Daily spiritual reading during Lent is a fantastic way to grow in our relationship with Christ. Almost any Catholic book will do, starting with the Bible, a work of theology, a saint’s life — you name it — it will work. But you might benefit especially from reading that is specifically designed for Lent. The following three titles are Lenten “devotionals.” These are books that have a daily reading of anywhere from a paragraph to several pages. The readings often end with a follow-up prayer or suggested activity that will help you apply what you learned in the reading to your own spiritual growth. If any of these interests you, order them now! It’s never too late to start.
Daily Meditations from Ash Wednesday through Divine Mercy Sunday
These short meditations on each day’s Mass readings also includes the biblical references so that you may do the readings outside of Mass. Each meditation is followed by a one sentence “takeaway” prayer that you can repeat throughout the day such as “merciful Lord, help me to grow in trust of You”; “Dear Savior, may my actions towards others only reflect the love You have given me.” Bonus feature: The mediations continue through the Octave of Easter. This 60-page, 4-by-6-inch paperback, fits easily into a purse, pocket, or briefcase. It’s ideal to take to work and pull out during lunch or break time.
40 Days to Finding Peace in Christ
by Gary Zimak (Ave Maria Press)
Are you an obsessive worrier? Does anxiety over what has happened or what could happen keep you burdened by guilt or the feeling that you are responsible for making everything work out perfectly? Author Gary Zimak has been there. In fact, he describes himself as a “recovering worrier.” This Lenten devotional invites readers to find peace in Christ. Each of the 47, two-page chapters starts with a verse of Scripture, a reflection, a suggested action, and a prayer. Faithfully followed, Zimak’s thoughts and suggestions should transform the worrier into a more confident and trusting disciple.
Remember Your Death:
by Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble, FSP (Pauline Books & Media)
The title may sound morbid, but popular blogger Sr. Aletheia Noble says that the ancient practice of Memento Mori leads to a more intentional and joyous Christian life. She also says that “remember death” is the key to unlocking the spiritual treasures of Lent. After all, we are commanded on Ash Wednesday to “remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” And on what leads her to the discovery of Jesus’ resurrected life? Each daily meditation uses Scripture or the Catechism of the Catholic Church to reflect on some aspect of death such as physical death, the death of Jesus, the death-dealing aspects of sin, or the Christian discipline of “death to self.”
These mediations are best read in the early evening, because the follow-up activity each day is a guided Examen in which we review both the blessings and the failures of the day, question ourselves as to how prepared we would be should death come today, and make a plan to how we will face life’s particular challenges tomorrow. Finally, Sister guides us in intercessory prayer, naming specific intentions or groups of people for whom we should pray.
Did I say finally? Strike that. Sister also adds optional activities for those who pray through journaling, artwork, or other creative outlets. All these features — and I neglected to mention the eight reproduced pages of sacred artwork — add up to the longest work in this list — 200-plus pages. But Remember Your Death takes the prize for the most unique and intriguing.