With Lent beginning tomorrow, February 9, on Ash Wednesday, it's time to take a look at some inspiring reading material to help us grow in holiness. Here are some suggestions:
1. The Kiss of Jesus: How Mother Teresa and the Saints Helped Me to Discover the Beauty of the Cross by Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle
This book is ideal for Lent as it teaches us about suffering, God’s grace, and living a holy life. It also touches on God’s great love and mercy in this Jubilee Year of Mercy.
In this candid, astonishing autobiographical account, this soft-spoken, delicate, and devout Catholic media celebrity reveals the shocking struggles she has tackled in life. She became engaged to a drug addict who held her against her will, threatening harm to her family. She faced miscarriages, abuse, serious illness, divorce, financial difficulties, custody battles, and single motherhood – all with great inner strength and tremendous courage. Through God’s providence, she met Mother Teresa, the spiritual guide who shepherded her through some of these trials and helped her heal. Her ten year relationship with this saint provided the spiritual nourishment she needed to stay strong and to live an even holier life.
2. Bringing Lent Home with Pope Francis: Prayers, Reflections, and Activities for Families by Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle
This is a perfect book for families with young children! Franciscan Mom reviews it Here.
3. Trusting God with St. Therese by Connie Rossini
This is a remarkable story of suffering and grace. The main theme is learning to trust God in the midst of suffering and through God’s grace, using our suffering for good purposes, following the example of St. Therese of Lisieux. Why does God allow suffering? What is the purpose of suffering? How can we trust God in the midst of our suffering? Using the Scriptures, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, excerpts from the life of St. Therese, and her own personal experiences, Rossini answers these questions and analyzes the meaning of suffering as it relates to trusting God, giving her readers sound, practical advice on how to deal with the trials and tribulations they face in their own lives.
4. Seven Saints for Seven Virtues by Jean M. Heimann – Want to learn to turn your vices into virtues this Lent? In this book, the author guides you, through the inspiration of the saints to do just that.
"In Seven Saints for Seven Virtues, Jean Heimann has given readers a close-up of seven saints who are, all too often, distant in their “perfection” to those of us struggling in the pews. As a bonus, each saint is paired with a virtue and an “everyday hero” (a real-life non-saint who’s not inaccessibly holy)."
"What Jean Heimann has masterfully done in this book is something that you’ll value more with each rereading…because yes, this is a book you will reference and revisit and reread. Not only is it a lesson in the virtues, but it’s a close-up of seven saints and an examination of the virtues in light of those saints’ lives. Heimann walks with the reader, sharing her struggles and encouraging us to turn to the saints in specific ways and to take specific actions to begin practicing the virtues."
- Sarah Reinhard in the National Catholic Register
5. 7 Secrets of Divine Mercy by Vinny Flynn. Flynn is the author of other 7 Secrets books, (7 Secrets of the Eucharist and 7 Secrets of Confession), but I agree with him when he admits that this is the book he should have written first. It is a remarkable book that will open up your heart and your mind to the mysteries of Divine Mercy. If you think you know just about all there is about Divine Mercy, you will be astounded to learn that there is so much more to know. Vinny Flynn is the perfect person to tell you about it. He has contemplated the mystery of Divine Mercy for thirty-five years and has worked with Divine Mercy experts Fr. Seraphim Michalenko and Fr. George Kosciki, to train many of the current speakers on this timely topic. He edited the official English version of the Diary of St. Faustina, and for twenty years has been singing the Chaplet of Divine Mercy with his family on EWTN.
6. Thirty – Three Days to Merciful Love by Michael Gaitley This is a do-it-yourself retreat in preparation for consecration to Divine Mercy. It begins on March 1, 2016.
7. The Magnificat Lenten Companion – This has been my main staple for Lenten reading and reflection for many years now. I love it!
Giveaway: I will be giving away two Magnificat Lenten apps for use on your computer, cell phone, or IPad. To enter, just send your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject title “Lenten Giveaway.” The giveaway begins today, February 9, 2016 and ends on Friday, February 12, 2016. I will notify the winners by email.