Do you ever fantasize about becoming famous? Maybe you daydream about writing a best-seller, or becoming the latest social media sensation, or doing a heroic deed. We all have our daydreams. Perhaps we are longing for something better than what we have or maybe it is just an escape from ordinary living which may seem a far cry from anything extraordinary.
Well, I am here to make the case that ordinary living is highly underrated. Through our daily routine we actually become part of something extraordinary when we unite our lives to Heaven’s Almighty. In other words, when we practice the presence of God in all that we do, day in and day out, then everything—no matter how small or ordinary—becomes an offering of faith, hope, and love to God as we partake in our Lord’s work of salvation, bringing us and our world closer to Heaven. That’s extraordinary! So where do we begin?
Prayer—Our Lifeline to Heaven
Prayer raises our hearts and minds to God, helping us to enter into the intimacy of the Trinitarian life. Mary, our Blessed Mother, calls on us to pray very much, especially the Rosary. You may be saying to yourself, “I pray the Rosary every day.” Great! Don’t stop. Now ask yourself, do you live by way of the Rosary?
By conveying the depth of the Gospel message, the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Glorious mysteries show us the way life is meant to be lived—with faith, hope, and love—when we unite with Jesus Christ and through Him, God the Father and Holy Spirit. “The Word of God, the liturgy of the Church, and the virtues of faith, hope, and charity are sources of prayer,” according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC 2662].
At the same time, prayer nourishes our virtues with God’s grace which brings to life the Word of God in each of us as we participate in our Lord’s work through our daily living. Granted, our life’s challenges will not magically disappear when we pray, but prayer—particularly the Rosary—will strengthen our unity with the Holy Trinity so that what we experience or endure in life can be offered up for the betterment of our lives and our world.
However, “If our heart is far from God, the words of prayer are in vain,” according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC 2562]. The heart is the center of who we are. What sort of dwelling place do we provide for our Lord within our hearts? To purify our hearts, do we: seek reconciliation; ask for forgiveness for our sins and for those who persecute us? With conversion of heart and sincerity in prayer, God’s grace will dwell within us, uniting us with the way, the truth, and the life of our Lord.
Then as brothers and sisters to Jesus, we are prompted by the Holy Spirit to continue Christ’s mission of sharing God’s loving mercy through our joys, our works, and our sorrows for ultimately, glory in Heaven. Daily prayer helps us to live our faith for the love of God and the graces we receive bring Heaven to earth, spreading the hope of salvation for us and humanity.
Penance—Expression of Love
Of faith, hope, and love, the greatest virtue of these is love. The love of God inspires forgiveness, mercy, and charity and burns away the desire to sin. Penance is an expression of our love for God and God’s love for us, which deepens our faith and increases our hope for salvation in God’s heavenly embrace.
I used to think of penance as something to practice only during Lent. After Easter I would go back to my routine where penance was not at the forefront of my life. However, I have begun to realize that ordinary living provides the opportunity to build on practicing penance—expressing our love for God and experiencing God’s love—on a daily basis!
I am reminded of a Carmelite monk named Brother Lawrence who lived during the 1600s. Brother Lawrence offered up everything–work, chores, errands, exercises, in addition to his daily prayers—as acts of love. Consider all that you do in a day in terms of your career, your home life, your relationships-–everything can become a prayerful offering of love to God.
The more we do for the love of God through our ordinary living, the more we’ll want to do and not just for ourselves. In other words, when we seek first the Kingdom of God and all His righteousness, the temptation of sin no longer has a hold on us and life takes on a whole new meaning and purpose. We experience a transformation that allows our inner goodness to come through us by the way we live and treat ourselves and treat one another.
As our love and commitment grow, we find ourselves stepping outside of our comfort zone to help those with greater needs than ourselves. With every step, we also build up our resolve to sin no more. Our faith strengthens, giving us hope, for when we face our own trials which prepares us for something greater to come. Remember, with God nothing is impossible.
Obedience—Are We Willing?
Saying prayers, offering up what we do in our day, and helping the less fortunate through ordinary living express our love and gratitude for what we have been given by God in Christ. These actions also express our obedience—our willingness to participate in God’s plan of salva-tion for ourselves as well as our loved ones, neighbors, strangers, foes, and souls in purgatory.
Through our obedience, our relationship with the Most Holy Trinity deepens along with our desire for holiness. We can feed that desire with the holy Eucharist by which Christ gives us His body, blood, soul, and divinity, enabling us to obey our Lord without hesitation, especially when we face our cross. With Christ, and through Him, with Him, and in Him, in unity with God the Father and Holy Spirit, our holiness will grow by our deeds, our trials, and our triumphs with the faith, hope, and love we exhibit in our ordinary living for God and for our world.
Perhaps in our daydreams, we are actually longing to be closer to God and to find the purpose of our lives. The love of God gives us our purpose. We may never write a best-seller, but with the promptings of the Holy Spirit, we can spread the Word of God by being Christ-like in our daily living. We may never be a star, but with the intercession of our Blessed Mother, we can become beacons for our Lord’s light to shine through us. We may never know the difference our ordinary lives make in the world, but have no worries—God knows. That’s extraordinary!