One of my goals this Lent was to really dive into spiritual reading whenever possible. This probably sounds odd to those who are aware that I am a theology student – obviously I get in a ton of faith based reading simply by necessity! My Lenten goal, however, was to seek out books that would have an effect on my prayer life, or how I live my faith – books that can make profound differences, as well as teaching me as my class reading does. Luckily my fellow students and I have been on “Independent Study” throughout Lent, which is not as demanding as Active Study – perk of a Catholic college anyone?! 🙂
I have found a few gems throughout Lent that I would love to share with you! Any of these can be read anytime throughout the year – not a one is strictly focused on the Lenten season.
First up – A Simple, Life Changing Prayer by Jim Manney
Seriously guys, THIS is the one. Out of them all, if you are going to choose only one out of any of these books, this is the one. It is an introduction to and explanation of St. Ignatius’s Examen Prayer – not to be confused with the Examination of Conscience we complete before Confession. This shows you how to bring God right into the events of your every day life – how to pray better and how to get more out of your time with God. It is simply profound. Even if you are already familiar with this type of prayer, I encourage you to read this anyhow. Jim Manney’s take on, and love for this prayer is palpable.
Next in line is Rediscover Jesus by Matthew Kelly
This book is everywhere in Catholic circles during Lent, and for good reason. It has forty chapters that are short enough to read and digest in one quick sitting, yet deep enough to have quite an effect. It’s perfect to read as a daily devotion. In fact, Matthew Kelly’s daily Lenten devotions, Best Lent Ever, are based on this book. If you haven’t signed up for the Best Lent Ever daily emails, please do so! It’s not too late – you can catch up, and even if you don’t I’m sure the devotions for Holy Week are something you don’t want to miss. One of my favorite lines from this book? “I’m afraid that I know the people on the periphery of my life better than I know Jesus.”
Wow. How’s that for making us think?
If you’ve been around here anytime at all you know two things – that I am a convert, and that I love a good conversion story! Jeff Cavins is the creator of the Great Adventure Timeline Bible Study, which I just completed through my parish. I strongly encourage you to complete it yourself – you will see the Scriptures in a whole, completely different light. When I found out that Jeff had written a book about his conversion I knew I had to check it out. It most definitely did not disappoint!
How about all of you? Have you read any of these books? Have you read something else that has had an effect on you? Let us know in the comments!