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Tuesday, 23 June 2020

A New Companion to Lent - The Catholic Truth Society - CTS Companions Series

New Companion to Lent
CTS Companions
Fr Jerome Bertram
Fr Tim Finigan
Amette Ley
Fr Richard Ruff
Fr Richard Whinder
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860823619 
CTS Booklet Do740


Over the last few years I have read over 150 volumes from the CTS. And currently have over 150 in my to be read pile or on my Wishlist. I have read several of the books in the original CTS Companions series, and this is the first of the New Companions I have read. And to be honest this was the first book from the CTS that I was not impressed with. While reading it I oscillated between men, being underwhelmed, and actual disappointment. I have read many great books from the Catholic Truth Society, but this is not one. There where a few times while reading this volume I almost put it down and put it in my ‘did not finish pile’. The description on the back of the volume is:

“Taking ‘personal and heartfelt conversion’ as its central theme, this booklet unfolds the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, particularly as part of preparing for Easter. Full of spiritual insight culled from centuries of Christian experience, and astutely balanced with practical advice for people of today, this companion also offers advice on making a retreat, a good confession, and understanding some of the key themes of the scriptures and liturgy during Lent and Holy Week.

Contributors: Fr Jerome Betram, Fr Tim Finigan; Amette Ley, Fr Richard Rutt, and Fr Richard Whinder.”

The chapters in the volume are:

Conversion
Fasting
Almsgiving
Prayer
How to make a good retreat
Making a Good Confession
The Sunday Gospels During Lent
Holy Week – Liturgy and Word
Steps to Daily Prayer in Lent
Understanding the Stations of the Cross

None of the chapters are attributed. There is no way to know which of the contributors wrote what. Most of the contributors have written other books, for the Catholic Truth Society. 

The book started off well:

“Conversion is never a once and for all experience: conversion is something fresh every morning, renewed every evening. Our whole Christian life is a process of turning towards God, meeting Him as He comes towards us. No day should pass without refreshing our desire to break with sin, to break away from the values of this world, and to unite ourselves ever more closely to God.”

But there were a number of things I read in this book that I just shook my head about. For example, cutting down on gambling, or playing the lottery as a Lenten fast.

“Some will find it best to cut down on gambling, refraining from playing the lottery during the weeks of Lent, or betting only on horses with Catholic owners…”

And though written tongue in cheek I found this ridiculous:

“If we begin by trying to think charitable thoughts about Osama bin Laden or Robert Mugabe, we can work up gradually to charity towards the mother-in-law.”

There was some good in the book, but not enough that I would recommend it. CTS has many other great Lenten resources. I really struggled with rating it, I settles on 3 but would really give it 2.5 stars if possible. But it will not stop me from trying other books in the New Companions series.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Link to other Lent Resources.

Other books in the CTS Companions Series:

Companion to St. Joseph – J.B. Midgley
Companion to the Feasts of Mary – J.B. Midgley
Companion to Saint Peter – J.B. Midgley
Companion to Saint Paul – J.B. Midgley
Companion to the Angels – J.B. Midgley
Companion to the Feasts of Our Lord
Companion to the Passion of Our Lord – J.B. Midgley
Companion to the Order of the Mass - Mgr Bruce Harbert
Companion to Reading the Old Testament – Adrian Graffy
Companion to Reading the New Testament – Adrian Graffy
Companion to Praying with the Bible – Z. Mattam
New Companion to Advent & Christmastide - CTS
New Companion to Prayer - Celia Wolf-Devine
New Companion to Lent - CTS
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