Moving Out of Ordinary Time
By Father Kenneth Wasilewski
Now that we’re transitioning from Ordinary Time to Lent, our minds naturally shift to thoughts of what this season will hold for us this year. Will we resume previous Lenten practices or try new ones?  
If we’re not sure yet, or if we’re looking for something a little different, it might be good to consider reflecting on one easily overlooked aspect of our lives. This is our use of God’s gift of “time.” 
It’s interesting, if we think about it, that this season is called “Lent” in English. This word comes from the Anglo-Saxon words “lencten” or “lenctentid.” Some might translate these words simply as “Spring” or “Springtime,” but they’re more closely connected to the origin of other English words like “length” or “lengthen.” 
The idea comes from this as the time of the year the days begin to get “longer” or they “lengthen.” Hence with the preparatory season for Easter falling at this time of the year, it became natural to associate the liturgical season with this season of nature.  
In other languages the word for the season often comes from a reference to the number 40 — the number of days the season lasts (Cuaresma in Spanish and Quaresima in Italian as examples). 
Regardless, this season’s name is typically associated with “time” in some fashion. Given that, maybe Lent this year can include an examination of how our time is spent, and if necessary, make some beneficial changes.
For some, time might seem a frustration rather than a gift — as something we have too much of or too little of — or as something that brings with it other challenges, like aging. Regardless, this is inescapably the arena we’re operating within on our earthly journey. Therefore, making efforts to improve our relationship with it seems a worthwhile endeavor. 
Our lives can be so influenced, even determined, by the clock and the calendar that we may not often reflect on how we’re using time to build virtue or advance in holiness. Lent can provide us with the motivation for doing precisely that. 
We might begin by looking at three basic areas: work time, prayer time and leisure time. As Christians, these all have significance for our spiritual lives. What we choose to do in each of them (or what we don’t do) can help or hinder our relationship with God and others. A brief look at each can get us started thinking along these lines and perhaps help us to narrow down specific areas we’d like to focus on in the coming weeks. 
Work, here, can mean either our employment or, more broadly, those things that we have an obligation or responsibility to do — like taking care of our homes, families, etc. Maybe one of the big questions to ask ourselves is whether or not we end up wasting time at work or end up procrastinating too often. We might also ask ourselves if we spend too much time working — which ends up hindering time we should be spending on other things.
When it comes to prayer, we might be tempted to simply think that we should be spending more time on it. And that might very well be the case. But it might also be good to look at the quality of our time that we already spend in prayer — maybe rather than trying to commit to more prayer time, we simply commit to making our prayer time more focused, trying to enter more deeply into it.
Our initial questions about our leisure time might be about what we do during it. But we might also want to consider how to improve its quality so that our leisure time ends up being supportive of our work and prayer times. 
Whatever we decide to do for Lent this year, in a season named after a reference to time, perhaps reflecting on our use of it is a timely thing to consider.