Monday, February 25, 2008

Lenten reading

On February 18th I decided to make a big sacrifice and adopt a new discipline for Lent. I realized that I had not done enough spiritually to make the most of this holy season - I felt like a slacker in my pursuit of virtue and a deeper relationship with God. So I returned a book to the library and started reading a different one.

Doesn't sound like much, does it? Consider this: at Carrie's recommendation, I had checked Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life out from the library. Through stories, facts, and figures, Barbara Kingsolver (of Poison Wood Bible fame) and her husband and daughter compel readers to consider eating local - buying, preparing, and enjoying locally-produced foods as they come in season. From the first page I was hooked, and in the course of four chapters I fell head-over-heels in love with this book, which is compelling in content and magnificent in style. I dare say it will forever have a place among my favorites: the Bible and St. Therese of Lisieux's Story of a Soul. In emails and conversations I began praising AVM and encouraging others to explore the bounty of our local Farmer's Markets. I even took my sister with me to the big one and loaded up on apples, squash, and sweet potatoes.

It soon became apparent to me that I was spending so much time and energy reading and thinking about the vegetannual that I didn't want to make good on my Lenten goal to engage in spiritual reading. Although Kingsolver doesn't tackle a theological perspective on eating habits (at least not in the first quarter of the book), her writing doesn't do anything detrimental to my Catholic Christian formation. It's just that I preferred reading AVM to reading about prayer and holiness. That had to change.

So I returned the book to the library and picked up David's tagged and written-in copy of St. Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle. I'm only in the first mansion, so I'll leave my thoughts on the book for future posts. I will say that the discipline of reading and meditating on Teresa's thoughts and examples has put me in the right frame of mind for Lent. I find that my spiritual eyes are more open to God's presence and blessings in my life, and my heart is more ready to respond to opportunities to love and serve.

1 comment:

Jules said...

Good book choice!! And perfect for Lent.
I pray I can get myself on track as you have during this Lenten season.