lenten readalong

white_rabbit_oh_dear_oh_dear_i_shall_be_late_sticker-rfd398c13fe4d45b9ad5331a93a2b7ff1_v9waf_8byvr_324Oh dear ! Oh dear! Lent is almost here!  That’s right.  Around the corner, people.  This brings sighs of relief to me because Lent is always a wonderful excuse to slow down and live more intentionally, more prayerfully.  It’s a time for connection and transformation.  It’s my favorite time of the year, a time marked by grace and divine beauty made visible in the world with blossoming trees and signs of renewal all over the earth.  It should be the best book we read all year!  And so as I start to plan the 2015 Lent Party, I need your help selecting a readalong for the blog.

Last year I put together a small faith sharing group at my parish and we met each week to discuss Sarah Parson’s book A Clearing Season.  What a blessing that was for all of us!  My group of strangers drew closer to God and one another, and I hope to facilitate that journey again but perhaps with a different kind of book–one not so lessony as spiritual.  After emailing the group to let them know I’d be leading another retreat, many have responded with “here I ams” and hoorays, so I hope you, too, might consider participating in a readalong with us.  My small group will meet each week, but I will write weekly reflections for my virtual participants.  These weekly Lenten Reflections are posted on my sister blog, The Province of Joy, and I invite you to read along with us and share your own reflections.  I had many lurkers last year, people who visited and read but did not post, so my hope this year is that if two or three gather with me we can get some great conversations started.  Could it be you?

Now the idea is that you would buy the book and read it during Lent, peruse my reflections and then when you feel moved by the spirit share your thoughts, too.  Why not look over these suggested titles below and leave a comment to let me know if any of them sound like something you’d enjoy reading and discussing as part of your spiritual practice during Lent.  In the coming weeks I will consider all possibilities and announce the selected book before Ash Wednesday.


Sacred Fire: A Vision for a Deeper Human and Christian Maturity by Ronald Rolheiser, OMI



Jesus: A Pilgrimage by James Martin, SJ



Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor



Lent and Easter: Wisdom from Thomas Merton



Lent and Easter: Wisdom from St. Therese of Lisieux



The Confessions of St. Augustine

When we pray we speak to God; but when we read, God speaks to us.

– St. Jerome

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  1. Susan board says

    Bob & I would like to join the readers group. You are not making the book choice easy. Guess I would vote for either the Rolhheiser or St.Therese book. Bob & I will go along with the consensus of the group.
    Do you have an indy store where you can purchase? If so could you pick up a copy for each of us, & we would repay you. Or, we could order on Amazon, have them delivered to you, so we could get them before Lent when we get to your house. What would you recommend? More on arrival date when we figure it out..

    • Wonderful news. I’ll keep you posted on the book selection. I’ve got a couple interested in Rolheiser offline but hope to hear from some more in the next week or so before I decide.

      • I have had a few emails from some interested in the Merton and Rolheiser. The more I look at his book (Rolheiser) the more daunting it feels. Too much work? *sigh*

        Note: I hope to follow this Lenten readalong (whatever book we choose — keep sending your ideas) with the perfect book to take us through the Easter Season and into Pentecost: Pope Francis’ THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL. It’s accessible, engaging and funny, and of course, inspiring. Stay tuned . . . .

  2. Rebecca these are all interesting and well-written books, but I wouldn’t expect anything else from you! Also they are quite different from each other and would lend very different tones to our Lenten journeys. My ideas:
    Sacred Fire (Rolheiser): Beautifully spiritual, but heavy. I read most (!) of his book Holy Longing… we might lose some of our group on this one.
    Jesus – A Pilgrimage (James Martin). I loved his Lives of the Saints and this book seems just as accessible, although pretty long (about 460 pages). I know someone who has been raving about it for months now. I know I’ll read it at some point, even if not this Lent!
    Learning to Walk in the Dark (Taylor): Lovely poetic style, appropriate Lenten topic (darkness). Could inspire discussions.
    Mercy in the City (Weber): Lighter, quick reading. Without reading more than the first chapter I’m not sure if it will appeal to all of our combination of ages/sexes, but it did to me.
    Lent and Easter (Merton): Daily readings, prayers and journal topics are things I like during Lent (and Merton!)
    Lent and Easter (St. Therese of Lisieux): No reading sample on Amazon and no reviews so it’s hard to say, but it might be similar to the Merton book above.

    Hope my comments help you make a choice… I’ll enjoy any of them!

  3. Oh, forgot the last one… Confessions of St. Augustine… I know it should be required reading for all Catholics, but I would consider this my Lenten sacrifice (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!)

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