most clear to us all. It is decision time: will we take Easter and Christmas seriously or not?
—from The Liturgical Year by Joan Chittister (Thomas Nelson). Slightly edited.