Ok, I've been trying to finalize my plans for Lent. No, I've not decided totally yet, still dithering.
Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday, after all and Wednesday, you got it: Ash Wednesday.
I always do like to have a few books set aside to thoughtfully read for Lent. I mean, I always have books set aside to read, and I like to think that I am thoughtful....but for Lent, I prefer to get a little more um, intentional, about it all.
To that end, I have been sifting through our bookshelves and setting aside some choices to start, or start again, and finding a few of the good books I have read. And, so, in the spirit of the season, I thought I might throw a few choices up in a post, in case anyone else is doing the same sort of last minute browsing. These are all really worthwhile reads for Lent, from a Lenten perspective, as are of course any saint's bio etc. Not all the books are explicity Catholic, though, as you know, I do have a bias. But many bridge denominations, they are after all primarly about deepening your faith and spiritual life, moving closer toward God. So, take a look, you might find some interesting, I can vouch for each of these!
So, here goes: Reading possibilities for Lent:
Fire Within, by Thomas Dubay : One of the best books I've read, especially for Lent. Deep, challenging, powerful stuff. One of the ones at the top of my list of great books, for years and years. I Believe in Love, : Great book, a mini retreat in a book. Very powerful. Simple but very good. Don't be put off by the simple title, it is still full of deep richness to dive into, especially this time of year. Prayer Primer, Igniting a Fire Within, by Thomas Dubay: Just a very good oversight book on prayer, perfect for this season and for deepening your prayer life. I can't listen to him on tape or audio, I can't do it. But his writing is excellent. Introduction to the Devout Life, by St. Francis de Sales: Awesome book, life changing. You need to get used to the literary device of addressing the reader as "philothea" (I kept thinking, "who?" for the longest time...yes, I am slow...). But then, it's just so so good.Journey Toward God, Fr. Benedict Groeschel: A great overview of spiritual writing. Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox writers, all reflecting on man's ongoing journey toward God. 'Tis the season,that's what Lent is all about.Lenten Companion, Magnificat: Another daily reader to help you walk through Lent, mindfully. Magnificat's resources are always terrific, beautiful and one of my favorite things!Mother Teresa, A complete Authorized Biography: Kathryn Spink: This would of course fall into the saint's bio category of Lenten reading. But well worth it, anything on Mother Teresa, one of my all time fav's. And any bio of any other saint as well, they always show us great examples of trying to live and love God, despite circumstances and their all too human selves. I love that. The King, Crucified and Risen, by Fr. Benedict Groeschel: A daily reader, short meditations for each day of Lent to Easter. Fr. Greoschel doesn't mince words, he's a priest from Brooklyn who started the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. He's terrific.Heaven in our Hands, Fr. Benedict Greoschel: another good one on the beatitudes, daily life. He considers them revolutionary, if you live them daily. No small feat, worth considering for Lent.He Leadeth Me, Fr. Walter Ciszek, S.J.: Just an amazing true story of his life, faith, imprisonment in Russia, and the challenges to and depth of his faith to make it through.In Conversation with God, Francis Fernandez: This is a set of daily mediations, an awesome resource. The full set covers the entire liturgical year, in seven books, and isn't cheap. But you can buy just the book for Lent/Easter and use it for Lent. These are always most excellent.Happy Are You Poor, the Simple Life and Spiritual Freedom, by Thomas Dubay: One of the most challenging and humbling books I've ever read, particularly as our lives are anything but simple and this book challenges most of the ways we (our household) live. Very difficult, but perhaps just right for Lent.
Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict XVI: Well, the title says it all, doesn't it? Haven't made my all the way through this one, maybe it's on my list!
Journey to Easter, Pope Benedict XVI: Again, another on my to read list, but again, he writes beautifully and clearly. Well worth a read.The Lord, by Romano Guardini: On Coffeedoc's list and table. I will read it after he finishes. He says it is very good, perfect for Lent.
So, these are a few of my book recommendations, if you have a mind to do some Lenten reading. Take the recommendations for what they are worth: you know me, you know I am a distractable middle aged mom, Catholic, and one who struggles daily with all sorts of moods and chores and bad habits. I'm no scholar and no expert, but for whatever it's worth, I did enjoy each of these and am in the process of enjoying the others. And I wish us all a fruitful Lent!