Learn from Ordinary Time.  In Ordinary Time (the periods between Epiphany and Lent, and between Pentecost and Advent), you deepen your faith by consistently practicing spiritual disciplines like prayer and Bible study in between the church's major holidays (holy days). The liturgy's Scripture readings take you through the Old and New Testaments and challenge you to grow to understand the Bible better and apply it to your life more. Worship services keep you rooted in the foundational truths of the faith: Jesus was, is, and will come again. Ordinary Time challenges you to decide whether or not you'll take Christmas and Easter seriously. The constant practice of developing your faith in Ordinary Time helps you learn to see the world more from God's perspective.

Learn from Lent.  Lent calls you to renew your commitment to faith in Jesus. By stripping your heart of distractions, you free yourself up to pursue Jesus with greater passion.  Lent challenges you to make whatever changes are necessary in your life to align it better with God's will. Holy Week, which takes place at the end of Lent, is a microcosm of Jesus' public life. As you reflect on His ministry, suffering, and death on the Cross to pay for your sins, you come to understand that the suffering He calls you to endure as you follow Him also has a good purpose. You realize that much valuable growth can only occur when you're willing to go through suffering and let it teach you how to trust God more deeply. Lent shows you your need for Jesus and stirs hope within you as you approach Easter.

Learn from Easter.  Easter, the celebration of Jesus' Resurrection, shows that there is no suffering from which you can't rise if you live a life centered on your relationship with Jesus. The promise of eternal life - made possible by the Resurrection - gives you joy, peace, and confidence.

Learn from Pentecost.  Pentecost immerses you in the implications of what it means to be a Christian and live a faithful life. It moves you to respond to God's great love for you by pursuing a passionate relationship with Him.

Adapted from The Liturgical Year: The Spiraling Adventure of the Spiritual Life, copyright 2009 by Joan Chittister. Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tn., www.thomasnelson.com
Sister Joan Chittister, OSB, is a Benedictine nun and an international lecturer. In her more than 50 years as a nun she has authored 40 books, including her most recent, the critically acclaimed The Gift of Years. Sister Joan is the founder and current executive director of Benetvision, a resource and research center for contemporary spirituality that located in Erie, PA.

Original publication date: January 26, 2010