It has long been the practice of serious Christians to include reading with the Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Rather than recommending a single book to be read, I am recommending five books. I hope that you will choose at least one of these books to read during Lent. Here are my recommendations for your Lenten reading:
God and You: Person to Person, by Fr. Anthony M. Coniaris, published by Light and Life Publishing. This important book by the popular Orthodox writer Fr. Anthony Coniaris is a guide to “Developing a Daily Personal relationship with Jesus.” The goal of this book is to bring readers into a deeper personal relationship with Jesus Christ on a “person to person” basis. Fr. Stanley S. Harakas of Holy Cross Seminary says, “My advice — put it at the top of your reading list.” I agree!
The Christian Old Testament - Looking at the Hebrew Scriptures through Christian Eyes, by Fr. Lawrence R. Farley, published by Ancient Faith Publishing (Conciliar Press). “Many Christians see the Old Testament as ‘the other Testament’: a source of exciting stories to tell the kids, but not very relevant to the Christian life. The Christian Old Testament reveals the Hebrew Scriptures as the essential context of Christianity, as well as a many-layered revelation of Christ Himself. Follow along as Fr. Lawrence Farley explores the Christian significance of every book of the Old Testament” (From the back cover).
Popular Orthodox Christian writer and speaker Presbytera Frederica Mathewes-Green writes regarding The Christian Old Testament, by Fr. Lawrence Farley: “Does the story of Christ begin in the manager? Or when Gabriel announced to the Theotokos that she would bear a son? No, God began telling the story of Christ to the Jewish people thousands of years earlier, in the beauty and mystery of the book we call the Old Testament. Christians will find their faith enriched in unexpected ways by this insightful book.” This book will forever change the way you look at the Old Testament Scriptures, and will enrich your Bible reading, study and Lectio Divina (a Latin term, meaning "divine reading.” Lectio Divina describes a way of reading the Holy Scriptures whereby we gradually let go of our own agenda and open ourselves to what God wants to say to us).
The Way of a Pilgrim and the Pilgrim Continues His Way, various publishers. This book is a spiritual classic. Follow this anonymous nineteenth century Russian pilgrim as he takes you across the vast land of Holy Russia in search of an answer to one compelling question: How does one pray without ceasing? Finally, share in his deep joy when his search turns up an ancient treasure: the Jesus Prayer, handed down by untold generations of Orthodox Christians. The ancient words from the Christian past become alive in his joyful heart. As they came alive for him, they can come alive for us also. This is a book that changes lives, and it can change yours!
The Orthodox Way, Revised Edition, by Bishop Kallistos Ware, published by St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press. This book is an introduction to the doctrine, worship and life of Orthodox Christianity. It covers many of the fundamental issues of theology: God as hidden yet revealed; the problem of evil; the nature of salvation; the meaning of faith; prayer; and death and what lies beyond. Doctrinal issues are not presented as dry, abstract propositions for theological debate, but as affecting the whole of the Christian life. A powerful, enlightening and uplifting book.
Unseen Warfare, as edited by Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain and revised by Theophan the Recluse, published by St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press. “This spiritual classic was written by Lorenzo Scupoli, a sixteenth century Venetian priest. Immensely popular in its own day, it was ranked by Francis de Sales with the Imitation of Christ. In the general rapport between Western and Eastern Christendom, it reached [St.] Nicodemus of Mount Athos and later, in the nineteenth century, [St.] Theophan the recluse, both of whom edited and translated the work. Rich in its references to the teachings of the Saints and Fathers, Unseen Warfare combines the insights of West and East... “ (From the back cover). This book is a must read!
Light and Life Publishing: 1-952-925-3888; www.light-n-life.com
Ancient Faith Publishing (Conciliar Press): 1-800-967-7377; www.store.ancientfaith.com
St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press: 1-800-204-BOOK (2665); www.svspress.com
Jesus Christ is the Truth Revealed.
Orthodox Christianity is the Truth Lived.
Let's Live It!