Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Stories - Ordinary Days

On the liturgical calendar, this is the last ordinary day we'll see for awhile, as Lent starts tomorrow. We're already preparing for the most beautiful Mass of the Catholic year -- the Easter Vigil. I've cantored this Mass for many years, but with so many readings, psalms, sprinklings, chants, confirmations and litanies, it's almost overwhelming. I was overwhelmed at my first Vigil Mass, 27 years ago when I joined the church. When it was all over, I remember thinking, "What just happened, and what in the world have I done?"

As much as I love the special feasts of the Church year, as a musician, I like Ordinary Time best -- nothing fancy, just worship, with the same familiar flow at Mass every week: 3 hymns, a psalm, a Gospel acclamation, 5 mass parts. After pounding out the joyous Gloria every week at the start of Mass since Christmas Eve, this week I have to remember not to launch into it after the Kyrie. I know that probably doesn't sound too difficult, but I'm a creature of habit, and usually once during the Lenten season I play the first notes of the Gloria only to hear a subtle throat clearing by the priest, or hear him launch into the "Let us pray" so that I get the clue and stop.

When I think about our family stories, I realize that most of the good ones center around special feasts, as well: the major holidays, birthdays, reunions. But for me, like the church feasts, those events are times of intense preparation and high stress. Give me an ordinary day, with ordinary things: work, school, taking the dog out, feeding the cat, making supper, reading books, some laundry and maybe a little TV. It's the ordinary days when we can enjoy the peace of our home, and the company of each other. We can relax and renew our spirits. I don't think it's a coincidence that the liturgical color for ordinary time is green -- the color of life and renewal.

Tomorrow, we turn purple. Intense. Deep. Solemn. I'll try to keep to my Lenten fasts and promises, for as Father Sheets said every Ash Wednesday, this may be the last Lent we get. (!) But I'm not much of an intense and solemn girl; I'm a pretty ordinary girl, and I'll be looking forward to the ordinary days to come.



  1. Wonderful point! Well said. That is exactly why I love January.

  2. The organist has one of the hardest jobs in the church. They are often under appreciated and always taken for granted, except for the one out of a hundred services when they make a mistake:)

    Thank-you for all the years I was able to enjoy your music. I sure do miss it.

    Have a blessed season of Lent:)