By Clare Walker, Holy Trinity In-House Writer
Lent is a great time of year to read a book that will add depth and meaning to your life with Jesus. I have three book recommendations for you: one for teens, one “oldie but goodie,” and one recently published gem.
Teens and young adults: try Bob Rice’s Basic Spiritual Workout: A Guide to Christian Growth for Catholic Youth. With this book in hand, you can embark on a 6-week “spiritual boot camp,” focusing on the basic nutrition of reading the Bible and going to Mass and Confession, warming up by setting aside a special time and place for your daily spiritual workout, and staying healthy by avoiding sin. The spiritual workout itself will stretch your assumptions, burn away the fat of laziness and misuse of freewill, and build muscles of faith and discernment. You’ll also learn how to defeat your toughest opponents in the spiritual life: the devil, distractions, and boredom. Even though Bob Rice is a professor of theology at a Catholic university (Franciscan University of Steubenville), this book is not preachy or dry and scholarly; it is full of practical advice for taking your childhood faith to the next level. You might also like the companion book 40-Day Spiritual Workout for Catholics, a day-by-day devotional guide. Or maybe you’d prefer the smart phone app 40 Day Spiritual Workout for Catholic Teens. It’s free!
Longing for a deeper prayer life? Try Listening at Prayer by Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel. Many of us are experts at talking to God, telling Him what we want and giving Him advice on how to run the world. But how many of us are also experts at listening for God’s “still, small voice?” Hearing that voice in the circumstances of our daily lives? Hearing that voice in the Scripture readings and the psalms at Mass? This book by an acclaimed spiritual master is only 85 pages long, but it is rich. If you go through it the way he suggests, taking the time to put it down and do the brief exercises in awareness, recollection, and scripture reading, your life of prayer will never be the same.
If you’re more of an active person, and you want hands-on practice at making more room for God in your life, then you’d enjoy Simplifying the Soul: Lenten Practices to Renew Your Spirit by Paula Huston. This book goes day-by-day through Lent, starting on Ash Wednesday. For each day there’s a short reflection followed by a physical activity. For example, “turn off your cell phone for a day.” Or, “seek out someone who is angry with you and apologize.” A challenging book!
All three titles are available online, but consider supporting your local Catholic bookstore by making your purchase at the Catholic Shoppe on Ogden Avenue in Westmont.
Clare T. Walker, a Holy Trinity Parishioner since 2003, writes for the National Catholic Register (www.ncregister.com). She is also an independent fiction author. Here are some handy links to her website and her books:
Clare T. Walker
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