Lent starts NEXT WEEK! Are you ready? Our favorite question here in the bookstore community is "What are you reading for Lent?"
We had two employees out today (out of two), so I was on call downstairs. That gave me a bit of time to look at some of the Lenten resources we have on hand, and one book seemed especially helpful, even though the title is rather stiff (as is the font the designer chose for it!).
"Embrace Your Renewal" (by Fr. Harold Buetow) is presented as a "thought a day" but it is really much more.
I think it should be called "User's Guide to Lent" or something like that. It is more a handbook and daily guide than simply a thought a day. For example, it explains the origins of Lent, and goes into the traditional Lenten practices with some detail: what is Lenten fasting? Why do we fast? How do we fast? When do we fast? Why give alms? How to give alms in our contemporary setting? What to pray for? How does prayer of petition fit in? What other forms of prayer are there? What other Lenten practices are there that make sense in the here and now?
And then there is the "thought a day": a good four pages for each day of Lent, drawing from the day's readings, and interspersed with lots of anecdotes. If you take public transit, this is the book for you, especially because it's not such heavy reading that you need to focus all your attention on the page while keeping an ear on subway stations and bus stops.
"Embrace Your Renewal" will take you all the way to Holy Saturday in this rather extraordinarily early Lent. (The last time Lent was this early was 1913.)
So, what are you reading for Lent?