40 Days, 40 Ways:
A New Look at Lent
Every year I pick a few resources for both lent and Advent. This one ended up recommended to me based on other purchases. I had never heard of the author before or at least not that I recall specifically. I am so thankful I took a chance on this one. Even before I finished this 40 day journey I picked up another of his books to add to my to be read pile. In some ways Lenten devotionals could be read any time of the year, as a personal retreat, and to be honest that could be even more so stated for this volume. So pick this up for Lent or for a personal mini-retreat any time throughout the year.
There were a number of thinks that struck me about this book compared to many other Lenten devotions. First many devotionals fallow set formats, a bible or saintly quote, a meditation a prayer and or an action. And usually they follow a similar format for each of the days, same style and length. This book has a great deal of variety in the length of each days' readings. Also for each Sunday there is at least a full page for the Sunday and also a specific devotion based on the day so we actually get 47 different readings.
Very early in the book speaking about service Marcellino states: "It means serving. Till it hurts. Even unto death." It really caught my attention. And may people go an extra mile during lent or advent but how many let it drop off through ordinary time? We should take the heightened service from lent and be intentional about carrying it through the year.
Later speaking about prayer he says "But Scripture also tells us what to ask for. And there is the rub. We are often wrong about what to ask for, because we misidentify what will really make us happy. God knows us better than we know ourselves, since he created us. And he loves us more than we love ourselves, because he is our Father." Through the 40 days of this book we can find a clearer focus for prayer, we can allow Marcellino to guide us deeper into prayer, into service and into living the authentic Christian life.
Another great reminder from this book was the balance between mind, body and spirit. He says: "We need to get honest with ourselves. Are we most intent on things below or on things above? (see Colossians 3:2). We should be passionate about many things below-but is our zeal for health, love, kids, education, a job, and financial security truly a function of our zeal for loving God and doing his will? Where do we seek our ultimate satisfaction and security? In these temporal things (even people) that pass away, or in God who is forever? What do we look forward to more-our next promotion or heaven? The great Catholic tradition of a nightly examination of conscience helps us ask such questions regularly and keeps us from getting off track." This book will help you find that balance and through the balance become the best version of yourself. And through being the best version of yourself you will live and server in a more fruitful way.
This was an excellent read. I know I will reread it again and can heartily state that anyone who reads this book with an open heart will be challenged and will be transformed. So give it a try you will not be disappointed!
Books by Marcellino D'Ambrosio:
When the Church Was Young: Voices of the Early Fathers
40 Days, 40 Ways: A New Look at Lent
Exploring the Catholic Church: An Introduction to Catholic Teaching and Practice
Straight Talk to Teens about Sex and Morality
Exploring the Catholic Church: How Being a Catholic Makes a Difference to Everyday Life
How Mary and the Rosary Can Change Your Life
Getting More Out of the Mass: Unlocking the Life-Changing Power of Christ's Real Presence
Confirmation: Sacrament of Champions
Feast of Faith: A Four-Part Adult Faith Program on the Eucharist
Why Be Catholic?
A Guide to the Passion: 100 Questions About The Passion of The Christ
Vatican II: The Real Story
(Note: this books is part of a series: A Year of Reading Intention - Catholic Reading!)
Other Article or Books on Lent:
The Way of the Cross Part II - Reviews of 5 more version
The Way of the Cross Part I - Reviews of 5 different versions