Today the Lent Book Series features guest writer Melissa Bland.
Ok, I have an admission to make. Although I love books, and am married to a terrific bibliophile, I rarely take the time in this season of life to read actual grown-up, enrich-my-life, discussion-worthy books. With homeschooling three, and chasing a fourth away from stairs and electrical cords, reading Farmer Boy with my seven-year-old is the closest I’ve gotten to literature lately.
Lent is upon us, however, and each year I like to choose book to guide my school-aged young ones through Lent in a joyous, thoughtful manner. This year, I’m pulling Bringing Lent Home with Mother Teresa by EWTN host Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle down from my shelves.
Bringing Lent Home with Mother Teresa is organized by day with each day providing a quote from Blessed Mother Teresa, reflections for parents, family prayer, a brief story from Mother Teresa’s life, suggestions for fasting and almsgiving that day, and a closing prayer.
Suggestions for fasting and almsgiving are not necessarily your typical “giving up sweets” ideas…One day you are advised to give up worry, another to abstain from grumbling. (I can’t wait to get to that day!)
I liked using this book quite a lot—it requires no prep and can be pulled out at breakfast to start the day right or at lunch for a midday focus on spiritual things.
Normally, I shy away from the “Spiritual Stuff Every Day” books that fill the shelves of Catholic bookstores—just not enough depth and context to be meaningful for me. But during Lent, I think it’s appropriate to use a guide for the day-by-day journey through the desert to Easter.
Because O’Boyle is writing in such little bits, however, I have to be careful how I use this guide, lest it become a daily finger-wagging from Mommy. “See, Blessed Mother Teresa says you shouldn’t grumble.” This is especially true in this year when I’ve resolved to be less “right” and more “Love.”
Although each member of our household (minus baby) has his or her own individual Lenten promises to keep, having a tool like this book to join us together on the journey is a real blessing that I look forward to using again this year. And, I can’t think of a better guide than Mother Teresa to reflecting on Pope Francis’ theme for Lent this year: “He became poor, so that by his poverty, you might become rich.”
Melissa Bland is wife to Andrew (physician/teacher working at OSF for the U Of I College of Medicine at Peoria) and mother to Emily (12), Alayna (10), Kayla (7) and Nathaniel (8 mos.) She left Speech Pathology in 2001 to raise, and then homeschool her babies, and prays that she always loves her calling so much.
She is a cradle Catholic whose faith was re-energized when her husband joined the church in 2005. She is a member of St. Anthony Parish in Bartonville where she is a catechist, lector, and gopher.