Friday, January 15, 2016

Lenten Reading: Two New Books to Consider

Lent begins early this year — February 10.

We might as well begin thinking about what to read. These two are a good start.

Between Midnight and Dawn: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Lent, Holy Week, and EastertideBetween Midnight and Dawn: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Lent, Holy Week, and Eastertide by Sarah Arthur
Between Midnight and Dawn uses your imagination to draw you deeper into God’s presence. Join poets and novelists from across the centuries as you travel through the liturgical seasons of Lent, Holy Week, and Eastertide. This collection of daily and weekly readings from classic and contemporary literature uses both new voices and well-loved classics such as Dostoevsky, Rossetti, and Eliot. 
I really loved Sarah Arthur's first devotional, At the Still Point, which was for ordinary time. It was an unusual devotional with thematically arranged classic and contemporary fiction and poetry. Of course, that was right down my alley and it became a favorite devotional. I can vouch that Arthur does a wonderful job of choosing pieces that speak both to poetic or literary content and to the Christian message.

At the time I reviewed it, I wished for devotionals to cover the rest of the liturgical year. Arthur obliged with  Light Upon Light for Advent. Now with Between Midnight and Dawn for Lent and Easter, my wishes have come true. I'll be using this throughout Lent and Easter.

Seven Last Words: An Invitation to a Deeper Friendship with JesusSeven Last Words: An Invitation to a Deeper Friendship with Jesus by James Martin
Each meditation is dedicated to one of the seven sayings:

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

“Today you will be with me in Paradise.”

“Woman, this is your son” . . . “This is your mother.”

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

“I thirst.”

“It is finished.”

“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”

Jesus’s final statements, words that are deeply cherished by his followers, exemplify the depth of his suffering but also provide a key to his empathy and why we can connect with him so deeply.
There can hardly be any better Lenten reading than meditations on the seven last words of Christ. This book originated when James Martin was invited by Cardinal Dolan to give a series of Good Friday reflections last year. Having read several I feel we are lucky to have them for deeper contemplation. I will be using this book during Passion Week this year.


  1. I got the Sarah Arthur book based on this post. I had gotten her At The Still Point and really liked it. I didn't know she had a couple other books along the same line. Thanks.

    Last year I read Richard John Neuhaus's Death in the Afternoon: Meditations on the Last Seven Words of Jesus from the Cross and thought it was great. i highly recommend it.

    1. We are definitely in synch! Last Friday I ordered Death in the Afternoon from Amazon ... thinking ahead for my own reading. After your recommendation I look forward to it more than ever! :-)