I made a visit home to my parents a couple weeks ago, and as I was sitting in the living room I noticed a framed abstract print on one of the walls. It had been there for my entire life as my parents have lived in the same home for nearly 35 years. The picture’s focus is a medium-sized green rectangle surrounded by splashes of other colors: yellows, browns, blues, and oranges. Around the print is a white matte. I hadn’t really taken a good look at it in all these years nor had I appreciated it until that moment. I guess it was because it hadn’t moved from its spot on the wall for decades. My focused attention on the painting gave me a fresh view of it.
It’s so easy to get in a habit or a routine. I fell so deep into routine that I missed the beauty of a painting I passed every day for years while growing up. The same can hold true for going to Mass. Sure, the change in the translation shook us up for a bit one year ago, but if we’re not already, we’ll soon be back into a routine, possibly missing the beauty of the Mass. Every year at the Easter Vigil I get that fresh moment that renews my appreciation for liturgy. The Easter Vigil is packed with rich imagery, story, and symbol. You’ve got darkness and light, silence and sound, water and incense. I’m reminded of the art of liturgy, and for the next few weeks I go to Mass with a new awareness and appreciation for what happens.
Finding God in all things is also about finding God in the Mass! Pay more attention to the Church’s liturgical cycle, and you’ll find there’s always something that will give you that freshness. Like the natural seasons, each liturgical season has its own colors and rituals and stories. September may seem ordinary, but before we know it things will be purple, and new candles will be lit, and the readings will turn to our preparation for Jesus’ coming. But for now, don’t miss the grace of what seems ordinary yet is extraordinary, like that forgotten painting on my parents’ wall.