Christmas and Easter are the two principle feasts of the Church calendar. On Christmas our Savior was born, on Easter our Savior accomplished what he was born to do. And both feasts are preceded by a 40 day period of preparation, Advent and Lent, respectively. Advent and Lent are characterized by penance, fasting, and almsgiving. The penance, fasting, and almsgiving is much more pronounced and emphasized during Lent because of Our Lord’s Passion and Crucifixion. Lent should not be confused with a time of forced depression, however.
“While Lent is a solemn season, it is not a somber one. The forty days are not structured to foster morbid gloominess and debilitating self-loathing; they are meant to thrust us into the heart of divine love” (Fr. Gary Caster in The Little Way of Lent: Meditations in the Spirit of St. Therese of Lisieux).
What Lent should be is a time when you intentionally fast from those things that “fill” you, so you can foster a spirit of poverty, and so make “room” be filled with Christ. The time that you carve out through fasting is most appropriately filled with special spiritual disciplines that take you through the 40 Days of Lent. Here is a guide to popular Lenten devotions to help you make the most of the spiritual opportunity that Lent provides you.
Find all of the items listed below in our
1. Read a Book on the Life of Christ
- Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week by Pope Benedict XVI
- Life of Christ by Fulton Sheen
- The Dolores Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
2. Read Daily Meditations with Lenten Prayer/Devotional books
- Lent & Easter Wisdom series by various spiritual writers and saints
- The Essential Lenten Handbook by the Redemptorists
- In Conversation with God, Vol. 2, Lent & Eastertide by Francis Fernandez
3. Meditate on the Passion each week with the Stations of the Cross
- Way of the Cross by Pope Benedict XVI
- Living Stations of the Cross “I Thirst” CD by Audio Girl Ministries
- Stations of the Cross Rosary
4. Heighten your Senses with Lenten Audio/Video
- Holy Land Rosary by Fr. Mitch Pacwa
- Jesus of Nazareth movie
- Meditation on the Passion of Christ: Radix
Any (or all–you do have 40 days!) of these spiritual practices are sure to enrich and deepen your Lenten journey, bringing you closer to Heart of Christ. If you have any other favorites ideas or resources for Lent, please share with our readers below.