Question: Can you recommend some good books for Lenten spiritual reading?
Answer: On more than one occasion, a coach being interviewed about his team–successful or not–will be asked about the next step. The inevitable response includes something about getting back to basics. Reviewing the fundamentals of the sport strengthens performance and builds confidence.
The best Lenten reading takes us back to the fundamentals. If Lent is the time for the Church to be on retreat, then we should focus on the texts that help us deepen our understanding of our faith. Spend time reading one of the Gospels, and use a Scripture commentary to learn all you can about the passion of Jesus. Read about the lives of the saints, especially your patron saint and that of your parish. Perhaps there is some local candidate for sainthood, like Father Walter Ciszek, SJ, who wrote several faith-inspiring books. Finally, you can use the Catechism of the Catholic Church to learn more about the church’s teachings and beliefs. The sections on prayer and the Mass are really great reflections. Focusing on the basics really helps us take another step forward in our faith. We have not only a better understanding of what we believe and practice, but also why we believe. With that belief comes the confidence we need to be better, more faithful witnesses to Christ.