Lent is about more than just giving up treats and luxuries, these days many people are concerned with eschewing their vices rather than the religious importance of this period. Lent is a time to reflect upon the previous year, what we can improve about ourselves personally; how we can be better Christians and reinforcing our faith. Ash Wednesday seems to come along quicker each year and many people end up taking this time of reflection for granted. The season of Lent is an excellent time to focus our attention on prayer, transformation and personal renewal. Reading is a pleasant discipline perfectly tailored for this most holy and solemn of observances. To help our readers reconnect with their faith this year during their Lenten journey we have compiled four books to inspire devotion for 2020.
The story of Knock began on the 21 August 1879 when, at approximately 8pm, fifteen people from the village of Knock in Co. Mayo, witnessed an apparition of Our Lady, St Joseph, St John the Evangelist, a Lamb and cross on an altar at the gable wall of the Parish Church.
Ireland’s National Marian Shrine now attracts 1.5 million pilgrims each year from all over the world during the pilgrimage season from April-October.
The rector of Knock Shrine, Fr Richard Gibbons, has both written and personally chosen this collection of prayers which are inspired by the life lived in Knock and what Knock means to all the pilgrims, visitors, volunteers and parishioners that make up its story. They range from Novena prayers to Our Lady of Knock to prayers for workers, families, hospitality, healing, nature and even dogs!
This book is a resource for those who may not get the chance to pray, have forgotten how to or would just like something simple and accessible to help them journey along the pilgrim road of life.
The Glenstal Book of Prayer is a rich nourishing resource for the dark, mysterious, but exciting journey, which is prayer. It draws on the wisdom of the Bible, enshrined in Benedictine liturgy, on the experience of modern monks, and on the wisdom of the Christian church. Coming as it does from an Irish monastery it reflects in a special way the Celtic tradition with its earthy, popular and devotional prayers.
The first section is a simple ‘Liturgy of the Hours’. Through psalms, canticles and other words of scripture, through invocations and concluding prayers, the day is hallowed and the presence of the risen Christ is gratefully remembered. The second section consists of familiar prayers, those tried and tested prayer texts stretching back through the centuries: the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles’ Creed, the Stations of the Cross, the Rosary and many others. The third section, ritual prayers, provides formulae for various needs and occasions as they arise in every life, and a series of blessings. The Celtic element is particularly marked in this part of the book. There is also a special prayer for Benedictine Oblates. The fourth and final part includes psalms (to supplement the liturgical section or for meditation) and a series of quotations from the Rule of Saint Benedict. The latter can be read as part of night prayer (Compline) or simply meditated or ruminated upon as a source of inspiration in one’s spiritual life.
Father Niall Ahern presents here a set of reflections, which he has broadcast on local radio, for the season of Lent. Treating the season as a time of journeying, there is a short prayerful reflection for every day of Lent.
“God is the one for whom we wait as we make the Lenten journey and it is good that these Daily Thoughts for the Lenten Journey are now in book form so that we can return to them when our spirits are low or when we fear we may have lost our way.” – Baroness Nuala O’ Loan. This book is ideal for personal prayer during the season of Lent.
The season of Lent is a kind of journey, a pilgrimage perhaps, with the promise of something glorious at the end. The readings used at Mass on the forty-six days, which include Holy Week, are a guide for us, the pilgrims, and this book is an attempt, often based on those readings, to point the way and to illuminate the journey. For those who do not consider themselves holy, but who would like to make a good Lent and to share this walk of faith with others, this book should encourage them to discover their own insights and inspiration, as they face their struggles and doubts and are consoled and uplifted by the Holy Spirit. This book will deepen our love of Jesus Christ, whose terrible journey this was.
Pre-order Glenstal Abbey monk P. Fintan Lyon’s ‘Food, Feast & Fast’ for a deeper insight into the role of food in Christianity through the ages here.