"February Filldyke" - an old nickname for this month, due to the amount of rain which traditionally fell then. But of course we never know for certain what weather we might encounter. Last year, the "Beast from the East" arrived towards the end of the month - let's hope we don't have anything as extreme as that this year!
As I am sure we are all aware, as regular and diligent readers of this best-selling parish magazine, the Church's year is regulated and governed by "seasons" - not spring, summer, autumn, winter, but Advent, Christmas, Lent, Pentecost and so on. But there is also the concept of "time". At the moment, the beginning of February, we are in the first of two periods of "ordinary time". This present period runs from the day after Candlemas until the day before Ash Wednesday ; the second, much longer period will run from the day after Pentecost until the day before the first Sunday of Advent.
The phrase "ordinary time" could easily make these periods appear dull and uninteresting, as though there was nothing much happening. It is true that in ordinary time there is in the Church's life and services no seasonal emphasis, such as there is in Advent, Christmas, Lent, etc. However, this certainly does not mean that nothing is happening - far from it! Every Sunday, we have the remembrance and re-enactment of Our Lord's passion and resurrection, God's wonderful gift of salvation, in the Parish Eucharist. And presently, by force of circumstance, we are offered the opportunity, week by week, to view this miracle in a different light, through fresh eyes, fresh words, a fresh perspective.
This is an opportunity we should not miss, but a different, complementary opportunity is presented to us every day of our lives. Each new day is a gift from God, a unique gift which we should not squander. The phrase "ordinary time" appears to imply that all other time is "extraordinary", and in one sense that is true. But if we think about it a little more, all time is extraordinary, God's gift to us, the stuff from which we construct the framework of our lives.
Do we make the best use of that stuff? Does the framework of our lives do justice to what we have been given by God to construct it ? Each of us must answer these questions for ourselves when, by God's grace, we see our Saviour face to face. But inevitably these are questions which will not wait for an answer, for they present themselves with the coming of each new day. The fact that we may perhaps devise what we consider a satisfactory answer today does not mean that the same questions will not come forward even more pressingly tomorrow.
So let's take a little time to consider each day what use we are making of God's wonderful gift to us, a gift made out of His great love for us, the gift of time. Do our lives in any way justify or repay the making of that gift? Do our actions, does the way in which we live our lives, make God's time even more extraordinary?