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Catholic Spiritual Direction

Call to Prayer: 7 Resources for your Lenten Journey

February 6, 2013 by  
Filed under Books, Dan Burke, Featured, Resources

Pantocrator Spas_vsederzhitel_sinay WikimediaOne of the countless joys of the Church is the recurring open invitation to move deeper into the life of grace. These invitations come in a thousand ways, through the lives of the saints, through the sacraments and especially through our liturgical seasons. As Lent begins to rise on the horizon, we are again faced with another divine beckoning to move into a deeper relationship with Christ and His Church.

In the fourteenth chapter of St. John’s Gospel we have a compelling promise offered by our Lord to anyone who would desire intimacy with Him. He reveals that He will manifest Himself to those who live within His divine covenant of love. But what does it mean to have God manifest Himself to us? The answer to this question surely cannot  come to those who stand outside of the interior castle. It can only come to those who enter the castle, those who heed the call to “come, taste, and see that the Lord is good.”

Another opportunity is coming. Will you answer the call this time? Will you give yourself to Him on this year’s Lenten journey?

One thing is certain: You shouldn’t travel alone. Here you will find a list of seven extraordinary books that can lead you to greater intimacy with our Lord — as you learn to pray as you have never prayed before.

If you have never initiated a prayer quest and are feeling like you need a broad understanding of the basic types of prayer and ideas for where to start, Fr. Dubay’s fantastic book, Prayer Primer – Igniting a Fire Within might provide just what you need. This book really is a great resource for all pilgrims who are looking for a solidly Catholic perspective on prayer.

Time for GodIf you have read Prayer Primer and are looking to explore the great gift of mental prayer, Fr. Jacques Philippe – in his book Time for God – provides a masterful but remarkably accessible and motivating treatment of what it means to live a life immersed in prayer and relationship with Christ.

Treatise on Prayer and MeditationIf you are looking for a book on prayer that both provides guidance for how to approach meditation and daily meditations perfectly suited for Lent, St. Peter of Alcantara’s book Treatise on Prayer and Meditation is a perfect fit. It is worth noting that St. Peter was once a spiritual director to St. Teresa of Avila.

Hidden Mountain Secret GardenIf you have entered into the castle of the life of prayer but are looking for new perspective and encouragement, Anthony Lilles’ Hidden Mountain Secret Garden might be a great choice for you. Anthony has an unusually deep understanding of mystical theology and obviously lives a life of deep prayer and this new book really is an experience like no other.

theBetterPartCoverIf you have been practicing vocal prayer for some time and recognize that you need to move beyond the basics, Christ-centered meditation could be the best next step for you. There is no better book on meditation and the the practice of meditating through the Gospels than Fr. John Bartunek’s The Better Part – A Christ Centered Resource for Personal Prayer. It provides both a method of meditation and guides for meditation for every verse of the four Gospels. The best approach for Lent is to use the guide in the back that will help you to align your meditations to the Gospel readings for Mass each day of the season.

Divine IntimacyIf your copy of The Better Part is well worn and you want to dig deeper topically into the central themes of Lent and be challenged to further holiness through the wisdom of a master of Carmelite spirituality, then Divine Intimacy is the book for you. Together, this inspirational volume and The Better Part will provide you with a lifetime of reflections for every day of the liturgical calendar.

Mystical EvolutionIf you are well into the interior castle but have found yourself struggling to find your way, I suggest you turn to  Mystical Evolution – written by not merely an academic, but by a mystic who is solidly trained academically. The combination of deep prayer and a well-formed theological and academic background provides a uniquely moving treatment of how we develop a profound and life-changing relationship with the Blessed Trinity.

If you have read everything listed here, you have a truly solid foundation. For more ideas, check out our “Resources” link at the top of our site. We are always updating it and adding new recommended reading.

I pray that this Lenten season draws you much deeper into your relationship with Christ than you could have ever imagined.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the founder of Catholic Spiritual Direction, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and author of the award winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God. Beyond his “contagious” love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN’s National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN’s Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • judeen

     I have read many deep and spiritual books… and really sought a holy life… but what made me grow most was… forgiveness, confession , and serving God in jail and other places evanglising .. the harder  the job. the more God is present … the Holy Spirit does the rest… even in books.. the Holy Spirit will guide you to a book you need to learn from… Seek God with all your heart and help others find Him… God will do the rest

    • LizEst

      Ah yes, Father R. Scott Hurd (a former Episcopal priest now a Catholic priest) has an easy to read book called “Forgiveness – A Catholic Approach.”  It would also be a good one for Lent.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MGEE5L6JWXSXFIYXC2UAQNNWO4 Patricia

    Lent is a time to return to God this indeed a holy time. In prayer, through the sacraments especially confession. God calls us to penance and alms giving and fasting. He calls us to forgiveness by accepting his forgiveness and we must forgive others who have hurt or offended us and ask forgiveness to those we have hurt and offended. Reconciliation of the body of Christ. I pray I am open to the Lord’s love and mercy and be merciful as he is. I pray to not run in haste as Mother Mary did to do charity. I pray I persevere and turn to God in hard times that seem unbearable! I pray to unite my suffering with Jesus crucified on the cross. I pray to be more humble and meek. I pray to grow deeper in the paschal mystery and to remain in his grace to remain in his love.

  • srockers81

    What a great list!! Thank you!!

  • http://rcspiritualdirection.com/blog Mary@42

    All these books are wonderful, I have no doubt, though out of reach for this gal.  However, during Lent I turn to the Divine Office for my Morning and Evening Prayers.  Though I am unable to purchase the new 4-Volume Divine Office Books – now re-named Liturgy of the Hours, observing the Lenten Season the ancient way of my childhood is a great help to prepare for the Day of our Salvation…..and of course, now, since Year 2000, the Day of Atonement – The Divine Mercy Sunday.