Holiness is in the ordinary

By Brea Cannon

Connecting Faith and Life

In June 2022, my husband and I moved our family from Indianapolis to Odon, Indiana. We made the move to be closer to family, and to give our three children space to run free and explore outside. We settled on a property on the edge of a woodlot with a pond for fishing and pedal-boat rides, space for a garden, and plenty of yard to run and play with cousins.

I recently walked outside on a cold snowy night. I was awe-struck as I experienced the peace and quiet of that snowy night. The sky glowed, the woods stood still, and the world seemed to echo with silence. I had forgotten just how elegant the snow is in the country. Snow has such beautiful properties – the white of the purity, a blanket to cover the bleak of winter, and the mystery of the stillness and echo as it falls.

It had been years since I experienced the special stillness of falling snow outside of the city – no ice-crunchy road noise and scraping sounds as the neighbors clear driveways. As I took a moment outside to embrace the snowy night, it occurred to me just how extraordinary ordinary snow could be.

During the winter months in Indiana, some amount of snow accumulation is common at least two or three times. What struck me as I stood outside was how something as predictable and ordinary as snow could be peaceful and still, and foster such an extraordinary spiritual experience.

Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary is part of daily life as Christians. Every day, God pursues and seeks hearts. He does use big "mountain-top" experiences, and the highs and lows of life to show His presence and lead us closer to Him. However, it is in the everyday that we find Him pursuing us with an unwavering and unconditional love.

In “Introduction to the Devout Life,” St. Francis de Sales wrote, “It is an error, or rather a heresy, to wish to banish the devout life from the regiment soldier, the mechanics shop, the court of princes, or the home of married people … wherever we may be we can and should aspire to the perfect life.”

It is in the everyday that we can grow and allow God into every aspect of our lives - even the ordinary day-in and day-out. In every circumstance we can unite ourself and grow closer to Jesus. He is the greatest example of one who lived an ordinary life devoted to serving His Father.

My husband and I bought prayer journals for our two daughters, ages four and three. We try to take time to write their prayers in the journals at night. Each page of the journal starts out, “Dear God, Hi it’s me,” and has three prayer prompts, “Today I’m thinking about;” “I want to pray for;” and “I want to say thank you for….

It is our daughters’ prayers that remind me just how special the ordinary things are. Their reflections and prayers such as, “I want to say thank you for the solar system,” or “I am thinking about the snow,” invite God in to show the beauty and awe of His creation and divine will for each of us.

The three prayer journal prompts have helped me see the ordinary and discover how God is using my normal routine to expose His extraordinary power and love for all of His creation. I now stop more frequently to listen and see God; He always shows me something new. Until recently, I did not have a particular affection for snow; but now, I see it in a new light. It is amazing what can be discovered with an attention that is God-centered! When we see and understand God’s extraordinary power and love, a deeper faith can be discovered that will accompany us with great joy on the journey to holiness.

“Understand this well: there is something holy, something divine, hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to each one of you to discover it.” – St. Josemaria Escriva

Brea Cannon is an Evansville diocese native and member of St. Peter Parish in Montgomery with her husband, three children and extended family.