A Lent Reading List

Spiritual Reading Ideas for Lent and Other Times

Lent is a time of prayer, fasting, and giving to others. Reading classic books related to Christian spirituality is a great Lenten discipline. This list is meant to help you make your Lent more holy. 

Image of a text from the gospel of John The Bible Lent is a perfect time to start or restart a discipline of scripture reading. There are many different translations and editions of the Bible, so find one that appeals to you.

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis – This is a classic on Christian spiritual discipline. Reading through the entire book during Lent (and attempting to follow Thomas' suggestions) will help one become more like Christ and less like the world.

The Spiritual Exercises by Saint Ignatius of Loyola – This classic book is like taking part in a retreat led by a spiritual master. Many Catholics and other Christians have used this classic work of prayer and meditation to enhance their Lent.

An Introduction to the Devout Life by Saint Francis De Sales This is a classic masterpiece of devotional and mystical literature. This book will help guide you to follow God more devoutly and live your life in a way that focuses on God first and foremost.

Stations of the Cross: The Thoughts of Jesus and Mary by Fr. Joshua Wagner This is an excellent stations devotion, recited from the perspective of Jesus (and then Mary). The readings capture what both Jesus and Mary must have gone through as Jesus completed His journey to the cross. It is dignified, meaningful, and accessible to people of all ages.

The Early Church Fathers, 38 Volumes by Donaldson, et. al. Lent is a good time to start reading the ancient Fathers of the Church. While Bible reading should come first, learning how past Christians interpreted Christ and the Bible is a perfect endeavor for Lent. The only drawback is that this set was translated by Protestants before Vatican II, so the authors often are strongly anti-Catholic in rhetoric, which blinds them to some of the Fathers' insights.

Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton Trappist monk Merton provides this guide for contemplative prayer, using the ancient mystics and fathers as his inspiration. While the book is written for monks, it is a good book for anyone seeking to deepen his or her spirituality, which is especially helpful to deepen one's Lenten discipline.

A Day in Your Presence: A 40-Day Journey in the Company of Francis of Assisi by David Hazard  This is a 40-day devotional series based on the life and writings of Saint Francis of Assisi, tied to the Bible. Reading one chapter each day of Lent will bring one closer to Christ through learning about (and imitating) the simplicity of Saint Francis.

See: All About Lent