There are so many great books to read, but a few come to mind that seem especially right for the season of Lent. Here are my top ten picks:
- Twice-Told Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne. He has been called America’s first great Christian writer. If you like a bit of mystery thrown in as you learn, you’ll enjoy the Reverend Hooper in The Minister’s Black Veil. His veil, like the gray cross on some of our foreheads on Ash Wednesday, proclaims the sinfulness of our hearts and forces us to reckon with it before God, alone. I like this book because it’s a compilation of short stories, so I don’t get bored.
- Think Well On It: Consideration on the Great Truths of the Gospel by Richard Challoner. Well written and thought-provoking. If you want to meditate and deepen your understanding of the Bible, this is a great book to help you.
- He Chose the Nails by Max Lucado. I’ve read this book every year during the Lent season since 2009. I never get tired of reading of the outstanding and perfect LOVE with which my Savior went to the cruel cross of Calvary. https://youtu.be/gnKiJnQAgsk
- The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis. I’m only on the first chapter, but it sets a great tone for Lent. It talks about how we need to deny our own vanity – and all the sins to which it leads.
- The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential in Business and in Life by Leo Babauta. By setting limits for yourself and making the most of the resources you already have, you will be happier and feel lighter in your own life. Contentment in Christ alone is what we all want.
- He Leadeth Me by Walter J. Ciszek. God has powerfully used this book in my life.
- The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur: The Woman Whose Goodness Changed Her Husband from Atheist to Priest by Elisabeth Leseur.This inspiring book gives you a splendid example of how to live as a Christian in a secular environment that can be indifferent or hostile to your Faith. For Elisabeth Leseur had two great loves: God and her husband Felix, who was an atheist. Felix loved Elisabeth as well; yet to their mutual sorrow, he couldn’t share the life of the Spirit that Elisabeth cherished.Occasionally the happiness of their life together in upper-class Parisian society was shattered by Felix’s frustration and impatience. How could such an intelligent woman waste her time, as he saw it, with ignorant superstitions? Sometimes he and his friends would even ridicule and mock her faith.But Elisabeth loved Felix too much to allow their home to degenerate into an emotional war zone. She realized that confrontations and arguments were useless; she chose instead to keep quiet and pray for Felix. In her secret diary she recorded how she used his efforts to destroy her faith as means to grow in love for him and for God.Throughout their life together, it grieved Elisabeth to think that Felix might be separated from her for all eternity because of his rejection of God.For her, life in Heaven wouldn’t be happy without him. Yet when she died prematurely, Felix was still an unbeliever.The story doesn’t end there. When Felix found this diary, he discovered how Elisabeth’s whole life bore witness to the truth of the God she loved.
In time, Felix was transformed by the diary and his memories of Elisabeth. He became a Christian and, later, a priest. Now she may even be declared a saint. Elisabeth’s diary and spiritual writings (all included in this one volume) map out for you a path to marital harmony and greater love for God — especially if you love someone who stands outside the Faith. Let Elisabeth’s two great loves, and her faith and perseverance, inspire you now. This is an amazing book, an amazing journey which brought me to tears more than once.
- I Believe in Love by Fr. Jean C.J. d’Elbee. Based on St. Therese’s little way, it stresses confidence in and abandonment to Jesus. I’m reading it a few pages at a time. It’s written with such depth that a little dab will provoke thought and provide inspiration.
- Lovingkindness by Sharon Salzberg. A life changing guide about prayer. It helps us discover how to increase loving thought and feelings toward family, then friends, then people we are ambivalent about, then people we dislike and eventually, all people. It’s a perfect book for our journey to become more like Christ.
- Heart of the World by Hans Urs von Balthasar. Pure paschal poetry of distilled Gospel.
I am actually very partial to one particular book – and I’ll bet you know what one! 😉 I want to encourage you to read Lucinda Berry Hill’s A SECOND CUP WITH JESUS, the follow-up to her popular book, COFFEE WITH JESUS. Both of the books are excellent, but of course I’m going to recommend the one that she so graciously asked me to write prayers to go with her wonderful poetry.
I want to share the poetry for both books, in which Lucinda so cleverly used the titles of the poems in the book to write a poem!
Here’s the one for COFFEE WITH JESUS:
And here’s the poem with the titles from her book A SECOND CUP WITH JESUS:
I hope you’ll check some of these books out. They’re good reads no matter what time of year, but seem especially good during Lent. I’d love to hear what your favorites are. Please let me know in the comment section below. 🙂