Yesterday, with solemnity and joy, we celebrated Pentecost—the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. In churches across the world, Catholics prayed, “Come, Holy Spirit.”
Now, we find ourselves in Ordinary Time. Pentecost and Easter have both come and gone, as we face the long stretch of weeks ahead, I think it’s important to stop for a moment and contemplate how we will venture into this season. Ordinary Time is a period where we meditate on the life and public ministry of Christ. It is a season with both its own beauty, and its own unique challenges.
Oftentimes, I fall into a slump when Ordinary Time hits. While I can embrace the liturgical seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter with joy and fervent prayer, I do not feel this zest and excitement as I think about week after week of typical liturgical life. Yes, there are some major feast days that spice up the calendar and are cause for celebration, but overall, it doesn’t thrill me as much as other liturgical seasons.
I’ve tried different strategies in the past to avoid falling lax in my spiritual life once Ordinary Time (and summer) hit, but this year, I’ve been seeking to change my outlook. Instead of focusing on how I struggle to keep up with a set prayer routine, I’ve been looking to the event which we just celebrated: the glorious feast of Pentecost.
When the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles, they did not hold their joy inside of themselves. Rather, they went forth and proclaimed the Gospel to all people. The Acts of the Apostles is an incredible book of the Bible which shows many amazing events, miracles, and conversions that happened in the time after Pentecost.
We just celebrated Pentecost together. Will we, like the Apostles, go forth in joy? Or, will we stumble forth unenthusiastically, falling into the “Ordinary Time slump” of simply going through the motions?
We have received the Holy Spirit, but we should continually strive to grow deeper in prayer and become more attuned to the workings of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We need to grow in intimacy with God. We need to make time for silent prayer, so that He may speak to our hearts, and so that He can use us to bring the Gospel to others. In the book, The Forge, St. Josemaria Escriva notes:
“The Lord uses us as torches, to make that light shine out. Much depends on us; if we respond many people will remain in darkness no longer, but will walk instead along paths that lead to eternal life.”
It’s tempting to slack off in the spiritual life, and it’s easy to feel discouraged in prayer. However, we cannot forget that God has sent us His Spirit. We have an Advocate guiding us, ready to transform our lives. As St. Josemaria said, “much depends on us.” God is depending on me. He is depending on you. Knowing this, how will we go forth in this season of Ordinary Time?
Copyright 2017 AnneMarie Miller