We have entered Ordinary Time
in our Liturgical Calendar. We move through Christmas so quickly that I am not always ready to operate in the “ordinary.”
There is a wonderful poem by Howard Thurman
entitled: "Now the Work of Christmas Begins."
When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.
Implicit in the poem is the meaning of Ordinary Time. I think the making of music in one’s heart speaks of growth in holiness. We continue the work of Christ being among by attending to the dignity of others.
This period of time within the liturgical year allows us to take a breath and refocus on our day-to-day responsibilities as persons. For students, this work is to learn, to study, to imagine, and most important to grow in holiness. Our duty as educators is to guide, to teach, to learn, and again most important to grow as holy women and men. Parents and grandparents engage in day-to-day activities that center around loving children, teaching and guiding them. Sometimes adults must admonish the children whom they love, but it is always in hopes of encouraging the young to grow in holiness. This work of love occurs in the every day. In supporting children, adults are simultaneously addressing their own growth in holiness. The poet speaks of concrete actions that support this growth to which we are all called.
We can find models of these daily choices in people like Philippine. It’s been said
of her that we can learn…
the value of steadfast purpose;
the success of failure and the unimportance of our standards of success;
the power of grace released by deep, divine desires and simple duties daily done.
Isn’t this lesson also what we can learn through the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. whose holiday we will celebrate on Monday?
Making music in the heart is a choice made daily and is ultimately a response to the extraordinary love we know as God’s Beloved.
Suzanne Cooke, RSCJ is Head of the Conference of Sacred Heart Education.