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Somewhere between "Glory be" and "Good God"

For Catholics, we are now in "Ordinary time" - the part of the liturgical calendar when we aren't strictly celebrating or mourning anything in particular.  "Ordinary time" isn't really meant to be ordinary in a mundane way;  it's meant to blend and hum with the rhythm of life as most of us of know it:  the typical-ness of going through our daily routines, the flow of family life, our work and our recreation.

It struck me that most of us live our lives in this ordinary time - somewhere between "Glory be!" and "Good God".  The "Glory be" prayer is one of my favorites - it's short and to the point, but very powerful:  pure praise (Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.  Amen.)  For those that pray the Liturgy of the Hours, this prayer is said many times a day:  a reminder constantly that God is to be praised, and all glory is His.

Then, we have those "Good God" prayers.  Those are the prayers that come from the groanings of our heart: when we don't understand, when we are lost or in pain.  The beautiful city of Grand Rapids, MI is in the midst of this "Good God" time right now, as we recover from and pray through the aftermath of a  shooting spree - one man taking the lives of seven people and then killing himself.  It makes no sense, and never will.  All we can do is pray "Good God" - partly out of hurt, partly to remind ourselves that only God is good, and that evil will never make sense.

What we are really meant to do though is to always merge these "Glory be" times with the "Good God" times:  being able to praise God in the midst of sadness, pain, sorrow and shame.  That is what Ordinary time is meant to be:  a mingling of the celebrations and sufferings that we all face.  There is nothing wrong with praying "Good God", but we hurt ourselves when we get stuck there.  We can't remain mired in pain, or we become bitter, depressed and doubtful.  "Good God" must always become "Glory be", or we risk losing sight of the "Good" part, failing to give God the glory that is His. 

Whether you are at a "Good God" point in your life, or a "Glory be" point, remember that both prayers are right:  God is good, and His is the glory.  In this ordinary time, we must remember that these extraordinary facts surround us in God's eternal love.

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