Reading for Lent

We find ourselves beginning the season of Great Lent. May I commend to you these titles for your spiritual reading and meditation (listed in no particular order):

Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent

St Gregory of Nazianzus, Festal Orations

Kyriacos C. Markides, The Mountain of Silence

Met. Hierotheos, A Night in the Desert of the Holy Mountain

Archimandrite Zacharias, The Hidden Man of the Heart

John Behr, Becoming Human

Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God

Jean-Pierre de Caussade,  The Sacrament of the Present Moment

Barsanuphius and John, Letters from the Desert

Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love

John McGuckin, The Book of Mystical Chapters

St Gregory Palamas, The Saving Work of Christ

St Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ

Frederica Mathewes-Green, The Illumined Heart

Martin Thornton, Christian Proficiency

Michael Ramsey, Be Still and Know

Martin Laird, Into the Silent Land

Anonymous, The Cloud of Unknowing

Aidan Hart, Beauty, Spirit, Matter

George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons

Which books would you recommend for Lent?

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8 Responses to Reading for Lent

  1. Ramez Rizkalla says:

    I’d perhaps add to this great list St. Athanasius’ On the Incarnation (I believe it’s a great read leading to Holy Week), and Fr. John Behr’s The Mystery of Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jonathan says:

    Saint Gregory of Narek

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The one that monks and nuns read regularly during Great Lent: The Ladder of saint John Climacus

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kriceman says:

    St. Gregory of Nyssa’s Two Homilies on Alms-Giving.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nathaniel Drake Carlson says:

    Matthew the Poor’s Communion of Love. Anything by Theophan the Recluse.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    MacDonald’s The Miracles of Our Lord seems pleasantly read at, with a link to an online text.

    Charles Williams’s selections of (daily) readings, The Passion of Christ: Being the Gospel Narrative of the Passion with Short Passages Taken from the Saints and Doctors of the Church, which he prepared in 1939, and his New Christian Year (1941), for the relevant days. Tom Wills handily draws on both for an online diary (with additional index):


  7. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    The Williams selections were one of my last year’s suggestions. Another was:

    Richard Rolle and Richard Raynal: Loving Jesus in Late Mediaeval England and Now

    The History of Richard Raynal, Solitary (1912) is a vivid historical novel of early Fifteenth-century England, about someone trying to live as close to Christ as he can, written by Robert Hugh Benson (1871-1914). Various scans are available online in the Internet Archive, for example:

    It is also transcribed at Project Gutenberg:

    As, for example, J.R.R. Tolkien pretends to be translating an ancient work in his book, The Lord of the Rings, so Benson has an elaborate “Introduction” in which he pretends to be translating all that survives of an otherwise lost mediaeval book. Behind this fiction to a greater or lesser extent is a real Englishman who so tried to live, Richard Rolle, many of whose writings survive and have been published, also in modern English translation. In fact, in 1905 Benson had published a short life of Rolle, included in a book with translations of prayers he wrote, among various short medieval works, A Book of the Love of Jesus : A Collection of Ancient English Devotions, which is also scanned in the Internet Archive, for example:

    The life of Richard Rolle is here on pages 217-27, while you can see from the “Notes” (pp. 205-15) which selections are from Rolle’s works. A contemporary encyclopedia article about Rolle by Edwin Burton (who also published modernized versions of some of his work) can be found here:

    Benson’s novel is set almost a century after the death of Rolle, during the reign of Henry VI. It includes a fascinating picture of what ‘sanctuary’ was probably like.


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