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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

What are you reading for Lent?

Prayer and study are an important element of the Catholic life, especially during the season of Lent when we are invited to grow closer to the Lord. Since "ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ" obviously it's important to read the Bible. I usually focus on the four passion narratives during Lent and always read Pierre Barbet's meditation from Doctor at Calvary on Good Friday. You can read it free online. 

In addition to those regular practices, I like to pick a particular book as my daily Lenten companion. This year it's a book written by a Benedictine monk, Hubert Van Zeller first published by Sheed and Ward in 1961. The title of my book is Suffering with a Purpose: How to Turn Failures into Victories and Pain into Joy, but it was originally titled Suffering: The Catholic Answer: The Cross of Christ and Its Meaning for You. 

The book is perfect for Lent because each chapter focuses on a Station of the Cross. I'm on the 11th station in the book, but plan to go back to the first station when I finish and reread the book throughout Lent.

Today, I came across a passage that was so Chestertonian it could have been written by the man himself. And I have no doubt that Van Zeller was a student of Chesterton since, although about thirty years Chesterton's junior, he would have been a young adult during Chesterton's heyday. Here's the excerpt. You Chestertonian enthusiasts out there see if you agree. Van Zeller is discussing the difficulty of being nailed to the cross and the tendency of modern man to fail in perseverance at anything, especially anything uncomfortable that involves suffering: of the chief weaknesses of our time is the spirit of experimentalism. People try a thing, and if it does not immediately answer to their need, they try something else; they do not want to be tied down....Men and women are becoming increasingly reluctant to commit themselves: whether it is a question of a policy or a philosophy, a religious system or a career, the modern psyche claims the right to reverse its pledges at a moment's notice and to redirect itself along unexplored avenues of possibility....[And here's the part that sounded soooo like Chesterton.] Whereas, in other times, a man looked forward in his undertakings to striking roots, the modern man looks forward to pulling them up. A man today will think little of changing his job, his house, his son's school, his religion, his political allegiance, his car, and his wife -- perhaps all in the one year.

The book is on sale at Sophia Press. I have bought multiple copies to give away I like it so much. Do you have a favorite book you're reading for Lent? Would you recommend it to others? If yes, please share about it in the comments. And may we all have a fruitful Lent that finds us closer to the Lord Jesus and to our neighbors on Easter Sunday.

Lord Jesus, Savior of the World, have mercy on us. 


  1. In the 1970s Fr. Hubert van Zeller, OSB, originally from Downside Abbey in England, was the chaplain for the nuns at St. Walburga's Abbey, then outside Boulder, CO, and now just south of the Wyoming border 35 miles north of Ft. Collins, CO. As a young man, I was delighted to have known him. And he certainly met Chesterton, and Belloc as well. And now I am even more delighted to have a Benedictine daughter at St. Walburga's Abbey.

  2. How blessed you are! Please ask your daughter to pray for me and my family.

  3. Well, as long as you asked! The most unique and interesting book I have ever read is an old rare book put out by PJ Kenedy, I think published in 1852. It is "The Vision of Old Andrew the Weaver", and it is not about Lent, but it is a very uplifting story, and most engrossing. There is something about this book, and when I first read it I tried to get a Christian production company interested in bringing it to production. It is probably the most Catholic book I have read, and easily the most "visual", the descriptions are vivid. I wish I could get others to read it and have a discussion about it. It's a one-of-a-kind read. Congratulations, Anonymous, on your Benedictine daughter. God bless you for raising a child to do so.

    1. This book was apparently reprinted by Hardpress books in 2019; several copies are available. Search for the title on

    2. This book, The Vision of Old Andrew the Weaver, was republished in 2019 - search on the title at and you’ll find several copies from HardPress publishing.

  4. Lord of the Rings

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  5. I was reading the "Life and Kingdom of Jesus in Christian Souls" by St John Eudes but found it wasn't as good as his "Childhood of Mary", so now I'm reading "The 21: A Journey into the Land of Coptic Martyrs" which is excellent. It's very short so then might order the book Anonymous mentions above - "The Vision of Old Andrew, the Weaver" which the Internet says is a Catholic book.

  6. I’m reading “True Devotion to Mary,” by St. Louis de Montfort. Excellent book!