By Ann Jonas
Lent is a time for holy reading, reflection and spiritual growth. Here are some new publications that are great resources for Lenten reading.
“The Handy Little Guide to Lent” by Michelle Jones Schroeder; Our Sunday Visitor; November 2020; 64 pp.; $5.95
Our Sunday Visitor has published several little booklets that explain various aspects of the Catholic faith, including adoration, confession, the Holy Spirit, and now, Lent. Author Michelle Jones Schroeder helps readers discover, or rediscover, what the Lenten season is all about, covering prayer, almsgiving, fasting and the Lenten liturgical changes among other things. With 16 brief segments, this easy-to-read little book is a nice introduction or, for some, a reintroduction to this important liturgical season.
“Surrender All: An Illuminated Journal Retreat Through the Stations of the Cross” by Jen Norton; Ave Maria Press; November 2020; 160 pp; $15.95
Jen Norton is an award-winning painter who focuses on Catholic art. In her new book, her eye-catching illustrations offer readers a unique version of the Stations of the Cross — in her words, “one less about rational thought and more about feeling.” The book is designed to engage readers in creative journaling while using Scripture and Norton’s original reflections and prayers to enrich the Lenten journey. “Enter the Gate: Hosanna!” (the book’s prologue) and “In the Garden: Resurrection!” (the epilogue) bookend the 14 Stations of the Cross. “Surrender All” gives us a new, more active approach to practicing the traditional Way of the Cross.
“Messages of Letting Go for Lent 2021: 3-Minute Devotions” by Michael White and Tom Corcoran; Ave Maria Press, August 2020; 64 pp.; $1.95
Readers who are looking for a quick daily Lenten devotional will find this small book valuable. Father Michael White and Tom Corcoran collaborated to write the bestselling “Rebuilt” and other books on parish ministry and leadership; their new book focuses on letting go of sin, bad habits and grudges, and instead, trusting in God. Each day’s entry, other than Saturdays, begins with a short Scripture reading, a thoughtful reflection and then a prayer suggestion. The passage for each Saturday is simply an appropriate psalm. Starting with Ash Wednesday and ending with Holy Saturday, this book will help readers let go of negativity and hard feelings as a Lenten practice but also going forward.
“Where the Eye Alights: Phrases for the Forty Days of Lent” by Marilyn McEntyre; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing; January 2021; 144 pp.; $19.99
Marilyn McEntyre, an author, writing teacher and retreat leader, has written numerous books of meditations and poetry. Her new book combines these genres, with McEntyre using 40 short phrases from Scripture and poetry for her inspiration. “Where the Eye Alights” is designed to be read on all the days of Lent other than Sundays. Each day has a two-to-three-page reflection that will give readers the opportunity to pause and reflect. In the book’s preface, McEntyre explains, “The reflections I offer here come from a very simple practice of daily meditation on whatever has come to mind in the quiet of early morning.” This book offers a thoughtful daily contemplation that will be especially meaningful for readers of poetry.
Ann Jonas is the general book buyer at the St. John’s University/College of St. Benedict Bookstores.