Lent starts this Wednesday with Ash Wednesday. We’ve got a number of books for the season but I want to feature two new releases this year from Franciscan Media. The first one is Wondrous Encounters by Richard Rohr. Here’s the catalog description:
“Rohr’s meditations on the daily readings of Lent are not for the sake of mere information, or even for academia (although the author hopes it will satisfy both), but for the sake of our transformation into our original “image and likeness,” which is the very image of God. What always and finally matters for all of us is encounter!
Father Rohr begins each meditation with a single title or phrase that sums up the point. Then he offers the meditation followed by key passages from the readings. He ends each meditation with a Starter Prayer that invites you to self-disclosure and to enter the wondrous divine dialogue with clarity, insight—and holy desire!”
Wondrous Encounters is a paperback with 144 pages and sells for $8.99.
RICHARD ROHR is founding director of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He considers the proclamation of the gospel to be his primary call, and some related themes he addresses include eco-spirituality, Scripture as liberation, non-dual thought, the integration of action and contemplation, peace and justice issues, and male spirituality. Author of numerous books, including Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality, Wondrous Encounters: Scripture for Lent, and Preparing for Christmas With Richard Rohr: Daily Meditations for Advent, he gives retreats and lectures internationally.
The second book comes from Marcellino D’Ambrosio. It is 40 Days, 40 Ways: A New Look at Lent. Too often people limit the Lent experience to just giving something up. D’Ambrosio offers a wide variety of ideas to incorporate into Lent to make it a more vibrant spiritual experience. He gives 40 ideas of things we can do and asks the reader to look through the list and pick one to three ideas. Here are just a few:
- Cut back purchases of luxuries and give the saved money to the needy.
- Learn the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Identify one to begin incorporating into your life this Lent.
- Read a portion of Scripture every day.
- Get to know the Fathers of the church.
- Read or listen to a biography of a saint.
- Look for opportunities to volunteer for the lowliest, least desirable jobs, and serve those who are least worthy and least grateful.
- Visit someone lonely in the neighborhood, in the hospital, in a nursing home, or in prison.
- Commit to making an examination of conscience each night before bed.
- Pray at least one psalm per day and explore the Liturgy of the Hours.
The thing I like about this list is that it can help create new ideas of your own in ways you can creatively experience Lent in more ways than just giving up chocolate. Each day includes an expansion on each of the 40 suggestions. I don’t see any reason why someone couldn’t use both books to gain the most from Lent.
40 Days, 40 Ways is a paperback with 128 pages and sells for $14.99.
Marcellino D’Ambrosio is a world-renowned commentator on religious issues. With a Ph.D. in theology (under Avery Cardinal Dulles), nine years of university teaching, and hundreds of published articles, Marcellino has a wealth of knowledge and knows how to make it accessible for a wide variety of audiences. As “Dr. Italy,” D’Ambrosio has a popular website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed and appears weekly on a variety of Catholic TV and radio networks. He is the coauthor of the million-copy bestseller The Guide to the Passion.