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Ordinary versus Extraordinary

“…it is possible to strive for peace and gratitude even when everything is going wrong. They have helped me see that peace and gratitude are not things you either have or do not have; rather, these are virtues we can struggle toward regardless of what is happening in our lives…the struggle we face is not to be grateful for extraordinary things; rather, the struggle is to be grateful for the ordinary things in life that we so often take for granted.” (Robin Phillips)

“Christ has given us the extraordinary gifts of life, eternal life, and the means to get through this life. Our response should be extraordinary. We should be motivated to be more like Him, more perfect and less sinful. And we should be with Him, in Him and for Him at all times, just as He is in us, with us and for us at all times. We must meet His extraordinary blessings by living exemplary and extraordinary lives, not in a material sense, but in a spiritual sense.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

“The Lord Jesus Christ Himself often made use of parables from nature – things and happenings from this world – as aids to teach men. And He often took ordinary things and occurrences in His teaching, to show the nourishment these kernels give, and how deep are the things that are hidden within them. Ordinary people seek some meaning in strange and rare events, like shooting stars, earthquakes, great wars and so forth, but rare are those who seek and find a spiritual meaning in the ordinary, in the most common daily happenings. The rarest among all the rare who have ever walked the earth, the Lord Jesus Himself, deliberately took the most ordinary things from this life in order to reveal to men the mysteries of eternal life.” (St. Nikolai Velimirovic)

“…people are always looking for meaning in rare and spectacular events like earthquakes or shooting stars or even human-made events like war…Christ not only reveals the Kingdom of Heaven to us, but He shows us that the most mundane events or ordinary things also have hidden in them signs of God’s Kingdom. Christ tells us to look carefully at the world all around us for everywhere there are signs of God’s Kingdom. The most ordinary things are symbols of heaven and the Kingdom. Christ endeavors to open our eyes to see the signs of the spiritual world all around us. What a gift it is to look at the ordinary events of our world and to see in them the most extraordinary revelation of God’s eternal Kingdom. God has placed signs of the ineffable and inconceivable right before our eyes. Jesus tries to help us see what He sees in the world which God loves.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)

“The supernatural is all around us but we don’t perceive it because it seems too ordinary. We expect it to be sensational to the five physical senses which it is not, and confuse it with the paranormal. It is only perceived by the sixth sense, so to speak, to those who have “eyes that can see” and “ears that can hear.” They understand that it manifests in the ordinary while at the same time being extraordinary. An itinerant Preacher in a small locale who trained twelve men of questionable talent who ignited the spread of the truth across the globe should perhaps be our first clue.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“The sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one’s daily life, in one’s neighbors, friends, and family, in one’s back yard.” (Father Alexander Schmemann)

“We live in a sea of grace, in a world in which wonder and awe suffuse the whole universe. Often, the work of grace goes unnoticed, hidden both by its ordinariness and its lack of drama. Our culture is fond of singing, “Amazing grace,” with an expectation that what constitutes the work of God will always amaze and astound. It is the stuff of great “testimonies” and the various heroes of the faith. But most of the time throughout history, there is a slow and steadfast persistence of grace that, on the one hand, sustains us in our existence, and, on the other, constantly makes the fruit of our lives exceed the quality of our work. We offer him what is mediocre, at best, and He yields back to us thirty-fold, sixty-fold, a hundred. Indeed, we fail to understand that what some might judge to be “mediocre” is itself a work of grace.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“I would like to propose that the time has come for us to take up our crosses in an ordinary manner. One can live the way of the cross in ordinary ways, in everyday life by practicing two things: self-denial and the outpouring of love. Self-denial begins in small ways. A family gathered at table might deny themselves the temptation of sending that last e-mail or responding to the Facebook update by turning off their tablets and smartphones and talking to one another. Listening to the other is another ordinary way of the cross. Fathers and mothers are called to listen to their children; siblings are called to listen to one another. Young people can practice the way of the cross by walking away from the cheap opportunity for hooking up on a college campus. Such actions seem simple, but they are embedded in the way we live and are part of the fabric of our culture. When we practice self-denial in small ways, it can become habitual and rehearsed so that when bad things happen, we know how to act.” (Deacon Nicholas Denysenko)

“Someone once said that "God must really love ordinary people--He made so many of them!" In this day of media stars, sports heroes, authorities, experts and personalities, it is reassuring to know that there is one place where the ordinary person will always be loved and needed--in the church. Although the church welcomes everyone, the truth is that the rich and wordly are not generally receptive to the Gospel. Christ found that it was the "common people" who "heard him gladly." St. Paul also observed that not many of those who were worldly, mighty, or of noble birth accepted the Christian calling. (l Cor. 1:26).” (Rev. Andrew Demotses)

“This calling to be witnesses of the faith was originally directed to the disciples, who were faithful people with ordinary professions. And these people changed the world by their witness. They didn’t do this by use of their vast knowledge of theological issues, but by their simple faith in what they had experienced in Jesus. The front lines of Jesus’ army today are you – faithful men and women who live ordinary lives in the world, attending school, making a living, raising families, participating in the daily life of our society. You are the ones who will reach the people whom we as clergy may never see – relatives, friends, coworkers, and in athletics, clubs and organizations. You will be placed in situations where you will be a witness to your faith – not by standing up and preaching – but by the way you conduct yourself as a Christian.” (Father James W. Kordaris) 

“We are to try to become ordinary Christians, not mimic astounding feats described in the lives of the saints. Ordinary Christianity is hard enough for any of us and it is sufficient for our salvation. If we ever find ourselves longing for exalted states we must immediately repent and seek guidance from someone wiser than ourselves in these matters. Such longing is an obvious sign that something is wrong with us spiritually." (Father Spyridon Baily)

“We can only appreciate ourselves as God intended us to be when we begin to better value the gift of ordinariness. The beauty of ordinariness is especially revealed, supported, and enhanced by the presence of good friends…we need to recognize again and again in our prayer, scripture reading, self-reflection, and interactions with others that the spiritual life is not a rarefied form of thinking or mystical experience for the elite. Instead, it is simply an honest way of living. Our journey with God can be made much more simple if only we take the time and effort each day to remember that true ordinariness is indeed tangible holiness.” (Robert J. Wicks)

“I recently had a heart-rending conversation with a wonderful young woman who, outwardly at least, seemed to have a fulfilling life. During our chat, however, I sensed that everything was not going as well with her as outward appearance indicated. With very little prompting, she readily confided that she had been deeply depressed over a number of years, and that on several occasions had even entertained the possibility of suicide. She came from a caring family, and enjoyed numerous friendships, but none of the people in her life had sensed her deep distress and unhappiness. It was not that they didn’t care; quite the opposite was true. Rather it was that life had somehow become so hectic that there was little time for meaningful conversation and deep personal sharing. Distracted by the mundane, they had neglected what was truly important.” (Rev Andrew J. Demotses)

“The mundane and ordinary can be just that, or we can recognize them for what they are - the simple aspects of life to draw us closer to God and each other. Christ did not teach through fantastic grandiose stories; He taught through parables involving aspects of familiar daily life. Shut in due to the coronavirus and bereft of conveniences and many things in life we often allow to become distractions, we have an opportunity to rediscover the extraordinariness of sunshine, fresh air, walks, good books, the people we live with, the people we miss, and most importantly, prayer and the God we neglect due to busyness. Some are saying the world might never be the same. Maybe that’s what God wants. Maybe that’s the good He will bring out of this crisis.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“Take control of the things you grant entrance into your heart. Be watchful of the things you pacify yourself with. Give thanks for the mundane and savor the simple. Most often, the most extraordinary things in our lives aren’t really things at all and are hidden away in the most ordinary of days.” (Sylvia Leontaritis)

"Mark 12:37 reads, “and the common people heard Him gladly.” I don’t like to think of myself as common or ordinary. Most people don’t. But that is exactly the type of person I need to be. Those types of persons are the most open to receiving Christ and being filled with the Holy Spirit because they are not filled with themselves.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“Christ found that it was the "common people" who "heard him gladly." St. Paul also observed that not many of those who were worldly, mighty, or of noble birth accepted the Christian calling. (l Cor. 1:26).” (Rev. Andrew Demotses)

“God is known for taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary. Throughout scripture God used ordinary men to affect his kingdom in extraordinary ways.” (Henry and Tom Blackaby)

“The life-saving strategy of Jesus is based on ordinary people showing and telling about Him in ordinary places.” (Ron Hutchcraft)

"The saints are ordinary people who have practiced the Christian life and have been blessed by God to achieve such holiness." (Father Spyridon Baily)

“…one can be a rather ordinary person and still make an extraordinary spiritual contribution…You don’t have to have a lot of money, or fame or a great career in order to answer God’s call for your life… God calls everyone to something in their life. There is no one who is uncalled…An extraordinary person with little faith is rather ordinary in the eyes of God. An ordinary person with extraordinary faith, is extraordinary in the eyes of God.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

“Throughout his ministry, St. Paul remained a tentmaker (Acts of the Apostles 18:3-4). This was his trade and he kept busy, wherever he was, by sewing tents. One lives the Christian life in ordinary ways. Not all of us will be heroic monks or nuns living a strict Prayer Rule. In fact, most of us will live out our lives as “spiritual athletes” while we do homework, make dinner, hold down a job, pick up the kids from soccer practice, have our teeth cleaned.” (Abouna Justin Rose)

“St. Paul was called to Christ in a dramatic, extraordinary way. A blinding light threw him to the ground. But we too have been called to Christ…And when we recognize the power and the glory of God, we can understand our own position as God’s servants. We begin to approach the menial tasks that are all a part of our jobs as parish council members—taking out the trash, collating flyers, cleaning the windows, doing tedious paperwork—with a sense of contentment rather than a sense of obligation.” (Father Christopher Metropulos)

“… Mary showed herself to be a person of contemplation and introspection, a person of depth and perfect devotion to the Lord. Starting with her acceptance of the Lord’s will when she said “Let it be according to your word” and throughout her life, Mary followed God’s will even in pain. Luke 2:51 says that concerning the words and actions of her Son, “[she] kept all these things in her heart.” She was clearly seeking deeper meaning in the ordinary events of His and her life. She was actually being a model Christian as she sought to see the extraordinary in the ordinary, to understand God’s will in daily life…” (Sacramental Living)

“The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.” (Thomas Moore)


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