Lent begins next week and now’s a great time to get together a plan for how we’ll personally put into action the Church’s call to repentance through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. If you’re having trouble deciding what to do, especially if you’re looking for new ideas for how to better delve into this special season of grace, I highly recommend Marcellino D’Ambrosio’s new book, 40 Days, 40 Ways: A New Look at Lent.
Designed to accompany the reader throughout the season, 40 Days, 40 Ways offers forty ideas from the Catholic Church’s rich history for observing Lent, each with an accompanying reflection explaining the meaning behind such works, the fruit it can yield, and engaging anecdotes from Marcellino’s own journey in faith. The book offers plenty of evidence from history and personal experience that the tips prescribed therein will bear great fruit. In one day’s reflection, Marcellino suggests taking a pilgrimage and relates the extraordinary grace he once received on a pilgrimage at a certain saint’s tomb. Testimony like this makes the reader eager to take on even the more challenging suggestions for hope of receiving similar fruit.
Marcellino recommends reading the tips before Lent begins and choosing two or three practices to stick to while using the other tips and their reflections as daily readings for your prayer time. At the end is a helpful catalog of spiritual reading, tapes, movies and books to enrich personal prayer and even recreation time, as well as a mini retreat that can be read at any time throughout Lent. Packed with enough ideas for numerous Lents, this book beautifully lends itself to be reread in subsequent years and still remain fresh.
This book is what Marcellino D’Ambrosio does so well. It presents the richness of the Catholic Church and her history and people in a delightful, engaging way for the modern reader, and I am greatly looking forward to returning to this book often this Lent.
Copyright 2015 Meg Matenaer