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The Essential Lenten Handbook and Observance of Lent
Here's a Peek Inside!
What I like most about 'The Essential Lenten Handbook' is that it is a very versatile resource that I can mix and match as I please.
I have had this book since 2006 and my use of it has never been the same for any of the Lenten seasons from then until now. There are 6 sections which allow you to do this mixing and matching, as follows:
Summary of Sections inside 'The Essential Lenten Handbook'
In-depth explanation of the history & meaning of Lent.
Traditional Lenten practices such as, Stations of the Cross, Lenten Meditations, Examination of Conscience (based on the 10 Commandments) and Devotions in honour of the Passion of Our Lord.
An unusual, interesting and inspiring excerpt from Saint Alphonsus Liguori’s book/writing titled “The Way of Salvation & of Perfection”. These are basically eight (8) ‘Rules of Life’ that provide us with 8 daily tasks which, if we are disciplined enough to follow each day, will purportedly lead us towards living a perfect life on earth and ultimately, salvation. This section goes well beyond the season of Lent, as you can see.
Traditional Catholic prayers that are appropriate for Lent.
‘Modern Practices & Prayers for Lent’; one readings & meditation for each Friday in Lent, as well as prayers and a Litany, with a modern feel and style.
A collection of daily meditations based on the Mass readings during Lent.
New Formats & Insights for Each Lenten Season!
More about St. Alphonsus Ligouri
Did you know before today that Saint Alphonsus Ligouri was proclaimed a 'Doctor of the Church'?
Why Should We Observe Lent?
As I write this lens (article), I am hearing from my friends who live in countries with continental climate (spring, summer, autumn, winter) and they are already looking forward to Spring following a brutal Winter. Luckily in my neck of the woods, I only have to deal with dry season and rainy season.
Life would be monotonous without seasons! There are climatic seasons (spring, summer, autumn, winter, rainy, dry), life cycle seasons (birth, growth, reproduction, death) and, as emphasized in Ecclesiastes 3, other seasons that we experience during the course of living (sorrow, joy, mourning, dancing, tearing, mending, silence, talking, war, peace, tearing down, building, kissing, making love, finding, losing, saving, throwing away) etc. All of these seasons have their time and place in adding to the mystery and wonder of life and living.
Likewise the Catholic Church has seasons in the life of the Church. LENT, which is an approximate 40-day period from Ash Wednesday to the Easter Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday), is one of those seasons which celebrates or acts as a remembrance of Jesus' wilderness experience, wherein He fasted for 40 days before beginning His earthly mission (Matthew 4).
Ash Wednesday & Lent in Two Minutes
What is LENT Really All About?
Lent is a solemn season corresponding to the winter season of the Church’s Liturgical Year, which begins in Easter (spring).
Lent also reminds us about the evening tide of our life - death - with the symbolic use of ashes at the start of the Lenten season on Ash Wednesday.
Just as we periodically cleanse our bodies by taking purges or doing short cleansing fasts, so too as Catholics, we should use the solemn season of Lent and its three (3) forms of penance - Prayer, Fasting (Abstinence), Charity (Almsgiving) - for spiritual cleansing, to strengthen our spiritual journey and to bring us into even closer union with God.
Prayer: “The Tradition of the Church proposes to the faithful certain rhythms of praying intended to nourish continual prayer” (Catechism of the Catholic Church).
Fasting (Abstinence): “The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church’s penitential practice” (Catechism of the Catholic Church).
Charity (Almsgiving): “The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbour in his spiritual and bodily necessities…especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church).
A great lenten resource for family, prayer groups, youth groups, that is based on the 3 forms of penance observed by Catholic during Lent.
What Lenten Observance will you be focusing most on this Lent?
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A sort of 'Stations of the Cross' with details that will bring deeper meaning to your faith and understanding of Jesus' Passion.
© 2014 Heidi Vincent