Oftentimes the seasons of Lent and Advent are filled with our good intentions about what we will do, what we will read, and the changes we will make in our daily lives. The weeks stretch out ahead of us and we begin with great plans and an eagerness to experience the holy season in a new way.
Then reality sets in and our original plans for a “different” experience evaporate. I can’t tell you how many Lenten books sit on my shelf partially read and how many Advent wreaths are in the closet, half finished.
That all changed last year when I purchased The Sacred Heart for Lent by Fr. Thomas Williams and 33 Days to Morning Glory by Fr. Michael Gaitley. I read The Sacred Heart for Lent on my own and cajoled my husband into the Marian Consecration by Gaitley. It was all such a blessing that this Lent I wanted to share those resources with others.
Last Lent it quickly became obvious to me that a priest brings something very unique to a book: a priest brings to his work the sacredness that arises out of his everyday life in persona Christi. There is a richness—a wisdom—that seems to radiate from the words on the page because of his lived experiences tending to the flock.
For instance, in Fr. Williams’ book, he asks very pointed questions and offers excellent understandings into the human condition. I was particularly affected by his words on “courage” and found myself seeing it in a new light. Along with the brief daily meditative insights in Father’s book, the aspect I liked best was that each day had a unique plea to the Sacred Heart that completely resonated with me: Sacred Heart of Jesus, serene before the cross, make my heart more like yours! or Sacred Heart of Jesus, bursting with love, make my heart more like yours! and so on.
The second book I highly recommend this Lent is the Gaitley Marian Consecration book: 33 Days to Morning Glory. Even if you’ve done the lengthier St. Louis de Montfort consecration, you will still benefit from this shorter, easier-to-follow version. You can do this with a spouse, a friend, or even older children. Lent is a beautiful time to consecrate your home to Christ through Mary.
Lent should be a special time for kids as well. The illustrations of Fr. Victor Kynam in The Way of the Cross for Children are simple and yet profound. Written by Kathryn Mulderink, OCDS, The Way of the Cross for Children is a coloring book for younger children while simply being an illustrated book for the older ones (although I admit that last year I did color one, too!). It is perfect for home or classroom. Fr. Kynam and Mulderink also teamed up for Walk New: A Way of the Cross for Teens. Father’s illustrations for this book are truly powerful and will make the authority of the Cross very real for your teen or young adult.
Be assured that these books are all excellent Lenten resources that will bless you and your family in a very special way.