Wow, Lent is less than one week away. I was reading something by Cardinal Neumann the other day and I found a point he made interesting. He said something to the effect that while the world had a feast then fast mindset, the Church held to one of fast then feast.
The world wants what it desires now and will deal with the consequences later. The Church desires to prepare itself now, to be ready to receive what it desires later. We see this in the Church in many areas, and at many levels.
Kneeling we say, “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you …” before receiving the Eucharist, we fast an hour before celebrating Mass, we fast in Fridays before we rest on Sunday, Good Friday and then Easter, and celebrate Lent before Eastertide.
Besides fasting each Lent, I try to commit myself to some reading and my family and I make our way through a weekly devotional we put together.
The following are books I read or have read during Lent and recommend highly. Follow the link for each if you're interested in getting more information.
In Conversation with God (Vol. 2: Lent, Holy Week, Eastertide)
- Francis Fernandez
This book is the second volume of a seven-volume set. It has 3 reflections for each day on the Gospel reading for that day. I love this set of books.
- St. Augustine
This is St. Augustine’s autobiography, a wonderful and moving book where he (a bishop) bears his story and his soul. There is a newer translation that I have heard does a great job at finding a balance between readability and beauty.
The Way of the Cross
- St. Josemaria Escriva
This is a great book to use when praying the stations alone. It has a picture of each station, a reflection on it, and then 5 questions the reader can use for meditation. It’s a small but rugged book.
Heart of the World
- Hans Urs von Balthasar
Hans Urs von Balthasar writes about Christ’s passion and God’s love in a deep, poetic and readable way. It can be a tough book to get your hands on.
The Sinner's Guide
- Venerable Louis of Grenada
And if you are looking for a challenge, there’s this classic. After reading this book you will see yourself in a whole new light, and know exactly what needs to change. The story goes that it converted a million people when it was printed. And you know what? I believe it.
So what do you do or plan to do for Lent? Do you have any other books you’d recommend?