Pages of Faith
I have wanderlust. I do. Oh, I have dreams of going to Italy, the Caribbean, Hilton Head, and Santa Fe. Heck, I ache for the day when the icy snow melts, the temperature rises, and I can walk around the park in circles like I was doing before winter blew in. One day I want to walk the Camino de Santiago and check it off my bucket list. But for now, my backpack sits patiently on a chair, holding my dreams. I sit with a stack of books beside me, ready to go on a home pilgrimage.
I have decided to journey through the books I've chosen for Lent. Or, I do believe they have chosen me. Usually, I pick just one spiritually-inspired book to read during this season. You may do the same. The ones I've read in the past resulted in fruitful personal retreats at home while also living an active life outside my house. But more time at home with Our Lady of the Sofa these days means more time to read and explore through pages. Through this selection, I'll be traveling like a medieval pilgrim, learning how an Episcopalian woman connected with a Catholic monk, remembering my death daily, receiving my daily bread, and attempting to find my way through the Bible. Do you need a book idea? Here is my list.
3000 Miles to Jesus: Pilgrimage as a Way of Life for Spiritual Seekers by Lisa Deam.
"This little book is for anyone who, like me, wants to learn to travel well on a lifelong road of faith. It's an invitation to travel like a medieval pilgrim. To take this road, you won't have to give up flush toilets, warm beds, or cell phones. You don't even have to leave your sofa, if you don't want to." -Lisa
The Seeker and the Monk: Everyday Conversations with Thomas Merton by Sophronia Scott
"Thomas Merton was a white Catholic monk who lived most of his life in a monastery in Kentucky and died over fifty years ago. I'm a Black woman, not Catholic but Episcopalian, with Baptist notes from my childhood. We have nothing in common other than Ivy League educations (mine from Harvard, his from Columbia) and a searching nature when it comes to faith." -Sophronia
Remember Your Death: Memento Mori Lenten Devotional by Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble, FSP
I found this book last year, right before the pandemic. I was in the Pauline Books and Media Bookstore in Chicago. This book was on display with other Lenten reads, and the nun working in the store encouraged me to get it saying I could read it any time during the year. I was a little hesitant but took her advice. It has been buried in a pile of books all year. I never opened it. It seemed intimidating and dark. But the author is a former atheist, and she says, "meditating on her death daily has changed her life." She looks joyful. The nun who sold it to me was full of life too. They know something I do not. I want some of their joy, so I have begun reading.
Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith by Henri Nouwen
This book is full of short reflections for each day of the year. Henri's language is simple, relatable, and inspiring. It's a dose of daily bread.
The Holy Bible, NIV Journal the Word Bible by Zondervan Publishing.
This Bible is part of this publisher's Artisan Collection. The Memento Mori Lenten Devotional offers scripture verses to look up. I'll write more on my experience with the Bible another time, but so that you know, I didn't read the Bible growing up. I've been a Bible study dropout. But I have engaged again to continue to learn, and I wanted a Bible that, when I look at it, says, "open me."
A personal journal. I started a Lenten journal four years ago to jot down notes from books, sermons, classes, retreats, and anything that feeds my spirit. On the back of mine reads, "Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9
From my sofa to yours, let us not grow weary as we persevere through Lent and a pandemic. One page at a time, friends. One page at a time.