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Godzdogz

The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

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Books for Lent

Tuesday, February 16, 2010
The Godzdogz team recommends the following spiritual reading for Lent:


The Desert Fathers, edited by Helen Waddell - In this collection of the lives and sayings of the Desert Fathers, there is much striking and perceptive practical advice for the spiritual life from those who followed Christ literally into the desert, as we are called to do spiritually in these forty days.

Confession, by Saint Patrick - A noble humility dominates this account of Patrick's life and preaching. He stresses the power of God’s grace in lifting him, weighed down by sin, to become an instrument of that same grace. It is a most encouraging reflection on Christian vocation.

Saint Francis of Assisi, by G. K. Chesterton - This is a very personal account of an inspirational saint who invites us to turn from sin and to start living for Christ.

The Interior Castle, by Saint Teresa of Avila - Written whilst she was being investigated by the Inquisition, this spiritual masterpiece is a set of practical and beautiful teachings for the contemplative life.

The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, by Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich - This book grants us an insight into the great love that God has shown us in Christ and in particular the way in which Our Lady participated in the sufferings of her Son.

The Prayer of Love and Silence, by A Carthusian - This short but powerful book reminds us of the centrality of prayer to the Christian life, of the importance of which the Church has also traditionally reminded us during Lent. Flowing from the silence of the Charterhouse comes much simple and very useful guidance for all Christians on the life of prayer.

Journey to Easter: Spiritual Reflections for the Lenten Season, by Benedict XVI - A Lenten blessing that evaluates the meaning of the season, the significance of the birth and death of Christ, and the meaning of Jesus in the lives of Christians everywhere, in a spiritual meditation that follows such themes as the mystery of Mary and the Pentecostal sending of the Spirit.

Leisure the Basis of Culture, by Josef Pieper - A great Catholic philosopher reflects on an insight that is central to his thinking, that the search for truth and wisdom must be undertaken within a space (‘leisure’) that is free of any utilitarian purpose whether political, academic or bureaucratic.

Marked for Life: Prayer in the Easter Christ, by Maria Boulding OSB - Dame Maria, without descending into jargon or mystical flights of fancy, uses the paschal mystery as a template and scripture as a guide in exploring how a life of prayer can transfigure the joys and sorrows of human life and bind us to Christ.

The Spiritual Letters of Dom John Chapman OSB, edited by Dom Rodger Hudleston - The collected letters of the Fourth Abbot of Downside is a rich treasury of spiritual and mystical theology. A convert from Anglicanism, he was regarded as an authority on prayer and a much sought after spiritual director.

Lent and Easter Wisdom from Fulton J. Sheen - A Lenten journey of daily meditations covering the traditional themes of Lent — sin and salvation, death and Resurrection, sorrow and hope. Fifty passages and accompanying mini-prayers offer readers a practical spiritual program as a retreat from the cares and concerns of a secular world view.

The Cost of Discipleship, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer - Before his arrest by the Nazis in 1943, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was head of a seminary of the German Confessing Church. In "The Cost of Discipleship", he focuses on the most treasured part of Christ's teaching, the Sermon on the Mount.

And from Dominican authors:

The Divine Pity, by Gerald Vann OP - This has been described as "one of the finest books of the [20th] century", and it has been mentioned by friends, both Dominicans and non-Dominicans. This Lent, I hope to fill a lack and discover a spiritual classic that many others have recommended to me.

The Presence of God, by Anselm Moynihan OP - fr Anselm was for many years master of novices in the Irish province and in this small gem he distills a spiritual wisdom that is at once profound and practical.

Ways of Imperfection, by Simon Tugwell OP - Lent is a good time to examine our consciences and I am faced afresh with my own imperfections. fr Simon's exploration of Christian spirituality promises to show how the saints have been moved by grace from imperfection to perfection in Christ and I hope that reading it will help me on that journey too.

The New Wine of Dominican Spirituality, by Paul Murray OP - This book delights in recounting the joy of the early Dominicans and their passion for God and for souls. It has a lightness of touch that no doubt comes from the author's obvious love for his subject.

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