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Books Ink Slingers Lent Liturgical Year Maurisa

What to Read for Lent 2021

The pandemic led to my being able to read even more than usual during 2020 and with Lent quickly approaching I have a lovely list of books to add to those I’ve recommended here in the past. Behold your Lent worthy reading list for 2021:

Non-Fiction

Impossible Marriages Redeemed: They Didn’t End Their Story in the Middle is Leila Miller’s follow up to her eye-opening expose of true accounts from children of divorce: Primal Loss: The Now Adult Children of Divorce Speak. In this new work, Leila compiled the stories of broken marriages which leaned into the redemptive power of the faith and were healed as well as several submissions from folks who continue to “stand” for their sacramental marriage in-spite of being abandoned by a spouse. 

The Saint Monica Club: How to Wait and Pray for Your Fallen-Away Loved Ones by Maggie Green was written based on her own experiences with children who have fallen away from the faith. Like Saint Monica, mothers are called to pray without ceasing and wait upon the Lord. This book was an immense help to me as I continue to pray, hope, and wait on my own wayward children.

Have you struggled with low spirits, anxiety, or depression? Has it taken a toll on your progress in your spiritual life? Dan Burke’s Spiritual Warfare and the Discernment of Spirits may be the help you need in discerning how the enemy may be attacking you and actively preventing you from growing spiritually.

In February of 2019 the Pew Research Center released the results of a study showing that belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist had dropped to an alarming 30% of self-identified Catholics. In response to this obvious decline in reverence for the Blessed Sacrament Dr. Peter Kwasniewski has written a beautiful and concise answer for how Catholics can reestablish a firm belief in and veneration for the Holy Eucharist in The Holy Bread of Eternal Life: Restoring Eucharistic Reverence in an Age of Impiety.

I recently finished Conversation with Christ: The Teaching of St.Teresa of Avila About Personal Prayer by Peter Thomas Rohrbach. It is by far the best book I’ve ever read on mental prayer and walks the reader through several variations for maintaining a relationship and real conversation with Christ. It is one I will keep constantly on hand for reference for years to come.

Fiction

After the difficulties and realities of the last year, a little escape from contemplating the current state of the world might be in order. I am a huge fan of interspersing fiction amongst the spiritual and informative works I normally read. I especially appreciate anything written with a Catholic worldview and there are many authors who have successfully written beautiful, enjoyable works of fiction with Catholic themes.

Sigrid Undset is by far my favorite Catholic author. She was a convert to Catholicism in the 20th Century who interwove Catholic themes throughout her works. 

My personal favorite novel, Kristen Lavransdatter, is a medieval Scandinavian saga which earned Undset the Nobel Prize for Literature. The trilogy follows Kristen from childhood through late adulthood—daughter, wife, and mother in Catholic Norway. 

The tetralogy, Master of Hestviken, Undset’s second medieval Scandinavian offering is not as well known but is also very enjoyable. This work explores many of the same themes but from the point of view of Olav Audunsson an orphan betrothed to the daughter of his adoptive father. 

The Wild Orchid/The Burning Bush set in the mid-20th century Norway is the story of Paul Selmer, who grows up in an enlightened household and shocks his entire family when he chooses to convert to Catholicism as an adult. As with many of Undset’s novels, marital fidelity and self-sacrifice are strong, underlying themes.

Several years ago I picked up Undset’s Ida Elisabeth and found, for one reason or another, I could not make it past the first chapter. Early in 2020 a friend finished reading this work and declared it to be one of her favorites. I am so glad she did as it led to my finally finishing this beautiful novel. Once again, the consequences of sin, marital fidelity, forgiveness, and grace flow throughout this work. 

While not personally a Catholic, some of Willa Cather’s works are very Catholic and well worth including on a list of Catholic fictional works.

Shadows on the Rock is a sweet work, set in colonial New France close on the heels of the martyrdom of North American saints such as Saints Jean LaLand Rene Groupil. The story is written from the point of view of pious 12 year old Cecile Auclair. In her mastery of vivid language, Cather paints a beautiful picture of 17th century life in remote and barely settled Quebec.

Death Comes for the Archbishop, also by Cather, tells the story of Father Jean Marie Latour. Having been appointed the Apostolic Vicar of New Mexico Father Latour travels his vast, desert mission territory shepherding his flock and spreading the gospel over the span of 40 years. This compelling character, fraught with the loneliness and gravity of his task, advances his mission by degrees in the manner of a gentle, faithful, and resourceful saint. 

Father Bryan Houghton was a well known convert to Catholicism in the mid-20th Century. Not long after converting the entire Church was rocked by the sweeping changes to the liturgy on the heels of Vatican II. Personally, I have often wondered how people actually felt as their churches were renovated and the Mass changed almost overnight. Father Houghton wrote a beautiful and touching fictional account which explores this subject in Judith’s Marriage.

On my list for Lent

Visits to the Most Blessed Sacrament and the Blessed Virgin Mary by Saint Alphonsus Ligouri is a short and lovely companion to bring for a weekly Holy Hour.

Non-Negotiable: Essential Principles of a Just Society and Humane Culture by Sheila Liaugminas. I recently listened to a conversation between Sheila Liaugminas and Jason Jones on his popular podcast. Intrigued, I had to pick up her book on protecting the first principles of the absolute human rights to life, dignity, and equality.

The next two on my list were recommended by our parish priest as worthy spiritual reading: Sayings of the Desert Fathers and On How to Accept and Love the Will of God and His Divine Providence by Saint Alphonsus Maria Ligouri

The Sinners Guide by Venerable Lous of Granada was a favorite of Saint Teresa of Avila. I feel anything recommended by Saint Teresa needs to be on everyone’s “must read” list. Am I right?

Are you reading anything inspiring this Lent? Share your picks in the comments.

A Catholic Sistas’ Book List for Lent 2020

The 2019 Handy Dandy List of Lenten Resources

The Ultimate 2018 Lenten Booklist for Families

Categories
Ink Slingers Lent Liturgical Year Martina Resources Spiritual Growth Your Handy-Dandy List

The 2019 Handy Dandy List of Lenten Resources

The 2019 Handy Dandy List to Lenten Resources

Can you believe Lent is almost here? What better way to enter into this penitential season than to comb through our newest list of Lenten resources – along with taking a peek at our previous lists dating back to 2013? I don’t know if you’ll find a more thorough set of lists to prepare you to walk with Christ this Lent. At the end of the post you’ll find links to our previous years’ posts. So, let’s get to it, shall we? 


MAKE TIME FOR JESUS

DAYBOOK

A 2019 complete Liturgical Catholic planner

PDF downloadable and printable from your home – print only what you need

2019 Lenten Tracker // FREE

Lenten Tracker 2019

 

So simple – download, print, and use to track your Lenten sacrifices with this FREE printable

courtesy of Catholic Sistas foundress Martina Kreitzer


VIDEO and AUDIO

Father Mike

Where is Lent in the Bible? 

Why Fast on Ash Wednesday?

 

Praying through Holy Week

  

FORMED

this is a subscription site – ask your parish for their code to access it for free

Stations of the Cross

Shroud

What’s the Deal with Ashes on Ash Wednesday?

My Beloved Son – Meditations for Lent

by Bishop Barron

The Passion of Christ: In Light of the Holy Shroud of Turin

by Fr. Francis Peffley

(fun fact – Father Peffley baptized our oldest son and many Kreitzer grandchildren) 🙂 

The Fourth Cup

by Dr. Scott Hahn


FOR THE FAMILY

Lentopoly 

from Catholic Blogger

12 Apostles 

by Sara J Creations

Lent in Our Catholic Home 

by Elizabeth Clare

An Illustrated Lent

 by Illustrated Children’s Ministry

Saints for Boys & Girls

by Tan Books

57 Lenten Crafts

by Felt Magnet Crafts

Lenten Activities for Children

by Laci of Catholic Icing

Stations of the Cross for Children

by Julianne M. Will


READ, JOURNAL, and STUDY

// PRAYER //

A Year with the Eucharist: Daily Meditations on the Blessed Sacrament

by Paul Jerome Keller, OP

Magnificat Lenten Companion

by Ignatius Press

Parenting with the Beatitudes: Eight Holy Habits for Daily Living

by Jeannie and Ben Ewing

Mass and Adoration Companion

by Vinny Flynn and Erin Flynn

A Year with Mary: Daily Meditations on the Mother of God

by Paul Thigpen, Ph.D.

Manual for Eucharistic Adoration

by Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration, St. Joseph

Cultivating Virtue: Self Mastery with the Saints

by Tan Books

Lent and Holy Week with Mary

by Dr. Mary Amore

// JOURNALS //

The 2019 Handy Dandy List of Lenten Resources1

Lenten Journal – The Paschal Mystery of Christ

by the Dominican Sisters of Mary

The 2019 Handy Dandy List of Lenten Resources1

To Hear His Voice: A Mass Journal for Children

by  Ginny Kochis

The 2019 Handy Dandy Guide to Lenten Resources

Stay Connected: A Gift of Invitation

by Allison Gingras

// KNOW THE ENEMY //

Manual for Spiritual Warfare

by Paul Thigpen, Ph.D.

Begone Satan: A Soul-Stirring Account of Diabolical Possession in Iowa

by Reverend Father Carl Vogl

An Exorcist Tells His Story

by Father Gabriele Amorth

An Exorcist Explains the Demonic

by Father Gabriele Amorth

An Exorcist Explains How to Heal the Possessed

by Father Paolo Carlin

Saints who Battled Satan

by Paul Thigpen, Ph.D.

Hostage to the Devil: The Possession and Exorcism of Five Contemporary Americans

by Malachi Martin

The Spiritual Combat: and a Treatise on Peace of Soul

by Lorenzo Scupoli

Deliverance Prayers: For Use by the Laity

by Father Chad A. Ripperger, Ph.D.

// STUDY //

Forgiven: The Transforming Power of Confession

by Formed.org

Lectio: Unveiling Scripture and Tradition

by Formed.org

Eucharistic Miracles: And Eucharistic Phenomenon in the Lives of the Saints

by Joan Carroll Cruz

The Discernment of Spirits: An Ignatian Guide for Everyday Living

by Timothy Gallagher

Pray More Retreat

by John-Paul and Annie of Pray More Novenas


MISCELLANEOUS TO TICKLE YOUR FANCY

// FUNNY //

14 Memes about Lent Catholics Understand

// GUARDING YOUR MARRIAGE //

Beloved: Finding Happiness in Marriage

Marriage 911

by Greg and Julie Alexander

// GRATITUDE //

40 DAYS OF GRATITUDE

// LENTEN ARTWORK & JEWELRY //

Dovetail Ink

by Monica Welch

Luminous Moments by A

by Austyn

BC Inspirations

by Becky Cook

// THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT LENT //

Yes, your church needs holy water during Lent – ESPECIALLY during Lent

More on Sacramentals

Your Guide to a Catholic Lent: Everything you need for a more spiritual Lent

from Simply Catholic

Abstaining

No meat can be eaten on Ash Wednesday and all of the Fridays during Lent. This applies Catholics 14 and older. 

Fasting

Only one full regular sized meal is permitted on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday for Catholics between 18 and 59. Two smaller meals are permitted, but the small meals should not equal a second full meal. Drinking coffee, tea, and water between meals is allowed. Snacks between meals are not allowed. Exemptions are made, of course, for nursing mothers, the ill, and the elderly for whom fasting would severely compromise their health.

Confession

You should strive to go to confession once a month (more frequently also encouraged), but especially during Lent.

Looking for an in-depth Examination of Conscience?

Click here to download and print up a copy to use.

You can also check out the Handy Little Guide to Confession

by Ink Slinger and Catholic author Michelle Schroeder


PAST LISTS, OTHER CS LENT POSTS, and OUR PINTEREST BOARD

The original list from 2013, with updates in 2014

The {Second} Handy Dandy List of 2015

The updated 2016 list of Lenten resources

2018 Handy Dandy List of Lenten Sacrifices

Lenten Archives

Season.Lent board on Pinterest

Hopefully, this list inspires you to try something new with your family or faith group, or possibly resurrect an old practice. And I hope everyone has a spiritually fulfilling Lent.

Finally, don’t forget our Annual 2019 Lenten Photo Challenge!

Categories
Domestic Church Faith Formation Ink Slingers Kerri Lent Liturgical Year Mass Meatless Fridays Prayer Resources Spiritual Growth Your Handy-Dandy List

The 2018 Handy Dandy List of Lenten Sacrifices

 

Lent is coming up fast (in one week actually) so if you haven’t given any thought to your Lenten sacrifices for the upcoming season, now’s the time to start thinking. Since 2013 we have been doing several “Handy Dandy Lists” for Lent. Our 2013 list was super popular and included a ton of things from personal sacrifices to things you can add into your day to resources and books. In 2014 we used the same list and just made some edits (so if you look at the 2013 list many of the links were updated in 2014).

Not wanting to keep rehashing the same list each year, I made a new list in 2015 called Your {Second} Handy Dandy List to Lenten Sacrifices and tried to add some new things, including helpful phone apps, more books, meatless meal links, etc. In 2016 fellow writer Misty updated the previous year’s list with more resources to get The 2016 Handy Dandy List of Lenten Sacrifices.

Here we are one week away from Lent 2018 and I have yet another new list. Again, I don’t want to rehash what was on the old lists, you all are more than capable of following the links to see what is there. And please do!! So many good suggestions on those links. If you want to see the best versions, check out the 2013 list (the original) and the 2016 list. They complement each other well and have the best of all four lists in them.

So now what?? What more could I possibly add to this bounty of Lenten sacrifices and resources?

Well, for this year I decided to focus on family or group activities. Some of these suggestions are best used in a family, others would work well for a group (think a Moms group, Bible study, small prayer group, any group of friends, etc.), and some could be incorporated in either. I’ll let you be the judge. And I’m not promising that there won’t be any repeats from previous lists.

Simplify Meals

Obviously, meatless Fridays are a must during Lent. But what else can you do as a family to stress the simplicity of Lent? Here’s a couple of suggestions:

  • Soup every night. Yes, every night. Doesn’t have to be fancy, can just be from a can. Or a combination of canned and homemade.
  • Abstain from meat on both Wednesdays and Fridays. I believe this is still the tradition in many other Catholic Rites, but not typically practiced among the Western Rites. Lent would be a great time to try this out.
  • In addition to your meatless Fridays, pick another day to focus on a simple meal. Soup is one good suggestion, but I bet you could come up with others too. A couple I thought of in addition to soup are rice and beans or sandwiches with raw veggies on the side.
  • Try giving up one food item for the entire family. A good suggestion might be dairy (again, one of those things that used to be traditional and still is in some cultures) or meat.
  • For some meatless meal ideas (not necessarily simple), check out our Pinterest meatless recipe board

Daily Mass

This one often comes up on our lists for Lent. But what about making it a family thing? Moms of young kids are rolling your eyes at me right now! Yes, yes, I know. I have little ones too and the thought of bringing them to Mass every single day is overwhelming. But if you can swing it, what a great way to drive home the message of a sacrificial Lent with our kids, especially if Mass is at 6:30 in the morning!

Tracking Sacrifices Visually

Kids often need a visual, and really, don’t we all appreciate visual reminders? Make sacrifices more meaningful for your kids and for you by using some sort of visual reminder. Here are a few suggestions.

  • A bean jar for each person in the family (or mini craft pom poms or whatever other small things you want to put in a jar). You could also do one jar for the whole family. Each time you perform a good deed or make a sacrifice you put a bean in the jar. This is very flexible, so you can make it work however you want for your family. My family did this one year and the beans in the jar (we used some dry kidney beans) became jelly beans on Easter morning.
  • A friend shared with me that her family does an Easter tree during Lent. She makes a big tree with branches out of construction paper and puts it up on a wall. Then they use construction paper leaves to write down any sacrifices, habits they want to start, and/or a project, etc. Over the rest of Lent, they add more leaves for prayer requests and people or causes they want to support or encourage. They also invite anyone who enters their home to add a leaf to the tree with their prayer intentions or sacrifices. Then they use some time each day to pray for everything on the tree. By the end of Lent, they have a fully blossomed tree and they leave it up for the whole Easter season. I love this idea!!

Spiritual Reading

There are lots and lots and lots of books about Lent or books that help you pray through Lent or books for kids to get the most out of Lent. We have featured several in our past lists, check those out if you have time, plus I’m sure there are many more coming out every year (check websites for TAN Books, Magnificat, Ignatius, Ave Maria Press, and others). But what I want to encourage is any sort of spiritual reading. Here’s one idea I had:

As a Benedictine Oblate, I read a section of the Rule of St. Benedict every day. In it, St. Benedict discusses how the monks should observe Lent. One particular aspect has always intrigued me, and I remember one of the monks at my monastery talking about this as well. Each monk is given a spiritual book to read for Lent (Rule ch. 48:15-16). They don’t get to choose it, it is given to them. I like this idea for a group of people or a family with older kids (probably teenagers).

Have each person bring a book they own to the group, make sure it is a spiritual book and that each person appropriately labels their book with their name and number. Use some sort of blind exchange of the books. Pair people up by drawing names, or have all the books placed in a box so people can reach in and take one without looking, or maybe have the books wrapped. Whatever you decide, just make sure that people don’t walk away with the book they brought or one they have already read. I like the idea of a book being chosen for me for Lent, trust in the Holy Spirit to put the book in front of me I need to read. Maybe it’ll be something I wouldn’t have thought to read.

If you do this, I would encourage a group meeting again shortly after Easter. Let people return the books to the owners and discuss what benefits this exercise produced for everyone or share something you learned. Especially if it was a book you might not have otherwise read.

Another idea for spiritual reading as a family is to pick a Lenten read the whole family can enjoy together and read it out loud each day. Or, make it a practice that every family member has to spend 20 minutes (or whatever you decide) reading a spiritual book each day. [See yesterday’s post for great Lenten reading ideas.] 

Service Projects

This is a great idea for a family, group of families, or any large or small group. This is a great way to teach our children acts of charity during the Lenten season.

  • Organize a meal service at a local homeless shelter
  • Go shopping as a family for your church’s food pantry or St. Vincent de Paul group
  • Collect needed items for a charity in your city or town. Contact the organization first to see what their needs are. Suggested groups to look for: pregnancy help centers, soup kitchens, food pantries, Ronald McDonald House, nursing/assisted living homes, etc.
  • If there is a Habitat for Humanity build currently taking place in your area, see if your family can get involved. Even if you have little kids, it might be something older kids and one parent can do while the younger kids and the other parent put together lunch or other food for the workers that day.
  • Put together small care packages for the homeless to hand out. Things like small personal items (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.), a bottle of water, McDonald’s gift card, are some of the things you could include.
  • Get creative, there are lots of organizations out there that are happy to have volunteers or who need things you might be able to provide.

Grow New Family (or Group) Habits

I often look at Lent the way many people think of the New Year. It’s a great time to start something new! Why not use this time to start a new family habit that can carry over past Lent.

  • Don’t have a family prayer time yet? Make it a Lenten resolution to start. It can be something small like sharing intentions and then saying an Our Father together or doing a family rosary.
  • Review all activities of every family member and see if there are activities that can be cut. Don’t ever see your spouse or kids? Feeling like you are running a taxi service for your kids? Maybe this is a good time to re-evaluate and cut some things so that more of your family’s time can be spent as a family.
  • Start a family game night. Families should spend time together. Praying as a family is of primary importance, but if you’re already doing that and want to increase family quality time, how about a game night. Doesn’t sound very Lent-worthy, but if you are lacking family time, why can’t this be part of your Lent? Make sure everyone puts phones and other electronics away (see, sacrifice) and once a week get out some old-fashioned games or just a deck of cards.
  • Many parishes will have family events during Lent. Things like Fish Fries, soup nights, Family Stations of the Cross, etc. Why not make use of these activities to help start some family spiritual practices. Check with your parish (or surrounding parishes) to see what is available.
  • Related to the above, the Stations of the Cross can be done at home too. You can search online for coloring sheets of the stations to help keep little ones interested. Or have older kids color pictures of the stations to hang around the house. Find prayers online as well or buy a small booklet to use with your family or look for an app for the Stations. If you are a military family check out this Military Way of the Cross written specifically for military families. Please take a look and share with others you know in the military.

I hope this list inspires you to try something new with your family, or possibly resurrect an old practice. I hope everyone has a spiritually fulfilling Lent. Below are the links to our past lists as well as other Lenten links at Catholic Sistas. And please, if you have a family tradition you’d like to tell us about, leave a comment!! We’d love to hear from you.

Past lists and other CS Lent posts:

The original list from 2013, with updates in 2014: https://www.catholicsistas.com/2013/02/your-handy-dandy-list-to-lenten-sacrifices/

The {Second} Handy Dandy List of 2015: https://www.catholicsistas.com/2015/02/second-handy-dandy-list-lenten-sacrifices/

The updated 2016 list of Lenten resources: https://www.catholicsistas.com/2016/01/your-handy-dandy-list-of-lenten-resources/

All our Lent posts from our Archives: https://www.catholicsistas.com/category/liturgical-year/lent/

And finally, don’t forget our Annual Lenten Photo Challenge. More info coming soon!