One of the best aspects of my amazing trip to my mother’s ancestral home — Ireland — was the fact that I had a native-born Irishman, Patrick, to serve as my guide for my journey. I believe that one’s spiritual journey through Lent can also benefit from having a seasoned guide to help navigate the sometimes bumpy, often beautiful terrain.
Ann M. Garrido is such a guide. A seasoned traveler in the spiritual world, her reflections in The Living Gospel Daily Devotions for Lent 2018 (Ave Maria Press) represent an exceptionally good guidebook for this sacrificial season.
This guide is easy to navigate, which makes it particularly useful for moms on the go. It is organized in a day-by-day format that is not only clear and concise, but also rich in insights. I really enjoy the format, which begins with the helpful advice: Be silent. Be still. Pray, “Open my heart, O Lord.”
The daily passage then offers a prayer and a passage from Sacred Scripture for reflection purposes. The next section offers the author’s ruminations, which are quite interesting and engaging. For instance, a passage on the Church’s call to “choose life” and to “take up one’s cross” includes a reference to a woman at the March for Life who deftly did both when she refused to abort her unborn child. The daily reflection also includes a concrete action the reader can take, such as contacting a Congressional representative about a pressing issue. And, as is befitting, the daily dose of wisdom ends with a prayer.
One call to action that I found quite moving is contained in the following passage:
I will take time today to listen to the witness of someone who turned their life around — either someone I know or someone who shares their story publicly. I will reflect on what awakened this person to the need for significant change. What enabled him or her to make the change? What can I learn from this?
Half-way through Lent, the author offers another intriguing call to action:
I will return to the devotions of the first days of Lent and recall the commitments I made to conversion and prophetic fasting. I will assess what steps I have taken in each of these areas. What impulses from the start of this Lenten season need renewed commitment? I will then write down my commitments for the second half of the season.
I find the Lenten period to be emotionally overwhelming at times, as I struggle with the sacrifices, prayers, and almsgiving I have undertaken in an attempt to draw closer to Christ. The Living Gospel Daily Devotions for Lent 2018 enables me to take a step back, reflect on what’s really important, and draw comfort from the living God in the process.
What kind of guidance are you searching for this Lent?
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Copyright 2018 Maria V. Gallagher