Thursday, April 25, 2019

Get Ready for Next Lent, and the One After That . . .

Now that Lent is over, I'll reveal what I read during Lent (as spiritual reading). One of the books I read I also reviewed for Homiletic & Pastoral Review and the review was just posted:

Among my annual preparations for Lent, amidst planning menus for Fridays, searching out schedules for Stations of the Cross (preferably with Exposition, Adoration, and Benediction) and other devotional opportunities, and deciding what charitable causes to support, selecting spiritual reading for the season is essential. Catholic publishers provide a wide array of choices from classic to contemporary, for different age groups or other demographics, with reflections, prayers, activities, and suggested penances, etc.
Father Thomas Hoisington’s new Reflections on the Sacred Liturgy from In Hoc Est Caritas Press offers readers an excellent alternative not just because of its focus on the lectionary readings for every day of Lent, but also because he includes all three Sunday reading cycles (A, B, and C). This one book will be beneficial for reflection and meditation from 2019 through 2032: I should live so long! It’s also a useful volume for priests preparing Sunday homilies or daily feverinos and for RCIA catechists in preparing catechumens and candidates for the Scrutinies and Holy Week.
With passing references to outside authorities (St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Thomas More, Bl. John Henry Newman, the Catechism of the Catholic Church) Father Hoisington heeds his own counsel that “we should never underestimate the depth of Sacred Scripture” (45) when seeing how the readings at Mass connect with each other and with our lives as Catholic Christians. Each reflection makes connections within the lectionary readings for the day, or between those readings and common Lenten devotions like the Stations of the Cross, the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, or between the readings and the Sacraments, especially of Baptism, Confession, and Holy Communion. The entire book is suffused with Catholic doctrine, devotion, and morality. For example, when describing how God can bring great good out of evil, he tells us, “If you find it hard to acknowledge this, pray an entire rosary without taking your eyes of the crucifix” (39), thus reminding us that God responded to the “happy fault of Adam” with the Incarnation and the Paschal Mystery. . . .
Father Hoisington's book is available here in both Kindle and paperback.

I joined a study group in another parish at the invitation of a friend to read Dom Lorenzo Scupoli's The Spiritual Combat:

Salvation and spiritual perfection should not be sought haphazardly; a strategy is needed to win the battle for our souls.

The Spiritual Combat, first published in 1589, provides timeless guidance in spiritual discipline. St Francis de Sales (1576-1622) read from it himself every day and recommended it to everyone under his direction. 

Vigorous, realistic and full of keen insight into human nature, 
The Spiritual Combat consists of short chapters based on the maxim that in the spiritual life one must either "fight or die". Fr. Scupoli shows the Christian how to combat his passions and vices, especially impurity and sloth, in order to arrive at victory. 

This is the original TAN edition now with updated typesetting, fresh new cover, new size and quality binding, and the same trusted content.

This was a challenging book because Dom Scupoli does not make any room for mediocrity in the spiritual life. You can't be a little bit holy, obeying God's will only when it conforms to your will!

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