One “add in” Catholics could choose as part of the 1-1-1 Plan is to do some spiritual reading. Classics such as “The Imitation of Christ,” by Thomas à Kempis, “Introduction to the Devout Life,” by St. Francis de Sales and “Spiritual Exercises,” by St. Ignatius Loyola are popular choices.
There are also several newer titles that merit consideration. Here are a few suggestions among recent releases.
Lent and Easter Wisdom from Saint Vincent De Paul: Daily Scripture and Prayers Together With Saint Vincent De Paul's Own Words by Father John E. Rybolt (Liguori, $10.99)
St. Vincent DePaul had much to say on service to the poor and the importance of charitable works. Those words, often given in talks to members of the Congregation of the Missions and the Daughters of Charity, fit well with the Lenten themes of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. So it is appropriate that the latest addition to Liguori’s series of seasonal meditations focuses on the apostle of charity.
Vincentian Father Rybolt’s book leads readers through each day of the Lenten and Easter seasons and provides an excerpt of the 17th-century saint’s talks, a related Bible passage, a prayer and an action for Catholics to take.
For Day 12, for example, the theme is “Jesus and the Poor,” and the related Lenten action encourages readers to remember the love of God for the poor. “Dig deeper into your thoughts and ‘turn the medal,’ as St. Vincent urged, to see the poor son of God there.”
Other books in the series include “Lent and Easter Wisdom from Pope John Paul II” and “Lent and Easter Wisdom from St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi.”
Lenten Reflections From A Father Who Keeps His Promises by Scott Hahn (Servant Books, $13.99)
In this recently released book from Hahn, popular Catholic author, theology professor and founder of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, readers learn to view their Lenten journey through the lens of salvation history, from the fall of the first Adam to the victory on the cross of Jesus, the New Adam.
As Hahn writes in the beginning of the book, “Scripture testifies to how God has cared for his family throughout the ages, making a way for his children to live with him forever. The biblical record shows that our heavenly Father has kept each and every one of his promises he swore concerning our redemption at the cost of his only beloved Son. Because of God’s grace, the gift of salvation is free, but it is not cheap. We’ll look at the story of that unfailing love this Lent.”
Covering each day of Lent, as well as the octave of Easter, Hahn provides a reflection based on a Bible passage, along with a question for readers to ponder and a prayer.
Fast, Pray, Give: A Six-Week Guide by Mary Carol Kendzia (Franciscan Media, $8.99)
This week-by-week guide to the penitential season includes an introduction to Lent and chapters on the traditional practices of Lent — almsgiving, fasting and praying — as well as conversion and discipline. As the introduction notes, the book examines each of these practices in the context of simplicity, spirituality and stewardship.
In addition to short reflections on each topic, the book offers a Scripture reading, a relevant passage from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, questions for discussion and reflection, the inspirational story of a saint, a suggested practice and a prayer.
Holy Days: Meditations on the Feasts, Fasts, and Other Solemnities of the Church by Pope Benedict XVI (Wm. B. Eerdmans, $12).
Though not specifically about the Lenten season, this slim volume features excerpts from the pontiff’s homilies throughout the year, including his meditations regarding Ash Wednesday, Lent and Easter, as well as the feast days during the seasons.