5 Books to Accompany You During Lent
Lent is just on the horizon - a mere two weeks away. Are you prepared? I'm not. I usually have a few ideas floating around in my mind about things I'd like to do, things I'd like to take up, and things I'd like to read but I'm not great at sitting down, writings things out and sticking to them. This year I want to be a little better prepared and perhaps, like me, you want to be better prepared, or, perhaps, you already have your plans ready. Either way, today's post provides five suggestions for Lenten reading. This list is not in any particular order, but offers a few different books with different structures and approaches that might prove to be particularly fruitful for meditation during this Lenten season.
1. The Refugee from Heaven by Servant of God Cora Evans
This work is an extraordinary tome. Cora Evans was graced with many different visions of Christ's life during ecstasy. The Refugee from Heaven is a novelized account of some of her visions of Christ's life, largely centered on Christ's ministry, the apostles, and culminates in the events of Holy Week. If you are skeptical of the visions of mystics, this book will still provide many things to reflect on and gives life, beauty, humor, and poignancy to the stark details of the Gospel. Reading The Refugee from Heaven this Lent will help expand your imagination for meditation on the events of Christ's life.
2. A Time of Renewal by Mother Mary Francis P.C.C.
This book was the first of Mother Mary Francis' that I picked up and it is no overstatement to say it changed my life. It is arranged as brief daily reflections for each day of Lent. These reflections were originally a series of conferences given to the sisters at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery that Mother Mary Francis was abbess of in New Mexico. There is profound reflection on the gospel, penetrating insight to the Life of Christ, and generous and direct application of spiritual maxims to daily life. It is practical, it is beautiful, it is helpful.
3. The Seven Last Words by Venerable Fulton Sheen
Fulton Sheen was an incredible orator and writer. This work is one of the great spiritual classics of the Twentieth century. In it, Sheen goes thoughtfully and meditatively through the words Christ spoke from the Cross. This book provides great reflection on the culmination of Christ's salvific action. It will pierce your heart and lead you closer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
4. Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales
This spiritual classic covers the basics of what it means to live a devout life. Whether you are a catechumen preparing to receive the Sacraments during the Easter Vigil or a lifelong Catholic seeking to advance in your prayer life, Introduction to the Devout Life can bear fruit in your heart. It covers what it means to live devoutly from receiving the Sacraments well to the virtues for which we all ought to strive to ideas on fighting temptation. It is an excellent source of practical wisdom for every season, including Lent.
5. The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis
Originally written for seminarians and priest, this work is a spiritual classic that has been a consolation and encouragement to many. In brief, approachable meditations Thomas a Kempis discusses the life and teaching of Christ as well as the virtues he embodies and how we can imitate him in our ordinary lives. Practical and direct, these meditations still lead to loftier musings on Our Lord and how we might become more and more like him.
*Bonus: Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold by C.S.Lewis
This novel is not your average recommendation for Lenten reading, however, it has been something I have read as Lenten preparations for Holy Week for three years. This novel is a retelling of the Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche. It tells the story of Orual, the sister of beautiful Psyche, who is sacrificed to the gods. The book explores themes of betrayal, selfishness, sacrificial love, guilt, and conversion. It is a book to read when you are ready to confront yourself with all your faults. Though not the first book most Lewis fans think of, it is acknowledged by many as his masterpiece.