Lent can be such a rich experience if we make time for it. Something I like to do each year is choose a book or two that will accompany me through the season. Reading even 20 minutes a day grounds me in the spirit of Lent and helps me to see things with fresh eyes.
Here are a few books that make good Lenten companions:
Sacred Journey 2020, by Glenn Byer
Lent is a journey we take every year, but it’s not the same journey each time. Whatever has shaped us in the previous year comes with us on our travels, and what lies ahead is still a mystery. In this booklet of thoughtful reflections on the scripture readings for each Lenten day, Glenn Byer invites us to consider the year we are leaving behind, trust the journey, and expect the unexpected!
This modern approach to the examination of conscience is rooted in the words of Pope Francis. The reflections draw us deeper into why we do what we do and how we can bring healing to our way of being in the world. Scripture passages and questions encourage us to look deeper within ourselves as we seek to grow.
My Heart of Flesh: Choosing Life in the Midst of the Mess, by Leah Perrault
Suffering has a way of overwhelming us, but we can find our way back to a place of hope and gratitude for God’s many gifts. Opening our hearts to the people around us, accepting support and engaging in our faith are good ways to start. This “roadmap for living through life’s many deaths” can offer some ways to find healing.
Pilgrim Year series: Lent, by Steve Bell
Through words and music, Winnipeg singer/songwriter Steve Bell explores things we all grapple with: love, loss, suffering, joy… In his lyrical seven-volume Pilgrim Year series, he travels through the seasons of the liturgical year. Lent delves into the attachments and desires that lead us away from God and bring us to discover new insights. (If you like to plan ahead, two other volumes in the series are Holy Week and Easter.)
Living Stewardship: How to Be Grateful, Generous and in the Moment, by Darrin J.G. Gurr
For Christians, stewardship is about far more than giving or managing time or money. It’s a spirituality that helps us discover the meaning of our lives. Gratitude, generosity and living in the present moment draw us closer to God, creation and each other in a spirit of joy and abundance. Fr. Darrin Gurr offers a fresh and inspiring look at this important aspect of our faith.
A Recipe for Faith: Choosing and Using the Best Ingredients, by Anne Jamieson
Faith and cooking have a lot in common: both call us to have a trusted method to follow, to learn from the masters, and to taste and see that it is good! Using faith ingredients that appeal to the senses and satisfy our hunger for a relationship with God are key to the process. This homey book celebrates our faith “recipes” and helps us make them even better.
The Psalms for Our Lives (3 volumes), by Archbishop Paul-André Durocher
We hear the psalms proclaimed at every Mass. But how do these ancient texts fit our lives today? This three-volume series (covering all 150 psalms) looks at each psalm from four angles: a literal reading; its meaning in light of the Christian scriptures; how the text calls us to act today; and how it propels us into the future. Each commentary offers some ideas for personal reflection on the many themes of the psalms: love, joy, anger, fear, hope and much more.
Reupholstered Psalms: Ancient Songs Sung New, by Greg Kennedy SJ
Although the Psalms are timeless, it can be helpful to have them “reupholstered” for readers today so we can see them with fresh eyes. In his modern versions of the first 50 psalms, Greg Kennedy speaks of climate change, terrorism, consumerism and other current concerns. The structure of the originals remains, but the outer appearance has been updated to help us better understand their message.
–Anne Louise Mahoney, Managing Editor, English books, Novalis