On Keeping Lent

It's snowing today, as evidenced by the slight amount on the ground and strange blurry streaks barely visible in the air.
It’s snowing today, as evidenced by the slight amount on the ground and the strange blurry streaks barely visible in the air.

This Sunday, as we listened to the story of Christ’s call to some ordinary fishermen, we might have heard a homily about Christ’s personal call to each of us. He wants something from each one of us. A relationship with Him, certainly, but also for us to draw others into relationship with Him. Some, like those fishermen, are called to preach to the masses and to bring souls to Christ in great numbers. Some are called to minister in remote villages where the people have never heard of the Gospel. Some are called to fill the physical needs of the poorest of God’s children, and others to pray in seclusion for the people of this world. There are as many different ways to share the love of Jesus as there are people who call him King.

My sister asked this morning for ideas for a Lenten study, and I can share with you what I’ve decided to do – and not do – this Lent, but my call might be different than yours, and my spiritual needs at this moment most certainly are, so that might be of limited value.

My recommendation is to think and pray on your real vocation, to make note of all the things that might be distracting you from that vocation, and to identify what kind of support or encouragement you need to do your work well or to restore your motivation.

I have known forever that my family is my mission field, that the souls I bring to Christ are my own children, but I begin Lent in the late stages of pregnancy, physically tired and in need of encouragement and inspiration. The distractions I face are – wait for it – social media. Big surprise, right? I have decided to focus on home and family matters, and have chosen reading material appropriately, and I have put limits for myself on facebook interactions. Instagram is not nearly the time-vacuum that facebook is.

These are the books I’ve chosen:

The Lifegiving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming by Sally and Sarah Clarkson. I have already begun this one and it is wonderful. I think it’s as much about hospitality as anything, and that hospitality begins with the family and naturally extends outward. I’ve intentionally withdrawn from people, I’m afraid, since Evie was born, but a family circle should be expandable to welcome those outside these walls, too.

40 Days of Decrease: A Different Kind of Hunger. A Different Kind of Fast. by Alicia Britt Chole. I’ve only just flipped through this one. I have a feeling it won’t be my favorite book this Lent, but it is chosen and waiting none the less. Who knows? It might surprise me!

Roots and Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons by Christie Purifoy. I don’t have this one in hand yet, but I’m looking forward to reading this woman’s journey toward making a home.

The Diary of a Country Priest: A Novel by Georges Bernanos. This was actually an Auntie Leila suggestion, and one I’m really looking forward to for bedtime reading.

And lastly, City of God: Faith in the Streets by Sarah Miles. I think this one falls into the memoir category, too, but again, I believe that a Christian family can’t stay turned in on itself. It must reach out and be a light in the world, as well, so this fits in with my theme. 🙂

Also, I found this one for the little children, Make Room: A Child’s Guide to Lent and Easter by Laura Alery. It’s out of stock at amazon, but available from Paraclete Press. They are not a specifically Catholic publisher, and there is no mention of specifically Catholic things in this book, like Mass, for instance, but it is very orthodox and sweet, leading the youngest children to keep Lent and make room in their hearts and lives for Jesus.

That’s my list! I’m an excellent book picker, rarely choosing a lemon, so if you have a specific goal, I might be able to help you. Just leave a note in the comments, and we’ll see what we can do. But remember, God almost always has another sort of Lent already chosen for you, so make room for whatever it is He plans to lay on you, too. He’s always got something. 😉

6 Comment

  1. You’ll have to let me know how you like Diary of a Country Priest. I’ve started that book a number of times, beginning ten years ago in college, but I never got very far before I set it aside. Maybe my reading has matured enough to persist now…

    I’m looking forward to reading through Mother Mary Francis’ Lenten book.

    1. Is this the one? A Time of Renewal: Daily Reflections for the Lenten Season
      I’ve haven’t used this one yet, but I’ve loved others of her books. She’s a beautiful soul!

  2. Yes! That’s it. I read through some of it last Lent but not as focused as I’m looking forward to (hopefully) reading it this year. All of her work that I have read so far seems to speak directly to my soul. She is indeed a beautiful soul!

  3. Thank you for this list. I’m definitely going to check out these books.

    I completely agree and love what you have to say about your family being your mission field. Sometimes I think I need to do something large and important for Christ and that raising my young family is keeping me from that grand mission, but really, what can be larger or more important than forming these young souls in my care?

    I’ve just started reading your blog and I really appreciate your wisdom on life, faith and motherhood. Thank you and God bless!

    1. Another Jennie! Thank you, welcome, and I’m looking forward to getting to know you. 🙂

  4. Fr. Philip N. Powell OP wrote a homily about a way to resist temptations by the devil at http://www.hancaquam.blogspot.com on 2-14-16 Don’t play the Devil’s Games… It will same to be confusing at first but Father gives good reasons for his opinion.

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