Lenten Reading List

What am I giving up for Lent? Well, technically nothing.

My answer is this senator, nothing.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist that since one of the cable channels was running the first two Godfather movies back to back a week or so ago. While I was channel surfing as I often do, I landed in the middle of that scene. It’s been running through my head as I considered this blog post.

Lent is the time of year that Catholics prepare for Good Friday and Easter. It’s not what you find in you belly button when you’ve been wearing a new white t-shirt all day. It’s also not what I did when I let you borrow my lawn mower. I want my mower back BTW. It’s partially based on Our Lord spending forty days in the desert fasting and praying. It’s also a time for

Jesus’ temptation reveals the way in which the Son of God is Messiah, contrary to the way Satan proposes to him and the way men wish to attribute to him. This is why Christ vanquished the Tempter for us: “For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sinning.” By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert. CCC #540

There’s also a tradition of “giving something up” for Lent. Some folks give up sweets, others television and yet others beer or coffee. No matter what it is, it’s usually something that people enjoy. They give it up to take a share in the redemptive suffering of Christ, by voluntarily missing out on something they enjoy.

Well, this year I’ve decided to do something a little different. Instead of a “to-don’t” list, I’ve come up with somewhat of a “to-do” list. I’ve picked out ten books that I will work hard to get read during these forty days.

Here’s the list of books I’ve put together for Lent. They’re books I already have in my stack of “to read”, and not necessarily titles that are “Lent related”. There’s no particular order here either.

Signs of Life: 40 Catholic Customs and Their Biblical Roots By Scott Hahn

Prayer Primer : Igniting a Fire Within By Fr. Thomas Dubay

The Church Fathers: From Clement of Rome to Augustine By Pope Benedict XVI

God Is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life By Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)

Signs and Mysteries: Revealing Ancient Christian Symbols By Mike Aquilina and Lea Marie Ravotti

The History of the Church: From Christ to Constantine (Penguin Classics) By Eusebius

Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother of the Civilization of Love By Carl Anderson and Eduardo Chavez

Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church By H. W. Crocker III

The Confessions of Saint Augustine (Image Book) By by St Augustine

City of God By St Augustine

I know this is a bold plan, but I don’t mind being bold for my faith. The last three titles make this especially so. There are forty days in Lent (not including Sundays), so I basically have four days for each book. Some of these will go faster than that. We’re four days in and I’ve already made a huge dent in Signs of Life. I plan to finish it tomorrow and get a long way with Church Fathers, so I am off to a good start. As I finish these, I’ll try to do a writeup on each one here on WT while the book is still fresh on my mind.

So, am I a loser for not picking out a few things to give up for Lent? Well, when you consider that I don’t have exactly the best in reading comprehension skills and some of these books are pretty deep, I do have a tough row to hoe. I won’t be able to keep up with my normal leisurely activities. Less television, no video games and a shortage of time for online actives all constitute a sacrifice to me. Better yet, its all going to better myself in a number of ways as well. Plus I won’t have those lines from all those movies floating through my head, since I won’t be doing any channel surfing.

I am hoping that by the time I get to the real meaty books at the end, I will have gotten into a groove that will push me to the end of the list. With that hopefulness in mind (we should always be full of hope), I also have a few C. S. Lewis books that I’d like to read if I finish early. Like I said, I’m being bold.

Well, I guess I should finish this writing stuff and get to reading!

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3 Responses to Lenten Reading List

  1. Yvonne Souza says:

    Sound like an awesome plan!

  2. I have read pretty much all of those books and think you have a good plan going.

    Though City of God is a pretty long book even abridged. A little difficult to go through – but fruitful – there is a lot of important things going on in that book that still apply today.

    His Confessions of course is one of the best and most important books I have ever read. Pure genius in being the first spiritual biography. Just thinking of some of the lines from that book can bring tears to my eyes.

    Then of course adding in Augustine Scholar and our Pope gives a good mixture.

  3. Reilly says:

    How’s the reading coming along? Any recommendations yet?

    This is a refreshing ‘tangent’ (if you will) to Lent. Having grown up in a Catholic home, my parents always required we give something up for Lent, and often times it was potato chips (which was the same thing Mom gave up and since she was the one who purchased them, it was natural we’d give them up too :) ). I never really understood the purpose of Lent though until years later.

    Looks like a bold plan- 10 books! Keep us posted! :)

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