Books offer opportunity for spiritual growth

| Ann Jonas For The Catholic Spirit | March 3, 2011 | 0 Comments

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Lent is a time for reflection, deeper reading and spiritual growth. A Lenten activity book and a new reflection on “The Seven Last Words” offer spiritual sustenance for Lent and Holy Week.

» “Live Lent at Home: Daily Prayers and Activities for Families” by Paige Byrne Shortal, Liguori Publications, January 2010, 80 pp., $5.99

Families that would like to observe a meaningful Lent will find a helpful tool in “Live Lent at Home” by Paige Byrne Shortal.

This day-by-day book contains reflections, activities and prayers that are simple but worthwhile for all members of the family. Each week in the book begins with the Sunday Gospel, and then each day has a reflection, a discussion question and a prayer to read together as a family.

The discussion section, called “To do and to talk about,” often includes a suggested activity related to the reflection. The book also contains traditional prayers and “fun pages” comprised of a crossword puzzle, scrambled words and more. Shortal wrote this book with busy families in mind. She and her husband live on a small farm in Missouri with their three young grandchildren for whom they are guardians.

» “Encounter the Cross: Meditations on the Seven Last Words of Jesus” by Father Dennis Billy, CSSR, Liguori Publications, November 2010, 109 pp., $10.99

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Meditating on “The Seven Last Words” of Christ is a custom for many Catholics during Lent and Holy Week. Redemptorist Father Dennis

Billy has authored a new meditation on the “Seven Last Words,” titled “Encounter the Cross.”

Father Billy states in the book’s introduction that by remembering a loved one’s final words, we become closer to them. By pondering those final words “we are able to share in [our loved one’s] life and death, and their spirits are somehow resurrected in our hearts.”

This assertion is the basis for “Encounter the Cross.” The book contains seven chapters, each corresponding to a statement Christ made while on the cross, along with an epilogue, “The Triumph of the Cross.” Each chapter ends with several discerning reflection questions and a related prayer. Father Billy explores the “Seven Last Words” from a human perspective; as a result, readers will find additional personal meaning in the dying words of Christ.

Father Billy is currently the John Cardinal Krol Chair of Moral Theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Wynnewood, Pa., and has authored more than 25 books.

Ann Jonas is the general book buyer for the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University.

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Category: Lent