The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spiritual Reading for Lent

A few days ago I promised to share my Lenten reading list with you, but in the busyness of this past week, I quite honestly forgot. And then, this afternoon, as I sat down to begin one of the books on my list, I suddenly remembered my promise, so here goes...

What Jesus Saw from the Cross, by A. G. Sertillanges. This first book on my list is one I read every couple of years, always during Lent. First published in France in 1930, it's become a spiritual classic, and is now available in an English translation from Sophia Institute Press. It is an intense, Gospel-based account of Jesus' last hours and places you there in the midst of the crowd, alongside Jesus' accusers, and with the disciples as Our Lord dies on the Cross for love of us. It's a book all of us should read as we make our spiritual journey during these weeks of Lent.

Death on a Friday Afternoon, by Richard John Neuhaus. This book by the late Fr. Neuhaus offers a series of meditations on the mystery and wonder of the events of Good Friday, the day at the very center of all human history. It is a wonderful book that will make you pray and think.

The Journey Toward God, by Benedict J. Groeschel, CFR and Kevin Perrotta. This is a marvelous book, a different book, and in a real sense, an ecumenical book. It offers the reader an anthology of selections from the great spiritual writers of Christianity -- Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant -- arranged as the various stages of our spiritual journey toward God. I look forward to reading it again in the weeks to come.

The Joy of Knowing Christ, by Pope Benedict XVI. This little book of meditations on the Gospel explores the God who knows and loves us and who wants us to know and love Him. It is a book of Good News in which the Holy Father introduces us to the truth of the Gospel and its invitation to live its fullness on our journey to eternal happiness. Each of the book's 55 meditations is only a few pages in length, so it's the kind of book you can carry with you and read whenever you have a few minutes.

In addition to the Bible, these then are the books I intend to read this year during Lent. I find it best to set aside a specific hour each day for Lenten spiritual reading; otherwise the time just slips away almost unnoticed, and suddenly it's time for bed and I'm too tired to read. My favorite time is early in the morning, right after Morning Prayer, but then I'm pretty much a morning person.

Have a blessed and spiritually productive Lent...

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