Katie Faley: Ways to live the faith in our ordinary lives during Ordinary Time
Here we are in the thick of Ordinary Time. There isn’t anything huge going on in the Church during this time, but there’s something very holy about the monotonous long stretches of Ordinary Time.
Two of my favorite saints St. Thérèse of Lisieux and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton — are known for their small acts of holiness in the ordinary circumstances of daily life. St. Thérèse lived out her call to holiness from behind cloistered walls. She simply loved her Sisters of Carmel with charity, taught novices, and washed dishes and floors. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton worked odd jobs, raised her five children, and kept up with her friends through letter-writing.
God has given the gift of Ordinary Time in the Church and in our lives. There are things in our lives — laundry and grocery store trips, work weeks and brushing our teeth — that just must get done. Even though it may feel like nothing special, God is present in those moments and asks us to respond to the ordinariness with our own acts of charity.
FOUR ORDINARY WAYS I LIVE THE FAITH
I thought about all the ways that I try to serve God in the ordinary happenings of life. I don’t always keep up with these habits perfectly. But I try, and I will continue trying each day. Here are just four of the ordinary ways I live the faith in my very ordinary life:
- Sometimes I find myself with extra time waiting on certain things — my slow computer to load, the car to get done with an oil change, lunch to cook. During those times, I’ve made it a habit to read the daily Mass readings on my phone. If there’s not enough time to get through all the readings, I will just read the Gospel. I try to pick out one word or phrase from the readings and remember that throughout the day. It’s not a huge commitment; it takes only a couple of minutes, but it’s an easy way to listen to the Word of God each day.
- One of the most prevalent side effects of having been raised in a Catholic house is that there is always a surplus of Catholic sacramentals around. Miraculous Medals seem to spontaneously appear, and I have holy cards for just about every canonized saint. I have a Miraculous Medal in just about every place: my car, attached to my wallet, and in my desk. Similarly, holy cards end up with just as functional a purpose as they are a spiritual resource. St. Patrick adorns my mirror, St. Gianna holds my place in whatever book I may be reading, and the magnet of the Divine Mercy of Jesus is attached to a heater in my room. It is an easy way to keep Mary and the saints close and always invoke their intercession — no matter where in the world I am.
- Car rides are perfect for utilizing a quick 15 minutes to honor Our Lady. I keep a rosary in the car. If I am going across town, I can get through an entire rosary. If I only have a short jaunt, I use that time to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet for the souls in purgatory or just a single decade of the rosary. It’s a simple practice but comes with many spiritual graces.
- When the pandemic first started it seemed like I was washing my hands every two minutes. Touched a door knob? Wash hands. Grabbed a drink from the fridge? Wash hands. Woke up in the morning? Wash hands. Somebody recommended that with each hand wash, I say the Memorare for all those affected by COVID. I could do something both physically and spiritually productive in one fell swoop. Now even as I don’t find myself obsessively washing my hands as I did before, I still use that time to pray a Memorare for all those who are sick.
I’ve gathered many of these daily habit of faith ideas from other holier people, just like I’ve picked up ideas from saints like Thérèse and Elizabeth Seton along the way. I love hearing how other people have made daily habits of faith, so feel free to email me with your habits of ordinary faith in ordinary life.
Katie Faley is a member of St. Mark Parish in Peoria and digital marketing coordinator for the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. She has a master’s degree in theology and theological studies from the University of Notre Dame. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.