This past week we returned to Ordinary Time. Not ordinary in the sense of humdrum, ho-hum time, but from the word “ordinal” or numbered, as the Sundays of Ordinary Time are numbered. We leave behind the Christmas season, filled with activities, sights and wonders, leave behind the decorations now put away for another year and soak up the moisture, give thanks to God for the life giving rain that renews and restores our earth. The color of Ordinary Time is green, a time for our faith to continue to grow like the plants thirsty for water grow and then develop with the blessing of rain. It goes without saying, we pray for all those areas now affected by mudslides from the abundant rain following the disastrous fires in southern and northern California.
One of the greatest opportunities for us is to make our discipleship visible not only through our words but also through our deeds. Acting on our faith can make a difference in the life of any person we meet on any given day. But, we are easily bound by the routines of our lives, those repetitive activities that mark each day. Due to their consistency and predictability, we can think these tasks are boring; our engagement is often limited to bare the minimum. Breaking out of the routine and seeing life in new ways opens us to the actions of God in our daily lives.
I took my annual retreat at the New Camaldoli Monastery the first week of January, joining the monks and guests for sung prayer in the morning, at Mass and evening Vespers. It was a definite change to my daily routine. What I noticed in and around the monastery south of Big Sur off Highway 1 was the stillness and quiet. It was much easier to listen to birds singing their songs, hear the background action of ocean waves breaking on the coastal rocks, mostly natural sounds rather than the many mechanical sounds or noise that fills our daily lives. In those moments it was easier to be personally quiet, rest in God’s abiding loving presence and be. It is in being that we can come closer relationship with God of all life in Christ, hear the word of God, take it to heart and be moved to action. May the God of all life inspire us to action in the coming days as we serve our brothers and sisters.
Blessings, Father Larry Hendel