If you have been with us a while, you may or may not know that I am an Oblate of St. Benedict. It has been a while since I have had the chance to go out an renew my vows (Babies and COVID both make travel difficult eh?) but I still try to use St. Benedict’s model of work and prayer as a guide for my life. And in the Rule of St. Benedict, one of the proscriptions is spiritual reading. So regardless of your reading pace, I challenge you to pick a book and read it within the period of Great Lent. Even if it is five minutes a day.
So now you are probably wondering what to read! So here are three suggestions from me of great books to read through Great Lent.
Annunciation by Sally Read is published by Ignatius Press. Sally Read is an atheist who converts to Catholicism following a series of events including many conversations with a Ukrainian Catholic Priest. If you like to read conversion stories, hers is published under the title Night’s Bright Darkness. Plus it gives some context for reading Annunciation.
Primarily, Annunciation is the story of a mother giving her daughter reasons to believe the Catholic faith. However, these reasons come in the context of the Feast of the Annunciation. It is a very poetic read, and the framing of the mother writing to her daughter heightens the experience of the theological concepts. I am recommending this as a Lenten read not only because March 25th falls during the Lenten season, but because any book centering around the Theotokos makes for a great choice to read during this time.
My second recommendation for a Great Lent Read is Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie. Now, I know the title says homeschooling. But even if you don’t homeschool, or don’t have kids, I still think this is a valuable read. And that is because one of the greatest things I got out of reading this book was how to have an attitude of rest towards the work of your vocation.
I am already rereading this book.
First, I borrowed it from the library. Then I bought it because it was so great. And now, I think I might make this a book a reread quarterly. Sarah Mackenzie is a Catholic homeschooling mother, writer, and podcaster. Her other book is called The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids. And although I wouldn’t call that one a Lenten read, feel free to add it to your booklist as well!
Philiokalia Volume One
No Byzantine book list would be complete with out including the works of the Church Fathers. And what a work the Philiokalia is!
The Philiokalia is all about asceticism and attentiveness to prayer. Some call it a guide to spiritual warfare. The writing included is by monks and Church Fathers from the 300s and 400s. And so, because these years are preschism, that makes the Philiokalia relevant to both Catholic and Orthodox households!
Not Interested in any of the above suggestions? Try going for something else about the Desert Fathers or Church Fathers. That is, if you are looking for something less intimidating than the Philiokalia. Or you could try reading Ladder of Divine Ascent (a recommendation from The Badger Dad)
The Byzantine Life
So tell me, what are a few of your favourites/top 3s? Or even just a few top 1s. Let me know in the comments!
Thank you for checking out this week’s article. If you enjoyed this week’s article, you might also be interested in reading about last year’s Blog Milestone Article (which was a family update), or our Best Year Ever plans.
On our Pinterest we have boards full of icons, organization ideas, and faith-based activities! New posts are always shared to Facebook, and my husband runs our Twitter (@TheByzLife) and Instagram accounts (username: thebyzantinelife)! And if you want to support our work at TheByzantineLife.com, consider joining us on Patreon. For as little as $5 a month you can get exclusive access to special posts, photos, and updates from our family! https://www.patreon.com/thebyzantinelife