Theme Three: Ordinariness


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The ordinary…is the ground where we were first located, where God had known us—and delighted in what we already were and had—before we came to know and define ourselves in another way.

[Working Paper, June 2012, p. 19]


The bosom of the Father is our own ground (gront) and our origin, in which we begin our life and our being. And out of our proper ground – that is, out of the Father and out of all that is living him – there shines an eternal brightness, which is the birth of the Son… The ordinary ground (eenvuldighe gront) of our eternal image always remains in obscurity. But the incommensurable brightness which shines out from this ordinary ground reveals and brings forth the hiddenness of God. All those who are elevated above their creaturehood into a contemplative life (scouwende le- ven) are one with this divine brightness, and they are the brightness itself. They see and feel and find, by means of this divine light, that they are themselves the same ordinary ground (eenvuldighe gront) out of which this brightness immeasurably shines forth without measure.

[Jan van Ruusbroec, Die Geestelike Brulocht (The Spiritual Espousals), c136-39; c145-51]


To get to the meaning of ordinariness we have to first shake away our association of the word ordinary with the ideas of simple, plain, or worse, mediocre. What constitutes ordinariness is the “givens” of our life, the contingencies beyond our choosing – the time, society, and culture into which we are born; the genealogies arising from our ancestry; the realities, potencies, potentials, and limits that develop from our innate biologies and psychologies; the inevitabilities that come with being biologically human. And though “givens,” these factors of our being are not just accidents of nature or social happenstance. All of these “givens” are graced by God, the Source from which they all originate.

So, as Xaverians during this Third Week of Lent, our return to the ordinary is a return to the “innocence” of our essential nature; before we were horrified by our “nakedness.” It entails a moving away from the domestic (i.e. the house we made for ourselves—remember Brother Joe Pawlika’s reflection from February 22nd) and continuing our journey to our true place (Them One), turning toward God (Theme Two), and finding our ground in ordinariness.

[If you’d like to discover more about the particular Xaverian understanding of Ordinariness, click here to download a section of the Working Paper titled, “The Call to Ordinariness and Its Arising Dispositions,” which develops the understanding in more detail.]


Click here for a printable PDF version


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“As he looked on, he was surprised to see that the bush, though on fire, was not consumed.” Our Sunday reflection has been prepared by Christopher Irr, Generalate staff member. Find it here: Troisième dimanche de Carême — Réflexion en francais:



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Each Tuesday we share a Xaverian Brother’s story on Living the Charism. This upcoming week (March 5th) we remember Brother Dominic, C.F.X. “He was a man whose faith called him to action for the poor, committing us as a Congregation to work among them. From his place in heaven, he might gently remind us, ‘My Brothers, remember the poor.’”



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