Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Let's Talk Lenten Reading

So it seems that God possibly had other things in mind for me?

Our book club is reading The Fathers of the Church by Mike Aquilina and I have found myself really pondering the early fathers' writing as I read a little each morning during my reflection time. This second time round is proving extremely fruitful. Truly, spending some time with the fathers contemplating the trials they faced is a more relevant project than one might expect.

Also, Paul Among the People is a book I just can't put down. It truly places Paul's words in a different context for me as well as gives me much to ponder about our own modern culture in comparison with those long ago days ... and, of course, what it means to seek God under all those circumstances.


Has anyone begun thinking of reading something specifically for Lent?

I have two books in mind. One is This Tremendous Lover, a classic that I received thanks to Aquinas and More's wonderful reading program but to my shame have not delved much into. (I was deflected into reading Robert Alter's incomparable translation and commentary of Genesis ... I have never had scripture come alive for me in the way that translation achieved.)

The other book is a book of meditations designed to facilitate lectio divina during Lent. I received Conversing with God in Lent: Praying the Sunday Mass Readings with Lectio Divina for review and, of course, it is perfectly timed.

I also have two different books with meditations on Jesus' seven last words, which would naturally be very appropriate. The Seven Last Words of Jesus I purchased but haven't read and I received a review copy of Hope from the Cross: Reflections on Jesus' Seven Last Words. Both of these might be good to consider as lectio divina subjects during the weekdays.

Father Dwight Longenecker, whose books Adventures in Orthodoxy and St. Benedict and St. Therese I enjoyed immensely, sent another suggestion to consider. I have read very good reviews of this book around the blogosphere.

The Gargoyle Code

For those who have read The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, this looks like a great choice. If you haven't read The Screwtape Letters ... don't wait until Lent to begin. Go get it now!

Here is last year's list with other good suggestions.
I will say that I did read all the books I mentioned for my personal Lenten list and made a few notes for anyone who is interested. Unfortunately, due to the Haloscan changeover all the comments from last year are gone.

That just leaves us more room to make suggestions here ... or to comment upon your own reading plans. Speak up everyone!


  1. Tante Leonie2/8/10, 3:20 PM

    I recommend two books of sermons by Fleming Rutledge:

    The Undoing of Death and The Seven Last Words from The Cross.

  2. Thanks for the post on this subject.

    I have found a reduced interest in reading fiction lately so I have been trying more devotional outside of the Lenten season.

    Right now I am reading, Kempis' Imitation of Christ. Although there really is nothing "new", here I find the direct language and message rather refreshing.

    I also have Bringing the Gospel of Matthew to Life. I know you have quoted that extensively.

    I am looking for additional books on personal prayer. Kinda a big subject, huh?

  3. I like Prayer for Beginners by Peter Kreeft and also Beginning to Pray by Anthony Bloom.

  4. My serious Lenten books ...

    1. Dante's Inferno (yes, it's true ... I've never read it)
    2. My Life with the Saints (ditto from above)
    3. Another Karen Armstrong book ... any of them

    My less-serious Lenten book ...

    4. Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?

    Blessings ~~~~

  5. Hi Julie!

    Thank you for the link to Vivificat!. I really appreciate it.

    I recommend a fiction book for Lenten reading: Fr. Elijah: An Apocalypse. Great work!


  6. On Dante - I read the John Ciardi translation. Hell and Purgatory gave me much food for thought but I found Heaven deadly dull. Steven Riddle commented likewise.

    Hi Teofilo, you are very welcome. You have a wonderful resource there. :-)

  7. An excellent book that should become a future Lenten classic is Pope Benedict's "Journey to Easter". The first few chapters are his commentary/meditations on the Mass readings of the first week and a half of Lent. I'm a few chapters into the rest of the book, which has wonderful insights and meditations about Jesus himself.

    Therese M.