The beginning of Lent is coming up a week from Wednesday. I love the seasons of Lent and Advent because they invite us to a deeper level of reflection, a retreat in the midst of everyday life. The 40 days of Lent comes from the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert in preparation for his life of public ministry. It is a time of increased prayer and purification that we find in other religious traditions such as Ramadan and Yom Kippur. This season gives us an opportunity to move more deeply into practices that are inviting us to deeper commitment and in the process prepare ourselves to listen for and respond to the call of the holy that emerges from within us.
This is the book I am going to be reading mostly this season, I like the variety of quotes from different sources: Bread And Wine: Readings For Lent And Easter
Other books I have enjoyed:
Show Me The Way: Readings for Each Day of Lent (readings from Henri Nouwen)
Lent: The Sunday Readings : Reflections and Stories (Lent) (stories by Megan McKenna)
The website Sacred Space, produced by the Irish Jesuits offers daily prayers in 21 different languages and St. Anthony Messenger, produced by the Franciscans, also has a number of Lenten resources.
I will begin my Lenten reflections here on the blog next week with a homily I was privileged to share last year at my previous church on Ash Wednesday. In it I call for a commitment to lamenting sorrows and injustice and I think this is a practice I am going to return to since we are sadly still at war. One of the things I suggest in the homily is that Lent is not meant to be a second chance at New Year’s resolutions but a call to something much deeper.
What are your favorite books or web resources for the season of Lent? What practices are you considering for these 40 holy days?
RECOMMENDED RESOURCES ADDED: (emailed to me by readers)
Springtime of the Soul Lent 2007 by Ministry of the Arts (a great online catalog of arts resources)
Wrestling With Presence: Reflections for Lent 2007 by Pax Christi
Daily Lenten Meditations for Justice and Peace by Catholic Social Justice (originally published for Lent 1998, so don’t follow the dates listed)
The Lenten Labyrinth: Daily Reflections for the Journey of Lent (Daily Reflections for the 40-Day Lenten Journey) by Edward Hays (a wonderful storyteller)
Sacred Space for Lent 2007 (published by the Jesuits)
Quantum Grace: Lenten Reflections on Creation and Connectedness
Living Lent: Meditations for These Forty Days by Barbara Cawthorne Crafton
And I forgot to add that one of my favorite movies for the Lenten season is Chocolat, the sermon the priest gives at the end on Easter is short but beautiful.
-Christine Valters Paintner @ Abbey of the Arts
I am delighted to hear that Gannet! You are most welcome.
I ordered Bread and Wine for my Lenten reading — thanks so much for the recommendations.
Beautiful April! Isn’t it wonderful how sacred texts can keep revealing deeper and deeper layers of meaning?
Blessings to you, Christine
Hi Christine, I had to read 1 Cor. 13 for a funeral recently and in the middle of the reading had one of those epiphanies where it was as if I was hearing it for the first time. I had to control myself not to shriek something inappropiate like, “this is too amazing!” I decided then and there that I would use the chapter as a lLenten discipline and read it everyone morning and reflect on it while I journaled. who knows? But it felt like I could never stop learning from those words. Blessings, April
Kayce, So glad this is helpful for you! I look forward to seeing how Lent unfolds.
Hi Pam and welcome! Thanks for leaving a comment and your lovely practice. It reminds me a lot of what lectio divina is meant to be, a living out of the word you hear in scripture. I am grateful for your sharing!
I have been reading your blog for awhile. I think the poetry drew me in at the beginning, but I have enjoyed your pictures and thoughts as well. One Lenten practice that I have had for a number of years now is “living a word.” For example, I have chosen hope or trust or patience, some quality that I want God to strengthen in me. Then, I focus my prayers throughout Lent on that quality and try to “practice”” being more patient or hopeful. I often write the word invisibly on my hand, so that I feel like I am carrying it around with me. I have found this a very helpful way of having a sense of accomplishment through Lent. You never actually “achieve” anything specific, but you can feel the growth. I have never heard of anyone else doing this, so thought that I would share it.
christine–i so appreciate you sharing resources. i loved spending the time of advent with you and look forward to lent also. i have visited this post three times now and the first two times got so sidetracked trying to order a book that i ran out of time to leave a comment.
the seasons of advent and lent were not well addressed in my earlier years so i love stepping into them further and with new perspective. thank you!
Hi Tess, yes – a wonderful idea to practice embodiment. I actually did some writing last year on “practicing resurrection” for Easter because the resurrection narratives are all about the body. You’ve inspired me to dig those out again! Blessings to you, Christine
Christine, one way I want to mark Lent this year is by way of physical meditations: walking, postures, perhaps dance if I can overcome my self-consciousness! I’ve never done much of this before, but Easter revolves around Christ’s physical body and for me at least this is a good time to begin trying to be more awaren of my physical self in prayer – a kind of holistic sense of our human sacredness.