Each Pentecost, the Pantheon in Rome has a tradition where rose petals rain down from the open ceiling upon the congregation, imitating the Holy Spirit descending as tongues of fire upon the apostles. If you’ve never seen a photo or video of this event, do a quick Google search.
The tradition was unfamiliar to me until this past Pentecost, when my parish decided to imitate the great Roman church. As the priest processed out with the altar servers during the recessional song, a steady stream of red petals fell from the ceiling. The kids were ecstatic. And while the idea had seemed strange to me just moments before, it was a beautiful experience to partake in the same tradition as our brothers and sisters an ocean away in Rome’s Pantheon.
I left Mass thinking about how Pentecost is the last big hurrah as the Easter season comes to a close. Now we are back to Ordinary Time, and if you ask me, Ordinary Time lacks the spiritual excitement of the other liturgical seasons. Yes, you only have to look at the Church calendar and its multitude of feast days to know celebrations are not infrequent. But I had felt renewed during the season of resurrection — a renewed hope for the Church, a renewed love for my communities, even a renewed desire for holiness. So, what now?
What really has changed? True, I can no longer use my 50-day excuse (“Well, it’s the Easter season, so why not …”) to enjoy that second, or third, dessert. Yet, that doesn’t mean the celebration is over. That doesn’t mean our lives return to what they were before Easter, before Lent. Instead, we are called to use these seasons to purify ourselves and then jump back into the everydayness of being a Christian. Saints are not made in the Easter season. They are made through living an Easter faith all year long.
While the motivation to participate more in the Faith may be less exciting during these times, don’t let that lessen your motivation for holiness. If you used these past seasons to deepen your prayer life, don’t let that slip away. Keep going one day at a time — and don’t use the excuse that you no longer have the time to pray. As Deacon Greg Kandra shares in his article on prayer, even the busiest person can make time for that most important relationship with God. Or, if you feel like Lent and Easter got away from you, use this new season of Ordinary Time as one of growth.
Most importantly, when you feel as if you don’t have the grace to do it alone, remember what happened at Pentecost. It’s not necessary to have rose petals raining from the ceiling to remember that the Holy Spirit is with us even in the ordinary times, giving us the grace to use these everyday moments to get closer and closer to our heavenly home.
Ava Lalor is assistant editor for Our Sunday Visitor.