Lent is a time for reflection, holy reading, and spiritual growth. A Way of the Cross companion, a Lenten contemplative book and a daily reflection book for teens are all new books for our Lenten journey. Adults looking for a daily reflection book will once again find that the Liturgical Press publication “Not by Bread Alone” by Mary DeTurris Poust is still one of the best for day-to-day Lenten reading.
Jean Vanier is the founder of L’Arche, an international federation of communities where people with and without disabilities live and work together. His Way of the Cross companion blends the traditional version of the Way of the Cross with reflections that consider issues in the contemporary world. Each station has the conventional beginning and ending, including the corresponding Stabat Mater verse, but the reflection and prayer are penned by Vanier, inviting us to see Jesus in our suffering brothers and sisters today. Full-page illustrations by René-Marie Castaing (1896-1943) dramatically illuminate each station. Vanier has written many books; this one provides a new approach to a time-honored tradition.
The Word Among Us Press has published a new series of booklets titled “Something More Faith Series,” designed for “individuals or parish groups that have limited time but are looking for a life changing relationship with the Lord.” The fourth in the series is a short Lenten handbook, which is divided into five sessions; each session is designed to take under an hour. A Scripture passage begins each session, followed by a reflection by Deacon Strohm, who is a deacon for the Archdiocese of Chicago and well-known public speaker. Each session ends with questions for reflection and discussion and a “Lenten Resolution” which gives readers practical things to do to further enhance the week’s theme. This booklet provides excellent insight for a more meaningful Lent.
This small paperback offers daily readings and activities for teens to practice during Lent. The McGradys (a husband and wife team) are youth ministry experts and state in their book’s introduction that they want to help teens make meaningful changes in their lives and not just practice half-hearted Lenten sacrifices: “We want to help you break that cycle of lame Lents and instead take you on a journey of sorts that we hope brings you closer to Jesus.” On weekdays, a short reflection on a Scripture passage, usually the Psalms, is given (just a few, short lines) and then a couple of paragraphs of related points to consider. Then a “Grow Your Soul” section suggests actions to take, along with further reading and a brief closing prayer. On Saturdays, readers are invited to reflect on the week, using three questions pertaining to the week’s theme. On Sundays, readers are given three simple challenges: to build their prayer life, make intentional sacrifices, or give of themselves in some way, all based on the Gospel passage listed. The daily “feel ambitious?” segment offers additional reading and activities for those who want to do even more. This booklet gives teens practical and prayerful ways to observe the Lenten season.