Catholics welcome Lent each year with the solemn rituals of Ash Wednesday, marked by the visible signs of fasting, abstinence, prayer, and ashes. Thus begins the 40-day journey, culminating in the everlasting joy of the resurrection on Easter Sunday. Though often referred to as “the Lenten Season,” each of these 40 days encourages us to look at our lives in light of both the struggles of the human condition and the immeasurable promise of everlasting life.
Fr. Andrew Carl Wisdom, O.P., and Dominican friars of the Province of St. Albert the Great (the Central Province) commit their very lives to preaching the Gospel. Growing in Friendship with God: Discovering the Joy of Lent provides a convenient resource of reflections on the daily Lenten readings from friars across the province, some of whom have gone before us marked by the sign of faith. Fr. Wisdom accompanies these reflections with daily prayers, challenges he calls, “Doer of the Word Received,” and simple hints to make our Lenten journey impactful, memorable, and personally transformative.
Fr. Wisdom’s thoughtfully composed prayers and the reflections of the friars lead us to not only better understand and seek the outstretched arms of Jesus on the cross crucified, but also anticipate the outstretched arms of our loving God waiting to embrace each of us despite our failings. From anecdotal challenges to realistic, practical hints, Fr. Wisdom guides the reader in prayer through each day in Lent. Mindful of the sins, faults, and shortcomings we all share, he affirms we should remain potently optimistic that the Son of God’s life, death, and resurrection bring us all everlasting life. With these reflections, prayers, calls to action, and hints, comes a twist.
Encouraged by the words of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, Growing in Friendship with God: Discovering the Joy of Lent are not words often associated with Lent. Yet, that is precisely what the season is all about. So take this book and open it every day during Lent to experience that joy and friendship.