Today the Lent Book Series features Katie Bogner.
Call me overly sentimental, but I would take something old, well-loved, and unique over a brand new item any day. A used item has a story that goes beyond the surface, a story that I appreciate and enjoy discovering.
The book that I would like to recommend for the season of Lent was already old when it fell into my hands.
After arriving at an extended family gathering a couple of years ago, my cousin asked me if I owned Life of Christ by Fulton Sheen.
Venerable Fulton Sheen and I have become quite good friends over the past few years, and my cousin knew that. She had seen a copy of the book at a Spoon River Drive garage sale just before coming to our family party. We hopped in the car and drove the few miles into town, visited the sale, and found the book.
Since it was not priced, I went forward to pay for it, questioning what the seller would like for it. He asked what I had picked out. When he saw my choice, he said, “Oh, no. It’s yours. I never take money for sharing Jesus. That Fulton Sheen was a good man.” Yes he was, and so was this giver. Instead of a dollar, he gets my prayers for his generosity.
My “new” book was a little worse for the wear, and doesn’t look much better after a couple of readings by me. However, I have found the content to be rich and timeless and a treasure that I will return to again and again.
Sheen’s Life of Christ gives a detailed commentary on the days of our Savior’s earthly walk, from the Annunciation to the Ascension. In typical Sheen fashion, new revelations about the Gospel stories are shared with wisdom, wit, clarity, and depth. Written in his easy-to-read everyman’s style, it still astounds me the truths that he unpacks line after line. When read alongside Scripture, this book has given me a fuller image of Christ and His Kingdom.
Why read it during Lent? We relive snapshots of Jesus’ life all throughout the Liturgical year. Lent seems to be a good time to soak it in as a whole. Add the detail and depth that Sheen includes about Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday, this book is a perfect companion during Holy Week.
The cover of my book is battered, and I have added tape, notes, highlighting and some wear of my own. There are mementos still tucked inside from the former owners and some added by me. It certainly wouldn’t win any book beauty contests, but this is one of the most valuable books on my bookshelves. It has a story, and tells a story, and leads me to understand the much bigger Story that we are all a part of.
So I encourage you to go pick up a copy of Venerable Fulton J. Sheen’s Life of Christ. You might have to settle for a shiny new copy, but I am sure that Sheen (and Christ) would love nothing more than for your book to one day be falling apart from repeated readings and passing between many hands. Because isn’t the life of Christ meant to be treasured and shared? That is something worth being sentimental over.
Katie is a teacher by day, DRE by weekend, crafter in her spare time, and late night reader. She blogs at Look to Him and Be Radiant.
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*Katie’s blog is so worth exploring, for so many reasons. She has amazing resources for catechists of all kinds, and lots more. Unfortunately, I have used very few of them, but now that I’m taking another look perhaps it is time for me to add to our Easter calendar making this Way of Light mini-book, or encourage my younger kids to make a Fulton Sheen notebook. I fear that her blog in some ways is like Pinterest–full of lots of great ideas I don’t implement. Before I go and make a board of all her ideas (another way to procrastinate!), I better complete one or two.
*Our diocese is currently in the midst of the Annual Diocesan Appeal, and this video was shown yesterday at all the Masses, to encourage giving. I remarked to my husband– I know a lot of people featured in that video! One of them was Katie, who looked and sounded great.
*Katie was featured in”Meet a Reader” last year in The Catholic Post. Reading through that again I see that “story” is a theme that informs Katie’s reading and writing. “Story” is something to ponder this late-in-Lent Monday as we grow close to entering into the Triduum Story.