Wow! It always seems that Lent arrives just when I need it most!
We are now in our second semester and here, in Delaware, the temperature is hovering in forties with brilliant sunshine!
It always happens that I feel so dry right about now; I feel overwhelmed. Then, by the grace of God, in comes the season of Lent. God is so good to us. He gave us an entire season to ready our hearts for the most glorious of all times: Easter, Jesus’ Resurrection.
Being the great bibliophile that I am, my knee jerk reaction to preparation is to line up a reading program!
The following is my humble attempt to offer some suggestions to help you and your family ready their hearts this Lent.
One of my favorite sources for ideas is the fabulous book, Around the Year with the Von Trapp Family by Maria Augusta von Trapp. A dear customer lovingly gave me a copy over ten years ago when it was long out of print and I treasure it. Now it’s back in print!
Maria offers this in her book: A Lenten Reading Program for yourself and the children.
This idea is echoed in the booklet Celebrating the Faith in the Home – The Forty Days of Lent, by Teresa Zepeda and Laurie Gill. Sadly, this is out of print. But I have an old copy so I share marvelous ideas gleaned from this book along with other out of print treasures. I also add ideas from my own family (or domestic church).
“Divide our reading into three parts: something for the mind, something for the heart, something for the soul.”– Maria Augusta Trapp
Something for the MIND:
Something about Church History, or the sacraments, ethics, dogma, scholarly life of Jesus, or encyclicals.
This category is easy to fit into your daily school time as part of your religion class. Just pick any books from your religion curriculum or read a chapter each day of Lent from one of the following books:
Angel Food for Boys and Girls by Fr. Gerald T. Brennan
St. Patrick’s Summer A Children’s Adventure Catechism byMarigold Hunt
St. Joseph Picture Books Series by Father Lovasik (Catholic Book Publishing)
For Teens and Adults
Pick a favorite Pope and read several of his encyclicals (just go to www.vativan.va)
The Revolution Against Christendom by Warren Carroll, or any of his other titles
Ten Dates Every Catholic Should Know by Diane Moczar
What Jesus Saw From the Cross by A. G. Sertillanges
Something for the HEART:
I truly believe the saints call us! Pick out two or three favorite family saints from any saint collection you have handy at home and read a chapter each night! These saints then can be your family patron saints for the liturgical year.
Vision Books – Wonderful series of Saint Stories written by well-know and beloved authors
Encounter the Saints Series by the Daughters of St. Paul
Twenty Tales of Irish Saints by Alice Curtayne
For Teens and Adults:
St. Gianna Molla by Pietro Molla (Yes, written by her husband, lovely!)
Edmund Campion: A Life by Evelyn Waugh
Any of the Louis de Wohl titles, my favorite one is about Catherine of Sienna titled Lay Siege to Heaven.
Something for the SOUL:
This requires spiritual reading of a high order from works of the saints or saintly writers, prayer books, religious poetry, or picture books of the life of our Lord.
My Path to Heaven by Caryll Houselander ( This is actually an mini retreat for kids!)
Speak Lord I am Listening By Christine Haapala
Program for Achieving Character Education– Faith is the best way to teach virtuous behavior
Follow Me (Stations of the Cross meditations with companion Saints that exemplify the virtues portrayed along the via delarosa)
For Teens and Adults:
The Story of a Soul :The Autobiography of the Little Flower
The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis
Handbook of Prayers: Student Edition compiled by James Socias
…and specifically for Lenten meals, try:
Twelve Months of Monastery Soups by Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette
A Continual Feast: A Cookbook to Celebrate the Joys of Family &Faith throughout the Christian Year by Evelyn Vitz